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PICR Is Aiming To Bring Clients To You & Help You Streamline Your Workflow

By Kishore Sawh on November 27th 2015

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. 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.

39 Comments

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  1. Amii & Andy Kauth

    Anyone else who signed up for this back in 2015 getting inundated with emails trying to get you to sign up for PICR Beta? Just chatted with them online for a bit. This is less marketing (or no marketing) and more studio management software. From what we gathered with a 5 minute chat session and scanning through their ‘site. Moving on. Not much to see here.

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    • John Sheehan

      I remember when this was announced, but I never heard what happened to it. I did a quick Google search about it, but I can’t find an article on its closing.

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  2. Mark Romine

    I guess much depends on your own business model as to how well this will work if in fact it ever gets going. I don’t see high-end clients who would shop in this fashion. They prefer to shop by word of mouth or by referrals from their planner or their venue. I see this appealing more to the mid to lower range budget shoppers.

    Personally I’ve never had a good feeling of letting another business come in between my business and my customers. As if I was a third party entity which is what this feels like.

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  3. Stephen Jennings

    There’s also some issues that were not addressed in their big reveal as well.. like with hosted galleries, can clients print? And if they can, what labs? (The company that started PICR started as a canvas printing company… sooo .. is this a way to also drive clients to their own printing service? And are they taking a percentage of the sales from this as well?) Also .. I would never, ever consent to paying 15% commission for a wedding package. Seriously, that’s insane .. I can’t see anyone agreeing to that.

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  4. Stephen Jennings

    Wow.. I finally know what PICR is! .. This company has had the most God awful marketing campaign I’ve ever seen, I think they managed to piss a lot of people off.

    I don’t really see this service as anything revolutionary.. kind of.. but not really. There’s other services out there that attempt to do this, it’s basically just a Thumbtack with the ability to take payments? (I’m assuming you can take payments?) But I don’t see this service being used to bring in the type of clients we’d like to see? Who knows, I could be wrong, but every time a service is introduced that claims to make it easier for us to get clients it’s of the $200 wedding photography variety. I don’t really know why it’s so hard to drive decent clients to an online portal, but it seems to be.

    Anyways.. I hope this service turns out to be awesome, I’ll wait and see. I’ve been following his small business blog for a while, and they seem like a group of exceptionally talented people so all the best to them!

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  5. John Sheehan

    It took me a while to figure out what Picr was, given how the opening paragraphs gave me the impression this was the second coming. I wish the writer would have gotten to the point of what this service was quicker, since I was lost after the first paragraph. Less glowing language and more facts about the service upfront would have been read better.

    As for the service itself, I’m taking a wait and see approach. The interface and tools for photographers are great, but it means nothing if the site can’t drive client traffic to itself and the photographers there. That’s the biggest obstacle I see for Picr, will real people use the site? To do that they have to get the reputation that an Amazon, Uber, or AirBnB have, so Picr becomes the first place people look for a photographer because of a trusted track record. My gut, and experience with other merchant/client sites like this, is telling me they have an uphill battle. There are many services that are just lists of professional services (which this will look like to the average person), so Picr will also have to differentiate itself on the client side to be successful.

    And on a side note, Uber and AirBnB are bad examples to use in describing Picr. Those sites bring together clients and a unique service (ride share, house share) offered by regular people that wasn’t easily available before the internet was able to connect them. That is different than a professional offering their services.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Well John, that’s a fair opinion, but having spent time speaking and touring PICR and getting into the heads of the guys behind it, suffice to say I felt and feel to fully understand PICR you need some of that background.

      I think you’re also mistaken in your notion that comparing Uber and AirBnB is a poor decision. That comparison comes straight from the founders, and it’s not meant to draw an exact comparison, but to give an idea of how the sharing economy works. Like any business they do have an uphill battle, but it’s hard to argue with what they are offering, and at no cost. Time will tell, as always

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    • John Sheehan

      I am very well versed in share economics, having been on the ground floor of developing several sites in the mold of the Uber model. So when I say the comparison is bad, it is a professional opinion of a developer who has worked in the industry and not some kid at a keyboard in his parents’ basement who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

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    • Olivier Gisiger

      When I hear someone referring to the share economy, all my senses are awakened.

