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Minted Launches ‘Photo-Op’ A Crowdsourced Service | Does the Uber Method Work For the Photo Industry?

By Justin Heyes on November 28th 2017

Since launching in 2007, Minted, a crowdsourced design marketplace has expanded from its beginnings in stationery, into wall art, textiles, home décor, and in its most recent endeavor an on-demand, in-home, affordable portrait photography service. The new service, dubbed ‘Photo-Op’, calls upon the nearly 10 years of crowdsourcing and creative community experience to bring artists to their intended audience; all while selling Minted-branded goods.

[REWIND: Gear Guide For Aspiring Fashion Photographers & Portrait Photographers]

Today’s connected generation expects to be able to have services delivered in the convenience of their own home and as easy as calling a ride or delivering a meal,” says Minted CEO and Founder, Mariam Naficy, “We are making portrait photography accessible to more consumers who are too busy to otherwise schedule a session, and helping connect them to emerging photographers who want to follow their passion and do something creative to generate income.”

The Uber-esque service vets photographers who want to join the service to make sure that they are able to deliver high-quality results upon shooting. Minted provides sessions starting at $100 for a 30-minute shoot with an independent photographer that is suggested to the user after answering a short questionnaire to gauge what it is they are looking for. Clients can also browse photographers in the system based on location.

I think, the price point in general though is one where we can fairly pay the photographer and attract enough people,” Naficy said. “This is an independent group of photographers – these are not minted employees – and we’re transforming people who have free time into staff photographers. So we have to set a price where we can fairly compensate people to attract the workforce and make some margin for us.

Following each session, customers will be provided “10 expertly retouched photographs”, with the estimated turn around time of three days. The top selections will be loaded into the customer’s cart for final review along with suggestions for holiday cards and other good provided by Minted.

There is a renaissance happening in the design community right now, that is largely being led by technology,” says Naficy. “We are growing the overall demand for creative services like photography by using technology to make booking these services more convenient. Creatives and consumers, alike, are exploring the balance between using technology to represent themselves while remaining authentic and creative. Our goal at Minted is to facilitate that self-expression.”

As for the compensation for the photographer, Naficy was able to confirm Minted will take a slimmer margin on the process than other “gig-focused” platforms, like Thumbtack, might take because it “offers those customers a way to use the content the photographers create in other products” – in other words, make the money back by selling their own printed products.

A pilot of Photo-Op has launched in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles already. The growing on-demand lifestyle that society is becoming accustomed helps Minted cash in with Photo-Op, crafting yet another service that continues to devaluing photography in the public eye while reaping the benefits of the uninformed consumer.

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Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rebecca Gosselin


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  2. Jose Rios

    I actually am a lyft driver and have averaged about $8 per hour which seems ridiculous very little but whe times are slow, driving for lyft is an option.  I average about 2 hours per week :-). If I could do photography instead I would definitely do it, sure!

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  3. Hagos Rush

    literally just started my photo business (part time) and this pricing is absolutely ridiculous. The consumer pays $100, so what does the photographer get?

    Also, TEN edited images and a 30 minute session…get out of here. Even myself as new to the business won’t charge that little. I’ll be cheaper until I build a satisfactory portfolio but this is ludicrous.

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