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Saturday, August 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Photo startup Snappr to start bookings here

Jeff Cummings. a local real estate photographer, takes images of a home for sale with Live Real Estate in Spokane, on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Spokane Valley. Cummings plans to market his work on Snappr, an on-demand app described as Uber for photographers that is launching in Spokane on Monday. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Jeff Cummings. a local real estate photographer, takes images of a home for sale with Live Real Estate in Spokane, on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Spokane Valley. Cummings plans to market his work on Snappr, an on-demand app described as Uber for photographers that is launching in Spokane on Monday. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

California-based startup Snappr, an on-demand professional photography service, is expanding into the Spokane market with an official launch Monday.

Snappr, described as the Uber of photography, connects customers to a professional photographer via its app or website to book photo shoots for events such as birthday parties, weddings, portraits, sightseeing excursions and corporate events, said Matt Schiller, CEO of Snappr.

Customers can book a photographer within a two-hour window that same day or more than 12 hours in advance. Prices start at $59 for a 30-minute photo session and go up to $449 for an all-day shoot.

Once customers book a photo shoot, Snappr will match them with a photographer based on their specialization and location. The photographer will then contact the customer to confirm details and arrive at the chosen location with cameras and lighting gear.

Photographers upload the photos to the Snappr platform, where they’re available to customers within 48 hours of the shoot.

Photography businesses in Spokane generate more than $19 million annually and an estimated 174 paid photo shoots occur per day, according to data from IBISWorld, a market research firm.

Snappr, which Schiller calls “the largest marketplace for getting a photographer on demand in the U.S.,” originated in Sydney, Australia. The startup relocated to San Francisco in 2016 when it received backing from Y Combinator, a seed accelerator in the Bay Area that has funded successful startups such as Dropbox, Airbnb, DoorDash and Reddit.

The idea for Snappr was derived from Gowntown, an Australian e-commerce business co-founded by Schiller that sells graduation gowns and frames. Finding that graduation photos were often expensive, he integrated a service into GownTown to connect photographers with graduates seeking pictures of their special day.

After Snappr secured more than $2 million in seed funding in 2017 from investors such as AirTree Ventures; Lars Rasmussen, co-founder of Google Maps; and Justin Waldron, co-founder of Zynga, the startup expanded its platform to San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle.

“Seattle has been a great city for us. We didn’t just want to do a lot of on-demand stuff in really huge cities,” Schiller said. “We wanted to show this model can work in smaller metropolitan areas as well.”

Spokane was on the Snappr’s radar because it received a lot of interest from customers here using its separate, free photo analyzer service for LinkedIn and Tinder profile pictures, he said.

Snappr aims to make professional photography affordable for customers while reducing administrative work for photographers, who receive 70 percent of a booking fee.

“We reduce travel time and take that work off their hands,” Schiller said. “Because Snappr can automate things and do things very efficiently on the administrative side and reduce travel time for photographers, it actually brings new customers in the market and actually grows that pie for everybody, which is great for photographers.”

Schiller said his goals for Snappr include expanding the platform to more major cities in the U.S. as well as internationally, and adding more photographers. It launched in Boulder, Colorado earlier this month.

“We basically want to be a platform for photographers of all kinds,” he said. “Snappr’s philosophy is we want people to have a great artist whose talents are enabled by great software.”

Snappr, which has about 1,000 photographers on its platform, is “highly selective” with photographers, accepting about 5 percent of those who apply, Schiller said.

“In Spokane, we’ve got a handful of photographers on board and we’ll be adding more photographers as we start to get the kind of demand we expect to see,” Schiller said.

Jeff Cummings, owner of photography business K-tizo, is one of the first Spokane-based photographers to join the platform.

“It’s been challenging to market and get new clients and so I was doing some exploring online and discovered Snappr, which I’ve never heard of before,” said Cummings, who specializes in real estate photography.

“I discovered they were in the Seattle area and I made contact with them last year, asking if they are active in Spokane. They responded and explained they would be opening up in the Spokane market shortly.”

Cummings completed an application, video interview and provided his portfolio to Snappr. He was accepted on the platform a week later.

“I joined because I felt they offered a real good value to a photographer like myself and I would be able to spend more time being creative and doing photography that I’m passionate about and less time trying to market my company,” he said.

Cummings said he’s excited about Snappr’s launch in Spokane and its potential to be a recognized source for photography services.

“I’ve kind of been a one-man show, and it feels like with Snappr, there’s opportunity for me to have a team and business that allows me to focus in on what I especially love to do – photography.”

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