Peter Myers, executive officer of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, shares his thoughts on Australian photography’s latest disruptor, Snappr.
The Snappr website says right upfront ‘book a pro photographer easily and affordably’.
But what is a ‘pro photographer’? And how does Snappr define a pro?
We believe that there is a danger, not of Snappr ‘cannibalising the business of traditional photographers’ but of confusing and potentially misleading the public about how a ‘pro’ is defined.
The Professional Standards Council have a great definition of a ‘profession’ and a ‘professional’ and in the case of photography it is certainly much more than just owning a great camera.
But we understand that for someone who is just ‘dipping their toe’ into the world of professional photography, the Snappr model of looking after the marketing, pricing, delivery and service may be attractive, although as the photographers grow and develop, we expect they will want more control of these key areas of their business themselves.
We also understand that Snappr have quite rightly recognised that in the entry level they operate in, there is a need for a better alternative than just ‘someone with a camera’.
We just wish they wouldn’t confuse everyone by insisting on calling anyone with a great camera and who has done a few paid jobs, is a ‘professional’.
Despite these concerns, we don’t see Snappr as ‘cannibalising’ our traditional business. If they are clearer about who their photographers are, we’d see them as an ally helping to raise awareness of the need for better quality photographs and better photography.
We believe that ultimately, the more people who choose to have a professional photograph, the better the outcome will be for all concerned, especially the client.
We have a membership database of over 3,000 photographers throughout Australia, each of whom has their own business model based on their experience, proven skills, creativity, and most importantly, their status as an Accredited Professional.
Most of our members are working professionals who don’t want to compete in the entry level market pricing that Snappr services.
Our members, Accredited Professional Photographers, know and understand the value of building a long-term relationship with their clients, the value of applying a creative mind and coming up with a solution to their clients’ needs, the need to be flexible and responsive, together with an understanding of copyright, legal and usage issues.
These are all elements of ‘traditional photography’ that a Snappr photographer is unlikely to be able to offer. But for a quick and cheap service that will undoubtedly be better than ‘someone with a camera’ we think Snappr is a great concept.
We are happy to work with Snappr. They have created a great marketing website, which will have a positive initial impact.
We would like to believe that, like us, they are concerned with the long term viability of the profession and their registered photographers.
We hope they understand the need to create a sustainable pricing and business model, which lets those photographers who want to progress from merely being a ‘Snapper with a nice camera’ to the ultimate of becoming an Accredited Professional Photographer, to actually do so.
– Peter Myers.
This article originally appeared in The Australian.