New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

News & Insight

KodaKit | Bringing Clients & Photographers Together Sounds Good, But Perhaps You Should Pass

By Kishore Sawh on January 22nd 2017

Kodak began an effort last spring to launch a service whose aim was to bring photographers and those who need their services together, all whilst handling the minutiae the typical artist would rather do without. It sounded brilliant, if familiar, but the service, Kodakit, launched in Singapore and took ages to get anywhere else and we sort of forgot about it. How many times have we heard of these services only to have them vanish? Picr, comes to mind. But Kodak isn’t Picr, it’s Kodak, and now Kodakit is to be found all over the globe. You can go here to check it out and sign up, but hang on, give me a moment to explain why I wouldn’t.

As the landscape of business and commerce change, so too must the photographer. Some seem to think that as a professional species we’re dying, failing to adapt and evolve at the rate of change, and looking at the headlines it’s not hard to see where they’re coming from. For years now the ‘staff photographer’ has become more and more scarce, an endangered perhaps, and the democratization that the internet brings has certainly helped to close the gap between the professional and the part time. But make no mistake, the work is still there, arguably more in volume than ever, it’s just the competition is fierce and the playing field is much more level, and varied. So it’s unsurprising then that a system that aims to be the middle man and matchmaker to parties that want what the other’s got should arise and do well. But from what I can see, Kodakit doesn’t have your best intentions in mind.

“transform the photography market with an on-demand service that will change the way [clients] and photographers can connect”

Signing up is relatively simple, you just go make a profile, select your city, input pertinent details and sample photos, you can set rates, and in two minutes Bob’s your uncle. But if you care to read the terms and conditions (which, by the way, are linked wrong on their page and you have to scan a bit for them), and you begin to poke around a bit what you might find is that it’s commoditized our craft and not in a good way – well, not for us anyway.

If you get over the initial excitement, you then pick up cues that something’s a bit off right from the ‘marketing material’ which features lines lines like, “Earn more money, be your own boss, get paid fast, shoot when you want.” The cynic inside is just waiting for the nice newly-retired couple from Kentucky to appear with a copy of their cheque in front of a whiteboard where they’ll proceed to draw me a diagram of how it works framed in a triangle. But alas, it’s not quite like that, though there were some testimonials.

So what’s the concern? Well, right out the gate you must give up ownership and copyright of your works created or purposed for a job taken though the service.

“By submitting Your Materials on the Platform or through the Services, you hereby grant us an irrevocable, perpetual, unrestricted, transferable, fully-paid, royalty-free, and worldwide license to use, reproduce, broadcast, modify, adapt, translate, transmit, sell, store, privately and publicly display, privately and publicly perform, create derivative works based upon, distribute, and promote Your Materials through all or any portion of the Platform or Service, including without limitation, such other products or services as we may designate in any medium now known or hereafter devised, for editorial, commercial, promotional and all other purposes. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of Your Material you submit or to be compensated for any such uses. We are under no obligation to give credit or pay any consideration to you for Your Materials. You agree that we own all right, title, and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by us using or incorporating Your Materials.”

That’s a deal breaker for some right there as you’ll no longer keep any of your work, possibly even for marketing. Also, as of this writing, perhaps because it was birthed there, Kodakit and those who engage in its services are held to Singapore’s copyright laws. That’s a bit odd, because most of us hardly understand our own local laws much less those of another country. That said, given the fact you sign up and agree to give up ownership of your work anyway that may be of little consequence.

Then there’s Kodakit’s fee, which is 20% of the overall take. Depending on the circumstance, working photographers know that while it will vary wildly, for some that’s your profit margin right there. So how do you recoup those costs? Kodak’s got a suggestion, and that’s to ‘Keep this is mind when you are determining the price you want to charge for a photo package!” Okay, fair enough, but again depending on your genre or how your business has been operating this may bring up a conflict.

[REWIND: 5 Things Every Bride & Groom Needs To Know About Preferred Vendors and Vendor Lists]

Now, depending on your business and pricing structure maybe this makes sense for you. After all, unlike Picr, which no client ever heard of, the name Kodak is known far and wide. So maybe you will get so much in volume that it is, in fact, a good move. And if you’re a business looking for photographers then I think this leans in your favor, though how much vetting of the photographer’s quality there is I’m not sure of. This is just a PSA essentially, and my opinion is, for most of the working photographic world, this isn’t the solution you’ve been waiting for. What we need is a Tinder of sorts for photographers and clients where the first image is a collage of works that entice a potential client to click through and then message y… wait, that’s Instagram.

