A “great” or “revolutionary” business, according to my definition, changes the landscape such that thanks to an unforeseen confluence of idea, timing, and chance, we soon can’t believe nor remember a time when that status quo didn’t exist. Apple is one such revolutionary business, as is eBay. By this definition, it’s arguable that Adobe with Lightroom and Photoshop is also, as would be AirBNB and Uber on the service side.
But here’s the thing with greatness, is that it’s tortuously complex. Great and revolutionary things are often abominable because ‘great’ and ‘revolutionary’ aren’t necessarily synonymous with ‘good’. No, great and revolutionary things, people, and businesses are so because the world adjusts to them. They can become anchors to which we are chained, for better or worse, and we tend not to know for which until it’s done. This neatly brings me to a company, self-proclaimed as ‘revolutionary’, that’s about to drop into your field of view. It’s called PICR, and it really does seem as though it could be ‘great’.
What Is PICR?
To be able to take in and properly synthesize what PICR is you should be somewhat familiar with the sharing economy. It’s a buzzword of sorts, and frankly you all are familiar with it. The sharing economy is described as a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources. There are tremendous amounts of products and services that are relatively idle, and the sharing economy businesses connect those resources to demand. Think Uber, Amazon, and AirBNB. All of these have leveraged technology to bring people together with the goods and or services and clients they want but were otherwise unable or disinclined to find – at least without great difficulty or resources.
However, don’t think for a minute that these are just glorified indices, because where an index would just list, these businesses serve both sides of a transaction largely throughout the process, taking on some of the complexities of running a business, and there’s often a rating/review system for those on either side of a transaction. Accountability is sure to play a role, so these businesses are largely about efficiency, but also about convenience, and a sense of community.
So, with that as a preface, some of you may have already heard whispers of it through the photography grapevine; maybe seen its logo, read a little about it in the few write-ups, or maybe you have already signed up. However, it appears most still don’t really know what it is and why it matters, and that’s actually PICR’s fault and a shame. Let me tell you now, it does matter, and those whispers are going to get even louder rather soon. Here’s what PICR is in a nutshell:
PICR is a photography platform that serves both the photographer and the client, bridging the disconnect between the two, so anyone who wants photography services of any kind can find a vetted professional, and a place where those photographers can be marketed, found, and their business facilitated.
That really is PICR, on the half-shell, and there are already tens of thousands signed up.
If you’re looking for photographic services for anything from a birthday party, real estate, to comp cards and commercial work, PICR will provide an easy and convenient way to find the photographer resources that you need. It allows clients like that to sort through photographers broken into many different genres to compare their portfolios, prices, reviews, and to contact them and book on the spot. So on that end of things it does work much like an AirBNB for photography. On the photographer’s end, however, things are a bit different.
PICR Services For The Photographer
*So you’ve decided you want to sign up, great, but there’s a vetting process. In an effort to ensure the best offerings for clients, and being a reputable source, all photographers must apply and be vetted through meeting certain criteria. This is not going to simply be a matter of taste and style, but of ability and execution.
For the photographer PICR seems to want to do two things: Make being found and hired simpler and quicker and more frequent (ideally), and to facilitate the actual workflow of the business-side in one organized and intuitive place. They want to help keep you organized and take care of the hassle and business minutiae so you can do…whatever else you want with your time. Here’s a taste of what’s at your disposal as a photographer with a PICR account:
Firstly, you sign up without cost and are assigned a profile, etcetera. When you log in, you’ll be taken to your Dashboard area which gives you an overview of your profile and what you’ve got going on. You’ll see how much you’ve earned, how many profile views, how many active sessions you’ve got going on, and what sessions you have on the calendar and their status. To the left, you’ll see tabs for Messages, Projects, Calendar, Specialities, Profile, and shortly more tabs for Instant Bookings, Client Galleries, and Commerce will be present.
Interesting points to note are the Specialities tab, and Client Galleries, and Projects. I mentioned that clients seeking photography services will be able to search via choosing a speciality they are looking for, and PICR allows you the photographer to have separate pages per specialty. This is great because many of us do more than just one thing, and when marketing we don’t typically want to lob it all into one spot or site. PICR gets that, and, therefore, separates it for you, but still manageable from a single account. Within each speciality, you can also have different rates and pre-built packages and price-per-image. This all makes it easy for the client to see and understand what you’re offering.
When you’ve booked your job, you’ll be able to put up your client images without charge through the PICR site. That’s right, there’s no charge for that. I asked and was told that there will be a limit, but it won’t be small and should a photographer need more, that can be purchased later on. So it keeps your work in one spot, making life for you and your client more focused. Speaking of, PICR also facilitates the communication between you and the client via a messaging service. Within ‘Messages’ a client or even a potential client will be able to speak with you, and this carries over seamlessly into the iOS app. In fact, it all does as it’s designed to let you control it all from anywhere and at any time.
At this point is when I’m sure you’ll wonder, why give PICR anything, and how does PICR plan to stop those who will try to circumvent PICR altogether after they’ve been contacted by the client through the service? As far as I can tell, nothing. I asked them this question bluntly to which the response was that they don’t plan on policing everyone’s communication and nor would they try. They want to keep your business by offering the photographer so much convenience and value, that it makes sense to, and you’ll want to do it all through PICR.
Allow me a moment to address something that warrants your attention. There has been some chatter online suggesting that PICR will probably not work to market you, and just wants to take your money. This is uninformed, and I say this with thought and meaning, it’s stupid. PICR is not going to be charging you anything upfront, and will only make money when you do. Period. They’re commission based, so all the offerings like gallery hosting for clients, the organizational tools, the basic bookkeeping, and so forth comes at no cost until you book. And how much do they take when you do? 15%. That’s it.
What’s The Catch?
Well, I can’t think of any at the moment, other than perhaps if it doesn’t work out then a bit of your time will be spent trying something that didn’t pan out for you. It all actually sounds, a bit brilliant, maybe a bit too good. In reference to my opening remarks, time will tell if this turns out to be a ‘great’ business. If it does, it does possibly have the potential to change how photographers find work. We speak often on here about how photographers must be business savvy to succeed in such a saturated market, and many that succeed aren’t the most talented or the best, just the best marketed. Perhaps this may change that. For better or worse? Depends on who you ask.
I’m quite excited to try this out, and I think it’ll be a boon to many a photography business. It will be rolling out in Portland, Oregon initially as that’s where the company is based as soon as next week, but the plans are to extend to the major photography spots with the most sign-ups rather rapidly. As such I can’t really give a yay or nay on the service since it’s not yet in Miami, but I’m signed up already to help it get there, and of course to take advantage of the fact that if you sign up now you’ll get premium features for free for life. Sign up here.