I’d like to share a few thoughts spurred by our recently released Building the Gig Photo Economy study, as well as the conversations I’ve since had with quite a few folks using or supplying Gig Photography services.

First of all, we live in an era of diminishing stigma against outsourcing household tasks that consumers traditionally have done themselves. Coupled with compelling use cases for deploying gig photographers or photography workers as I wrote about earlier, there are plenty of opportunities for innovative vendors to offer services that make finding, engaging, paying, and communicating with gig photographers frictionless and affordable.

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It’s a market that is still in its infancy and I expect innovative startups, as well as larger vendors, to enter this space in the foreseeable future and take it to the next level. These entrants could come from existing players inside the photo industry, or from outside the industry – for instance, general gig services vendors the likes of Fiverr, Upwork or TaskRabbit – that seek to go more vertical. With all the recent publicity surrounding the first unicorn in this market (France-based Meero, which just raised $230M, pushing the company past valuation of $1 billion), we can only expect to see more companies enter the gig photo-enabling market.

Gig photography has been around for about as long as photography itself, but innovative gig economy-inspired photo gig vendors are a more recent phenomenon. They take the concept of gig photography to a whole new level, not just because today’s innovative gig photography solutions are attractive to consumer and business customers, but also because they’re attractive to gig photography workers themselves.

Meero, The gig photography unicorn.
Meero, The gig photography unicorn.

In our Building the Gig Photo Economy study we have analyzed these vendors’ benefits for gig photo workers: most solutions take the headaches out of back-office tasks, such as administering jobs, receiving payments, scheduling time, communicating with customers, and managing photos. Some solutions also recruit the customers or do the photo editing or post-processing tasks for the gig photographer. In other words, gig photographers themselves – who do photography tasks their customers outsource to them – also outsource tasks to gig photo vendors, so that they can focus on what they like to do best and are best at doing: taking photos.

This reduction in time unwillingly spent on non-photo tasks is one of the reasons why established pro photographers may be attracted to gig photo solutions as well. They might like using solutions that are more versatile, easier to use, or cheaper than the legacy tools they’ve been using. They might also like switching to these gig photo solutions as a way to receive assignments at times when they have openings in their schedule. Yes, they might receive a lower hourly rate this way, but it could be easy money that they wouldn’t have made otherwise.

For photographers for whom photography is primarily a hobby, or for those who are getting into the business on a part-time or temporary basis (think students or stay-at-home parents), gig photo solutions are low-threshold options to enter the market, requiring little training or startup costs.

With lower barriers to entry, we can expect to see more gig photography workers enter the marketplace. At the same time, the demand for gig photography work is also likely to expand, as today’s consumers get more and more used to engaging gig workers for tasks they’d rather not or feel unskilled to do themselves.

The net effect on pro photographers will be a complicated equation, which might vary market to market, similar to how rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft not only took business away from established taxi companies but also attracted new customers by offering frictionless services at lower prices.

At Visual 1st we will further explore the potential of Gig Photography services and hear from four innovative vendors in this space in our Building – and Monetizing – the Gig Photo/Video Economy panel, including from the Founder/CEOs of Germany-based GotPhoto and Indonesia-based Sweet Escape.

Join us in San Francisco, Oct. 3-4!

And a few more things…

Bye Bye Camera. That loved one has become that hated one? No worries: Bye Bye Camera is a new iOS app that removes humans from photos: it detects people in the image, removes them and fills in the background. Bye Bye!

ProCamera. The latest upgrade of the bestselling iOS camera app, ProCamera, now offers Auto Perspective Correct. You wished you stopped taking photos with the buildings leaning in an angle? No worries, ProCamera now lets you correct these through the click of a button – or by manually adjusting them to get things just right.

Google Pixel. What if your most differentiating feature is hidden in your menus? You promote it at the expenses of a less differentiating one. That’s what happened to Google Pixel’s Night Sight feature, which delivers superior pictures in low-light situations. The victim? Its Panorama feature, which had to take a step back. And how did the Pixel get such good low-light capabilities? Two words: computational photography. [Hear all about the vision behind how Google is pushing the limits of computational photography in our Visual 1st Fireside Panel with Alexander Schiffhauer, who heads Google’s product management for Google’s computational photography teams.]

Canon. Canon uses crowdfunding on Indiegogo for developing its IVY REC clippable outdoor camera. Crowdfunding? Yes, really! Before you draw any conclusions about the company’s financial state of affairs, read this article describing why it is a daring and smart move.

Sweet Escape. Gig photography enabler Sweet Escape announces a $6M Series A round. [Hear from David Soong, its CEO and co-founder, in the Building – and Monetizing – the Gig Photo/Video Economy panel at Visual 1st.]

CloudprinterCloudprinter launches its Global Print Cloud, taking the hard work out of integrating with Cloudprinter’s global print API. Through its ready-to-go integrations for Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive, as well as its own new Cloudprinter Express desktop software, integrating print jobs to route to Cloudprinter’s network of global printers has become substantially easier and faster, according to the company.


Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Author: Hans Hartman

Hans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics, the leading research and analysis firm for the mobile photography market and organizer of Mobile Visual 1st, a yearly industry conference about mobile photography.

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