      Uber and Airbnb are not the best “share” economy example in my opinion. I see them more as being part of the “huckster” economy. Do you know how much Airbnb pays a photographer to document a flat? In Paris, 50€… for a 2 hours work (travel, production, post-production, delivery). I cannot see it as a fare price. I saw numerous such examples in the so called sharing economy…

      If PICR aim is to support photographers hard work by linking them to potential customers and having a 15% commission for that, that’s totally fine for me. And that could also be a good profit model (not so profitable?).
      But if their aim is, like Uber and Airbnb, to lower the services prices for customers by playing on the huge number of people dreaming to live from their photography production and ready to lower their prices at all costs, then I cannot see it in a positive way for our occupation.

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  6. Steven Pellegrino

    Maybe I’m missing something, but how are customers supposed to find this? It’s obviously being marketed at photographers to sign up, but how is a the person looking for a photographer going to find this?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Hi Steven,

      You are correct PICR’s initial push has been focused towards getting photographers to sign up. That said, there is a marketing plan for bringing consumers into the marketplace, but that mostly has to wait until the service is launched.

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    • Steven Pellegrino

      I’m interested to see how they’re going to market to the general public. SEO seems to be a slow, unpredictable way to go, but I can see TV commercials working. When I think of some sites that I’m familiar with now, like Angie’s List, I first heard of them from a TV ad. However the examples mentioned above – AirBnB & Uber, I had never heard of until just recently. They don’t advertise in this market. The only reason I had heard of Uber was because it wasn’t up and running in St. Louis and they were/are fighting the taxi cab commission over state laws they need to follow in order to operate here.

      But I think part of my ignorance of those companies is that I have no use for their service, so even if I had heard of them it would go in one ear and out the other. But Angie’s List was a service we signed up for a few years ago because it was an easy way to get quotes on work we needed.

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  7. Justin Haugen

    There’s chatter about this venture being the next in a line of failed startups with all the initial investment nearly spent with no idea how to form a profit model. Curious to see if this comes to fruition.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Hi Justin, just wanted to clarify something here. “all the initial investment nearly spent with no idea how to form a profit model” not sure where you are getting your information, but this is completely incorrect.

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    • Justin Haugen

      Sorry, I must be misinterpreting all the discussion on the fstoppers post.

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    • Stephen Jennings

      It came from the founders blog posts .. it’s actually a very interesting blog to view a project from the eyes of a startup founder. But yeah.. basically they were burning through cash with no clear business model, a crazy amount of employees, and are very nearly out of cash with launch being delayed several times.

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    • John Sheehan

      Stephen, do you have a link to that blog post? I’d like to read that.

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  8. Stan Rogers

    So… join up and become a commodity, or not join up and become *not even* a commodity? Yay, disruption, I guess.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      This is the question Stan, that if it succeeds, will that spell good for the working professional or not. Disruption indeed

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  9. Andy & Amii Kauth

    Thoughts on this:
    1. 15 % is a bit steep (and if you read the Facebook conversations, it was originally going to be 10%) … plus, you have your fees when your client uses a credit card through Paypal, Square, or Stripe? Unless they are including that service in the 15%, you are approaching 20%. Then again, if you advertise on WeddingWire and TheKnot using any of their upper packages, it seems like even 20% is comparable. And, of course, this is from the perspective of a wedding photographer … not sure what is out there if you are say just a real estate photographer, in which case this could be awesome.
    2. They are vague with regard to it being free or just charging the 15% … seems there are going to be some add-ons and upgrades (the article mentions image storage). If you refer 5 friends, you get a free lifetime subscription? Can’t find any info. on what that is, esp. since all you have to do is get 5 people to give them an email address? Again, some vagueness there …
    3. Wondering what the vetting process will be … no info. on that.

    But since there is no upfront cost and seemingly no risk other than wasting some time, this seems like a better “risk” then when we bought in with The Grid and PageCloud because we thought we needed a better website than our current one generated by WordPress … Realizing this is more than a website builder, of course. :)

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    • Lynne Bardell

      Thank you for all the info, I will watch this with interest.

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    • Steven Pellegrino

      I’ve seen similar sites for entertainment services that charge about that much. An entertainment agent is going to charge about that much as well. With photojournalism an agency that sells your work to a media outlet can take as much as 50%, so I don’t see 15% out of line.

      Personally I get concerned when I see “free” services. How is the company making money? And there’s the old saying – if you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product.

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    • John Sheehan

      I think the base service is free, but if you want to upgrade to the better bells and whistles that can really help you, that costs extra. I think. I’m still hazy on the whole thing since I’ve heard different (sometimes conflicting) things online, and the website is very vague with little practical information. What they need is a video tutorial walking us through how the features of the site work, what it can do for us, and how they will be able to drive clients to us. Right now it’s pages of buzz words about how great the site is going to be.

