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Australian startup Snappr could be the Uber of photography, but photographers aren’t happy

Snappr wants to make photo shoots “quick and snappy.” It is an online service where people can book a photographer for as little as $59 Australian (about $45 in American money) for a half-hour shoot that includes five digital images. Rates go up to about $340 U.S. for a seven-hour shoot with 30 images. And it is the same price no matter what photographer you end up with.

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It is this pricing that has most upset photographers, who see it as lowballing existing professionals in a dangerous way. With such low rates, it would be nearly impossible to make a living as a full-time photographer. In the fine print, Snappr does mention that additional digital images can be bought for roughly $11. So a seven-hour wedding where the clients wanted, say, 50 images could net $560. That’s still a far cry from what most professional wedding photographers charge today.

Not all photographers believe the service is inherently bad, however. In speaking with Resource Magazine, photographer Hugo Lopes said, “I think they are exploring a new market, a new category. They’re encouraging people to hire a professional, even if it’s not a high-level professional.” Lopes initially signed up with Snappr, but the low prices made him change his mind. “It’s up to each professional to decide whether to participate or not,” he said.

Snappr is still very small, servicing just three metro areas in Australia, but there is a good chance its offerings will expand and change as the company grows. Right now, however, it seems to appeal to a very narrow range of photographers and clients. There is little room to customize packages, and there is no opportunity for photographers and clients to get to know each other before a shoot, which is often a critical component of the booking process, especially in wedding photography.

But if you need a headshot for your LinkedIn profile or want to up your Tinder game, Snappr might be the way to go.

This certainly isn’t the first startup to try to revolutionize the photography booking process, but the firm’s standardized pricing model is quite uncommon. While some clients may see this as as simplification of the process, it is unclear whether such an approach can actually work for photography. Set prices work great for hailing a cab, but photography isn’t something that usually needs to be that convenient. It is deeply personal, meaningful, and worthy of a sizable investment of both time and money to find the right fit.