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Snappr – A Virtual Hell for Photographers


*me as I read some photography news* ohhhh my god… ohhh my god… I hope the photographers don’t see this or else they’re going to pop a blood vessel…


So, it seems some young whippersnappers out in Australia have come up with an absolutely brilliant idea… on demand photographers for as little as $59.

The Story

But Snappr, an Australian-based startup that is part of Y Combinator’s Winter ’17 batch, wants to change this. The company lets you book a professional photographer that will show up to take pictures within 12 hours of being ordered.

And the best part — it’s really affordable. Snappr charges by the amount of time the photographer is at your event taking photos, and has two different pricing structures — a package where you get to pick a set number of photos and an unlimited package.

So if you want a 30-minute shoot, you’d pay just $59 to pick the best 3 pictures (the photographer will capture a bunch, then you get to see all of them and choose your three favorites) or pay $99 for a 30-minute shoot with unlimited pictures. This scales all the way up to a full-day shoot. For reference, a two-hour shoot with 12 photos included would cost $149, and a two-hour shoot with unlimited photos costs $249. Still really affordable.

Uh… right… so photographers are going to pop a blood vessel.

That pricing model accounts for a photographers direct costs but absolutely none of their indirect costs. It’s a model for sheer volume rather than one of quality production.

Yes, in theory photography could be a volume business and those prices could make sense. Photographers could use Snappr to just do back to back shoots non stop to make enough to live… but that’s not really how things work out in reality.

And yes in theory Snappr could be used as a way for photographers to get part time work for when things are slow or just some work on the side to afford that new motorcycle they really want. But it leads to the same problem in the end… time.

The time required for editing alone prevents photography from being a volume business, creative aspects further push photography away from volume, and don’t forget the time required to travel.

So it kind of ends up being either one or the other. Either you’re hiring a person to press a button and nothing more (Snappr’s volume model) or you’re actually getting a photographer who is going to go out there and meet your needs.

Frankly this is one of those times where you get what you pay for.


So how do you know you’ll get your money’s worth? The startup has a high barrier to entry — only 5 percent of applicants are selected to be photographers on the platform, and Snappr interviews each applicant personally before being approved.

The false sense of exclusivity aside… Yeah consumers, how do you get your moneys worth?

By hiring a photographer who actually meets your needs rather than the cheapest one possible.
Do you want quality editing?
Do you want an archival grade art print?
Do you want a high quality photo book?
Do you want digital copies preserved?
You’re not going to get that at Snappr at these prices.

Yes, you’re going to get something from Snappr and yes you’ll probably be happy with it. But what you’re going to get… is not going to be something you need a photographer for.

You can literally buy a $600 camera, take the pictures yourself, order some dye sublimation prints off Snapfish, and have exactly the same results. In fact I think you’ll be even happier if you did it yourself because you went out there and you did something… you made something… and that’s a nice feeling.

The thing is, photographers offer more than that… and what they offer costs more than Snappr’s prices.


And I am aware that photographers have so far done a poor job at making themselves more accessible to people and that the idea of an app that makes them more accessible seems like a good idea. I get it. I’ve experienced some of these photographers sheer arrogance and childishness. I know some of them don’t communicate their pricing well. I get it.

But if you come at photographers from the pure perspective of cost they get super pissy and make it even harder for consumers to hire them. I think it’s because a lot of photographers seem to find it innately offensive. I think they feel like they’re being treated like a button presser when they offer so much more than that.

So it ends up being a no win situation.

Which is why Snappr straight off the bat bothers me and seems like a mediocre idea. You’re not really going to help anybody in the end. Consumers are eventually going to be bothered by mediocre photography and photographers are going to continue to be pissy.

For this matching service the startup takes a 20 percent cut of the basic packages from the photographer, and a higher cut on the higher-priced packages.


And for you photographers it gets even better! You’re not only now an on demand, cheapest cost possible, servant but you’re also getting even less than the headline prices!

I really don’t see this working out.

I’m sorry but I just don’t see it.



Don’t misunderstand me… if you’re a photographer who is fine with working at those prices that’s your business. What I am trying to point out is that for the price levels we’re talking about here… the math just doesn’t seem to work out for a lot of situations / photographers… at least on the lower end of Snappr’s price range that they’re promoting.

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