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  10. Lynne Bardell

    Hi Kishore, when you were speaking with them did they mention intending to expand outside the US eventually please? many thanks. Lynne

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      Not wanting to speak for Kishore but just read through a slew of Facebook comments, replies, etc. … They say they intend to eventually. USA first then probably whichever countries or cities outside the USA have the largest number of sign ups?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Currently,PICR is focused on the US launch, but the plans are to expand internationally (no timeline on that at this point though, one step at a time).

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    • Andy & Amii Kauth

      One additional thing of note, on their main page it states you can “earn cash toward your first photography session.” Assuming that means if you register as a user (not a photographer) and get friends to sign up you earn $ in the form of discounts when you book. Also assuming PICR eats that cost and not the photographer? Because there would be a bunch of unhappy photographers, if they were about to book and then the client played the “Here’s my $500 credit!” card … esp. with 15% coming off the back end. :)

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Andy, you are correct in assuming that PICR eats the cost of those credits. The photographer still gets paid their full fee.

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  11. Scott Spellman

    I signed up for PICR on July 15, 2015. So what have they accomplished since then? Nothing-except for 8 emails begging me to signup/refer other photographer friends or join a FB Group. If you can’t launch a website in that time then I have no confidence this will actually succeed.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Hi Scott. There is a lot more development going on here than simply coding a front end website.

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    • Steven Pellegrino

      Getting in on the ground floor can be a different experience than jumping in when something is already established. I signed up on the site blink.la, which is primarily aimed at photojournalists and editors. The basic premise of the site is if there is breaking news or an interesting story happening, an editor who doesn’t have a photojournalist in the area can connect with one who is already there. I did an assignment, photographing Hillary Clinton for The Washington Post, through that site.

      At this point it’s invitation only because they are making sure they have quality members. They’re still improving the site and the app that goes with it. At this point in the process I’m not expecting a lot. I’ve made a few connections and did one assignment, but I think a year from now it’s going to be a different experience and someone who joins then will have faster results than the early adopters.

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  12. Mark Romine

    Rarely does anything that is set up for the masses work as described, just my experience in life. There have been gobs of services like this for photographers on the internet, some with more, some with less options. Some last for 2-3 years, others even less time. Be wary. Let others test it out for you.

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  13. Pye

    This looks super interesting. Thanks for the write up Kish. This is the first time I really understood what PICR was intended to do. Up to this point I thought it was to be studio management only. Excited to see what it brings to the industry.

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  14. Olivier Gisiger

    Hi Anthony…Thanks for the answer.
    Will PICR in some way support the photographer pricing? I can imagine that on the customer side, the price can be a search criteria. Let’s say I’m looking for a photographer for my next wedding. I just have a budget of 500$ for the whole day (from 10am to 2am the next morning). I enter that budget in the search engine. Will I get a proposal for that price, or will I be redirected to a page explaining me in what consist the photographer’s job and sadly, for the proposed budget I will have a hard time to find the right photographer for the right job?
    The project seems so promising that I have too many questions. The last two ones: will PICR in some ways be reserved to professional photographer (the ones that make a living of their photography) or will it be open to anyone? Will PICR make a selection upon the photographer’s portfolio for example?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Hi Olivier,

      If a visitor searches for photographers within a certain price range and there are no photographers within that price range the results page will simply inform the user that there are no photographers available for that price at that time and prompt the user to expand their search criteria (in this case, $).

      As for the second part of your question. PICR will only allow vetted professional photographers into the marketplace. The team will approve or deny photographers based on the quality of the work uploaded to their portfolio when they sign up. I can’t give you the specific criteria this moment, but it will be publically available once the service launches and anyone will be able to see what the criteria is.

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  15. Olivier Gisiger

    Thanks Kishore for sharing this new service.
    Although it looks very promising, i’m asking myself some questions.
    In their presentation they refer to upfront prices, plateform dedicated to service, Uber and Airbnb as references. Sadly, the world is experiencing bad situations with Uber for example, which is completely service oriented towards customers and leaving service providers with lot of costs without any clear ROI (Return On Investment). In my market, the situation is quite damaging today on the photography side with most clients looking for cheap photographer without regarding for the quality (but ready to complain when things goes wrong). Is Picr aim to value photographer’s work towards potential customers or to give the opportunity to customers to find a photographer for the “right” price? In fine, who will be deciding of the value of a photographer work? The Market, the customer, Picr, the photographer? I hope they will find the right balance between customers and photographers needs which are sometimes competing and that they will be able to promote the Art of Photography to a new level…

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