Professional Photographers Compared
What Are the Differences Between Independent Professional Photographers and Third Party Booking Sites?
The advertiser claims they have the best photographers. Their best photographers will be at the top of the Snappr database listing? That’s good for those few photographers and good for prospective clients. How would they compare to independent professional freelance photographers?
Can you call thousands of photographers on one website all the best in every genre, are they? Can we believe the marketing message?
What is the best anyway. Best for who and what exactly.
Today’s consumers can easily educate themselves online and can check for themselves. Being the best in everything, is that possible. Is it believable to say your best for everyone. Seth Godin on ‘The Best” ↗
We think specialisation in what is a creative and still very much a technical profession is best done by a photographer that has that speciality. A passion for the specific subject and will deliver the best results for the specific requirement.
specialisation definition: a person who devotes herself or himself to one subject in a particular branch of a subject or pursuit
We’re not experts in every photography genre. There’s way too many, 30 listed here.
Snappr – What You Might Not Know
At the time of writing this comparison. March 2020. Snappr lost -17.32% visitor numbers in Australia according to Similar Web statistics. Not good for finding prospects for your photographers. Is the market dropping in the low and hi end?
Team members listed on Cruchbase. Of the 6 members listed all are male Snappr Managers. Diversity in Management would be good to see in a company that’s valued at $8m.
Is it like buying a lottery ticket?
A photographer lottery, in some ways all new hires is a little like that. First time working with anyone is. An employee, a marketing agency, an uber driver for example.
There are many ways we as professional photographers can give confidence to the photography buyer. The obvious one is our portfolios. Can the photographer demonstrate consistent results in their speciality. How many years have they been honing their expertise in the specific area.
For example corporate event photography. Do they have a strong portfolio in Gala Dinner photography, Conferences or Trade shows. Have they worked with some known Brands already, small companies to multinationals. You’d think so?
If you’re looking for a birthday party photographer for your lovely Aunt would you hire a B2B focused photographer? No. You would or should hire a photographer that has a passion for family photography. Comparing that with one of the thousands of Snappr photographers, they’d have some good choices.
“Book in less than 2 minutes” Is this a Good Idea?
We’d be afraid to take on a clients assignment in 2 minutes. Being a professional is making sure you and the client are a good match. Can you meet or exceed the clients requirements for their budget. We’ve declined booking requests because we were not aligned in our needs.
How many vendors at your event or wedding have you booked for the first time in less than 2 minutes? Hopefully you said nil.
Can You Tell Who Are Professional Photographers by Equipment Lists?
The basics of camera equipment for professional photographers should include a minimum two pro camera bodies that are regularly serviced by their manufacturer. A range of professional grade lenses in the kit onsite. This doesn’t look like a requirement on Snappr.
Double memory card recording is peace of mind. We’ve had a memory card malfunction during a shoot and it took less than 10 seconds to find the fault, take out the card and keep shooting on the second. Shoot enough and it will happen. Nikon gave that camera a full service before the next shoot.
All pro equipment needs fine tuning. Don’t service your car and see what happens.
How often do Snappr photographers service their cameras? Do they make it a requirement, hopefully.
Compare the Photos
Do the colours look natural, does the white wedding dress look yellow, do your guests have an orange look to their skin? we see this all the time. Without a calibrated screen the photographer can not guarantee correct colour adjustment. Ask the photographer about their colour correction process.
But can you compare professional freelance photographers to non-professionals by their equipment? If their photos are great at hi res on a big screen and they can deliver reliable consistent results. They are a good photographer and equipment is secondary.
Are all photos sharp and in focus, well composed, straight and vertical lines in the background or are doorways leaning over. Professionals will also consider the background of each photo. It is not always what you see, it’s also what you don’t see that can be important.
Comparing some photography aggregater websites about equipment, some must list their equipment. Most independent photographers don’t.
Photographers Without Their Own Websites
Do photographers invest enough in their self development, do they invest in their craft?
