Some established professional photographers listed on Photographers.com.au, an online directory, are concerned that Snappr’s acquisition means they now are affiliated with the low-price on-demand photography start-up.
Snappr unveiled it purchased Photographers.com.au this week, for an undisclosed amount.
Photographers.com.au boasts almost 5000 members, who can be listed for free or pay monthly fees to improve visibility on the website and unlock profile features.
Photographer Andrew Railton, who has two profiles on Photographers.com.au for separate photography operations, said he’s disturbed about Snappr taking over.
‘I have no interest in being listed with Snappr,’ he told ProCounter. ‘I am interested in being listed as a professional commercial photographer on a professional business/marketing directory.’
Andrew has been listed for two years, with varying degrees of success.
‘They haven’t directly put me in touch with clients, but I have received some quote requests. A number have been poorly qualified leads – those with very low budgets and or expectations.’
However, he has scored some work from the listings.
‘So far it’s probably only just paid for its self, so I continued with it this far. In the last month I have generated a new and very promising client from it, which if all goes to plan will see it a very worthwhile marketing activity. I am still quoting with that new client, but their project quote is advancing well and I do believe it will be a successful on going client.’
Snappr founder, Matt Schiller, confirmed to ProCounter there’s ‘absolutely no plans to merge’ the two businesses.
However, there will be a fast track application process for Snappr on Photographers.com.au, which Matt says dozens of photographers have already used.
Yet like Andrew, some photographers are uncomfortable about having any direct or indirect involvement with the start-up.
‘I have got work through the platform so it has been worth subscribing in the last six to 12 months, but I can count the work I’ve got on one hand. That being said I probably won’t keep it now they’ve partnered with Crappr – sorry, Snappr,’ a Sydney commercial photographer, who wished to remain anonymous, told ProCounter. ‘Honestly it doesn’t affect me as my clients don’t use Snappr, and I don’t want to compete in a race to the bottom. At the same time don’t want to be associated them in any way.’
An award-winning Melbourne photographer, who also requested anonymity, told ProCounter that Photographers.com.au generated many leads, but in 10 years it didn’t once lead to work.
Low budgets, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of understanding from the prospective client was a leading characteristic.
‘They were either people shopping around or the wrong type of client. I found it a lot of work – something I had to manage, which didn’t return an income,’ they said. ‘Often educating them about my skills, what a shoot requires from both of us, and then having them attempt to negotiate rates based on quotes from cheaper photographers. As if I just came up with my prices randomly. Then there were many requests for wedding and family portraiture, which I don’t even advertise.’
The photographer cancelled their premium listing this week, after Snappr announced its acquisition, as the service ‘isn’t for me’. It wasn’t worthwhile paying for a service then spending time on leads that continually led to a dead end.
‘I have no problems with Snappr and their business model, or obviously Photographers.com.au. It definitely works for some people. But I decided that the type of photographer I am, with how I approach work and pricing, doesn’t work with those two businesses.’
All premium listed photographers ProCounter contacted mentioned encountering difficult prospective clients.
It may also be a common occurrence for others.
The unbeatable domain name, along with a successful Search Engine Optimisation strategy, has Photographers.com.au ranking high in generic Google searches.
So it’s no surprise that anyone searching for a ‘professional photographer’ – including those without an understanding of cost and quality – may end up on Photographers.com.au. Visitors can request a quote via a simple contact form on the website, which is sent to the photographer to assess.
The Melbourne photographer speculated that if Snappr cross-promotes its prices or services to visitors of Photographers.com.au, the lowball negotiations may worsen.
Snappr promises to improve Photographers.com.au
Photographers.com.au has irked a few professional photographers due to poor communication and difficulties in opting out.
‘Well Photographers.com.au isn’t an opt out organisation where I had to cancel a credit card to stop them debiting my card,’ commented photographer Lance Fearne, in ProCounter. ‘No answer from dozens of emails and I am still listed as a member.’ (After years of unwillingly having a Photographers.com.au profile, Lance informed us he was finally de-listed after writing the comment.)
Lance isn’t alone.
‘I had drama with them regarding payments being taken out of my account without my permission, and when trying to contact them about it was told the CEO was on a year long holiday – nice!,’ said the Sydney photographer.
(The Sydney photographer endorsed the AIPP, highlighting the benefits of financially supporting a non-profit association which represents photographers and advocates on their behalf. This was partly in response to a statement released by Snappr/Photographers, published in a ProCounter article, which invited AIPP members to jump ship.)
Elsewhere on the interwebs, somewhere deep in social media land, there have been similar discussions through private Facebook pages. ProCounter didn’t seek permission to re-publish the private online conversations, but mentioned this to Matt from Snappr.
‘We are already in the process of putting in place even better customer support for the Photographers.com.au platform, and users can expect to see shorter response times for any customer service enquiries,’ he said. ‘Snappr has always been know for impeccable customer service and operations, and this is something we are really looking forward to bringing to Photographers.com.au as well.
‘But more importantly, we are already in the process of bringing our team’s design and technical skills to bear on the site, and in just a matter of days, users will see a much improved and more modern site design that better showcases their portfolio photos, experience and much more.’
Editors note: ProCounter contacted several professional photographers listed on Photographers.com.au for comment, including family portrait/wedding photographers. Only commercial photographers responded in time, however there are more wedding/family portrait photographers listed on the service than any other genres.