You can learn more about Kodakit here.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Sky Simone

    WARNING – Kodakit is a SCAM.. I did FOUR shoots for them.. The first 2 they told me I would not be paid because there was no napkin in the photo.. Kodakit use beautiful 5 star hotel dinnerware sample images to lure photographers in, but they send you to taco shops with white styrofoam who don’t even own a single piece of china. They sent me to places that had no linen,  no china, then refused to pay me because the images had no linen or china… The 3rd and 4th shoots I took my own tablecloth, my own linen napkins, and my own salt and pepper shakers.. the place still had no china, and they found a cutting board to display the food on. I was told by Kodakit that they didn’t like the color of my linen so I would not be paid..

    The fourth place was a cookie shop. The store manager told me what food articles to photograph, then Kodakit told me that they didn’t like that there were groups of cookies, and icecream with cookies (which is what the store sells) 

    This time I uploaded watermarked images stating I would not release without watermark until I was paid. They called me right away and went ballistic, saying that I had to give them the photos.

    Then they told me my linen was the wrong color and they didn’t like more than one cookie being in a photo so they wouldn’t pay anyway



    | |
    • David Vendryes

      I have done 2 jobs for them. You’re right, they only send you to dingy little roadside joints. :) :)
      As far as I am concerned, it’s a simple in and out.  I didn’t even retouch the images as the fee was too low and I don’t do retouching anyway. I think they are not really looking for high end stuff. They are looking to get the masses. So busting your balls to deliver a cover shot that won’t even be recognised by a client who would have otherwise used his phone to take some snaps, is only going to cause grey hairs. :)

      My first shoot was at the Berlin version of a “taco joint”, it was a kebap joint. :) These guys didn’t even have a table or chair, just on the sidewalk.  The weather was crappy and I since i was heading to a headshot gig afterwards, I had 2 umbrellas and 2 speedlights in the boot.  Below is a pic of the makeshift roadside studio. :D :D  

      Shooting crap that resembled roadkill with my fancy phaseone xf and 2 yongnuo speedlights. I did enjoy the challenge though. :)

      I am however surprised to hear that the client (cookie shop) was telling you what to shoot etc. because I got a PDF with shot guidelines before I went anywhere. I shot the 6 frames and left. I uploaded the jpegs and they paid in a few days.  I never got a call or a complaint. It was pretty straight forward. I definitely don’t give a fried f#ck about the ownership of those pics. 

      I don’t think they aim to be a “serious” portal for pros. I am assuming they are looking for folks who own a halfway decent DSLR and will work for cheap.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to shoot their stuff, but if it’s on my way or nearby, why not???

      Greets from Berlin!!

      | |
  2. Tony Brown

    As a Cinematographer I never owned the rights to a single frame from the millions of feet of 35mm stock I shot anyway, so in this new world order where we all tread on each others toes, this is not really an ussue

    | |
  3. Stephen Jennings

    Man.. what happened to Kodak? And what’s with these companies thinking photographers have trouble getting clients? For these types of gigs, aimed at business to business, there’s plenty of legit creative placing agencies that established companies with real budgets use. All these services, such as Thumbtack, Wedding, Picr etc etc all aim to do is be this magical portal that anyone seeking high quality work will seek out. The reality is it attracts the worst clients with the smallest budgets. Which really, anyone looking for a cheap photographer needs only go on Facebook or Instagram and find hundreds within a mile of yourself. It’s like trying to launch a service to find a cup of coffee when you have a starbucks on every corner – it’s not a difficult search.

    | |
  4. Shu Yen Kor

    I tried it.
    Here’s what I have to say: I thought the folks were pretty nice in real life.
    But KodakIt has trouble finding clients for photographers. They had one-off assignment for special events like Mothers’ Day portrait sessions at a good hotel.
    The next best thing was a contract for that very large uber for short term room rental company, and they were rather stringent with the selection of photographers. But the specifications for the photos was full of contradictions.
    First they asked for 14mm shots. After submission, they wanted 24mm instead.
    First they said flash was ok. After submission, they wanted only naturally lit shots.
    The suggested rates for architectural photographers was $300 per hour.
    But that same aforementioned contract, $50 per listing, and 1 listing usually means you need to shoot more than 1 room, which can take well more than an hour. And they needed the shots to be processed and edited in 24 or 48 hrs.
    They tried to assign me multiple shoots on the same day, back to back but in opposite ends of the city.
    I had an assignment cancelled last minute. Got 50% payment.
    At least for that contract, it just wasn’t worth the time.

    | |