There are many ways photographers can invest in their professional development. One way we recommend a buyer to gain some confidence in the lottery is to check out the photographer’s own website. These days a WordPress or Squarespace website is low cost and relatively easy to set up. Easier still photographers can join Format↗ and get a great looking profile. Established photographers will most likely have a custom website design.
Professional photographers, do they have an independent website? Is that important to people hiring photographers?
It may not be for all types of photography genres.
Photographers Wanting to Work for Snappr
“Join Us Create amazing photos. Get paid.”
Beginner photographers looking to join the Silicon Valley company may find this post helpful in forming their own views.
Alternatives for new photographers wanting to work for Snappr could also consider these options;
Travel Shoot, Scoop Shot, Perfocal, Lemon One, Flat Pebble, Photographer Central and Pic Fair.
From the Advertiser “Our ideal photographer:
- Is a full-time or part-time professional photographer with multiple years of experience doing paid work
- Owns professional level equipment (DSLR camera, flash, and a range of lenses)
- Is modern, creative and on trend with their photography and editing style
- Is experienced in Adobe Lightroom
- Is highly personable and friendly
- Specializes in one or more of the following shoot types: portrait, event, real estate, product, food, wedding, maternity, newborn, family, and party”
Our experience is that Photographers with multiple years of experience doing paid work typically will ask for more than these rates.
Do photographers own the rights to the photos?
“Photographer hereby assigns (and agrees to assign) all Photograph Content and the Photograph IP and all related intellectual property and proprietary rights to Snappr” From Snappr Terms and Conditions page.
In contrast most if not all professional photographers we know do not assign (aka give away) all rights of their photos to either 3rd parties of directly to the person hiring. Instead they grant the client an image use license.
From Snappr FAQ page relating to ‘The purchaser’ “full copyright for the images you have purchased from your gallery, or all the images if you have purchased an all-inclusive shoot. This means you can use, reproduce and publish your photos however you like, including for commercial purposes.”
No other artistic genre does this. How much value is placed on the content created is a question that comes to mind.
How much money can you make as a freelance photographer?
Snappr Photographer Fee
4 hour booking – All Inclusive Shoot, photographer will gross $350.35 and Snappr will keep $188.65.
8 hour booking – All Inclusive Shoot, the photographer will gross $662.35 and Snappr will keep $356.65
The Fee on the Value Shoot schedule above says. Net to Photographer, this is actually the gross amount for the photographer as they still have to take out all their running and travel costs.
Snappr All Inclusive Shoots differ to the Value Shoots
“All digitals are included in the price” (We get asked every so often about how many photos they will get. In event photography it varies from event to event so we agree with the vague description of quantity)
This includes photographers travelling up to 40 minutes each way. In Sydney it’s actually not that far.
Below we chose to highlight half day and full day bookings because they are the most common length of time to book a professional in our experience.
Is the Photographer Fee Paid Sustainable?
In some circumstances it looks to be. Is there enough money left for the Photographer after Snappr (and other aggregator websites) take out their commission and processing fees. There’s been comparisons to Uber who take out more than 25% of your fee ↗. More here in Australia ↗.
Home page quote “Fixed prices from less than $100”. Could that be under the minimum wage when you take out tax, travel and equipment, and the booking fee cut. And let’s not forget the processing time of 2 hours minimum for quick shoots. In other words doubtful that much attention will go into post producing the RAW files. If indeed RAW files are created on your event.
Photography aggregator websites have paid advertising ppc, banner ads on Google and Facebook so individual photographers will never need to, but that benefit will be divided by many thousands.
For a comprehensive article on photography rates and prices check out the page.
Snappr FAQ On Fees
From Snappr FAQ “We have low-fee shoots which come with a limited number of photos (additional high resolution photos cost $10 each)…” Snappr keeps 50% from photographers.
We don’t know of any professional event photographers that charge extra for hi res photos.
But they do transfer all tips. Something that is common in the USA. Australians don’t have a widespread culture of giving tips to professionals.
Our comparison highlighted a few price differences.
Delivering great results for 2 hours at a venue in the city only $150 during the business week is unlikely to have happy clients and happy photographers long term.
Sustainable professional photography rates of $200-$280 per hour on average will meet the client needs and the keep the photographer fed. Unless they are hobby photographers with other income.
US$3m of joint venture capital money buys a solid marketing message.
Event photography rates should be quoted as a package, all inclusive except in some rare cases.
Depending on individual circumstance photographers could be working under the minimum wage equivalent. Not good and reflects badly on Brands that buy into poverty labour if so.
Snappr Photographers on Social Media
A photography buyer might be tempted to look up a Snapper Photographer on social media by their name. Photographers may have a portfolio on both platforms. That still may not tell you enough about their depth of knowledge. Social media displays vanity metrics. Compared to established professional photographers who run independent businesses who have comprehensive in depth information on both their websites and usually some socials.
We have not been active on social media for a long time so we’re not experts on the detail of the subject but definitely see this type of social proof being sought out.
Comparing the Payment Process
An online buying process is pretty much a given now. Aggregation websites such a Snappr have a good process to make it seamless. Heck a lot of time is spent on pushing the buyer through the funnel.
Comparing independent photographers and aggregate websites on payment processing. They both have online payments. Most will offer credit cards, EFT or paypal or square.
So both offer a good payment experience.
Are the Snappr Photographers Local to You
If the photographer is not local are you paying extra for travel. If the fee includes travel from a long distance is there still an incentive for the photographer to show up and on time? Most of the time it would be.
If your event is in the city, where is the photographer located, how reliable is transport for them to get into the CBD is a valid question.
Independent Professional Photographers with their own website and a GMB local listing will always have their address listed clearly. Pick a photographer that’s close to the event and save on our carbon footprint.
Photographer Aggregators Vs Independent Professional Photographers
We’re not dissing Snappr or their photographers. We’ve had a look and there’s some good ones. Snappr provides an ideal platform for some photographers to work in and gain more experience in a controlled environment before venturing out on their and running their own business. After a short while they’ll have built their contact list and portfolio from Snappr bookings. Special permission needs to be granted for using the photos that now Snappr owns thou.
Close client relationships are very important for freelancers.
Many aspects of running a business are already structured for them. Snappr is great at marketing so for the photographers that are on the good side of their algorithm and prepared to take a big hit with fees, they’ll get some work from the platform.
Snappr Takes Care of Everything for the Photographer
Does that sounds like Snapper photographers are employees? They control the decision making on behalf of the newbie photographer on most things. Snappr Photographers can’t hand out their own business cards so are they an emanation of Snappr?
From a buyer’s perspective it may appear to be a bit of a lottery. To non creative people looking to hire a photographer all the newer photographers work might look ok on a small gallery screen and low res photos. So there’s a bit of caution required.
Not being able to communicate independently with the photographer might put some people off. It’s hard not to get swayed by the slick website and as some have said, formatted looking reviews.
Risks with Employment Status
One risk for photographers on Snappr is if the Tax office starts seeing the photographers as employees for tax purposes. Photographer claims may be invalid. Super contributions in Australia are a compulsory minimum 9.5%. That could be difficult for photographers and Snappr.
Snappr are great marketers and have according to their public profile thousands of top reviews. Here’s a few posts to compare. Crappr↗ | AIPP↗ | Resource↗ And the respected publication of The Australian “Snappr Confuses the Meaning of Pro photography ↗”
Hopefully you gained some food for thought on the two options. There’s no right or wrong or even best.
If low cost with some risk is acceptable for what you’re after go for it. Hire a Snappr photographer.
If you’ve spent thousands on your event or wedding and must get great shots, can you afford too? There are many independent professionals to choose from.
Price and convenience are big determinants in gaining traction in established markets. At times quality and low risk are the winners.
Both option will feed a photography client, one a sandwich and the other a meal. Either way the hirer gets a feed.
NB. All content in this review was sourced from publicly available sources.
PS. And to finish off how we started with a reference to Seth Godin “If you want to stand for something, You can’t stand for everything”
Soon we’ll review another photography aggregator.