Three Websites That May Help You Grow Your Photography Business

Hi there! I am Ashley, the photographer behind Monroe Street Photography. You might be wondering what these three websites are that may help you with your photography business. I know you are super excited so I'll jump right in. 

1. Thumbtack www.thumbtack.com

You might already know about Thumbtack but I needed to talk about it so that's one reason it is on the list. If you don't know what Thumbtack is, here is a quick rundown. Thumbtack helps consumers connect with professionals that they may be in search of. Professionals can opt to have a background check done and add any certifications relevant to their industry. In addition, Thumbtack users (and outside users) can leave a review for their professional thus letting others know the professional they are considering is 5 stars (yay!) or not 5 stars (eek!). 

Pros

A big pro is that Thumbtack connects you with potential clients. Clients you probably would not come across if you weren't using Thumbtack. Also, Thumbtack just updated the way they are doing business. Pros only pay for quotes they send IF the client contacts them. (This used to be a HUGE con for me, it used to be pros would pay for EACH quote they sent, regardless of the outcome.) If you're good at what you do, your profile reflects that with a 5 star rating! You can also choose to use your Thumbtack profile as your website or portfolio. They also have exemplary customer service for professionals and consumers! 

Cons

My first annoyance with Thumbtack was spending money anytime I sent a quote, there is no guarantee the client will choose you so some pros were spending a lot of additional funds and getting no return. (Thumbtack has addressed this and you no longer pay per quote). Now pros only pay for quotes if they get a contact which I suppose I see how this seems fair, but I am still not sold. Thumbtack has to make money too. There is also no guarantee that the client submitting a request for services is serious and ready to hire. In my industry especially, I feel like people like to submit requests "just to see" what results they will get back. Once you become an avid user, you will start to recognize which requests these are. Thumbtack just introduced "Instant Match" which I really like the concept but it also seems very interpersonal. Clients that send in a request for services can receive up to 15 quotes!! That is just excessive and probably a little overwhelming for some. 

Final Opinion

Give it a try! I think Thumbtack can be an excellent tool, especially for professionals who have established a small client base already and can have those clients rate them right away. Those who are just starting out can also see a great benefit. 

2. AVVAY.COM www.avvay.com

Avvay.com is fairly new, established in 2016 by five gentlemen in Nashville. Their concept is really cool and I already have a few spots I am dying to check out and get some unique shots. The purpose of Avvay.com is to connect creatives with creative spaces. From recording studios to rooftop gardens, there is something for everyone. Creatives currently in Portland, Nashville, Dallas, Houston, and Chicago can search for creative spaces near them for rent by the hour, half-day, day and sometimes weekend. 

Pros

Again, I really love the entire concept these five guys have made come to life. In Chicago alone, there are already plenty of rustic, trendy, vintage, chic places to choose from. There is even a 1986 VW Vanagon Westfalia available for bookings! Who doesn't want that gem in their portfolio?! Requests can be customized to fit the exact needs of the creative, as long as the person renting out the space is okay with it. Most spaces are affordable, with the exception of this chic styled apartment that is available at $200 per hour. List an available space and earn some extra income! Avvay.com is currently offering $20 credits to new users. 

Cons

Some of the spaces available are pretty hefty in rental price. If you really want to get in to a space, you can always try negotiating with the owner. That is really the only con I could come up with. 

Final Opinion

If it is in the budget, definitely take a look at avvay.com. There is always the option to add the rental fee to the session price. 

3. Shootvenirs.com www.shootvenirs.com

Shootvenirs also has a nice concept. They are very new, founded in 2017 and are a Mexican company. Their goal is to help travelers document their trips through a professional photographer native to the area. Pretty cool right? Funny story, I actually was pretty excited when my lovely sister told me about this site (check her out here). I applied, got accepted pretty quick and was thrilled! How exciting to meet new clients that are from all over the world and capture their moments in a big exciting city! 

Pros

This could be a really great option for a lot of people, especially honeymooners! The process of finding a photographer is simple and the costs are more than reasonable. 

Cons

The prices are more than reasonable. Professional photographers working under Shootvenirs receive roughly HALF of the session fee (The most basic package is $199 for 30 minutes, 1 location and 25 edited images, not to mention Shootvenirs wants an additional 10-15 to choose from. So not only do photographers drive to location, then spend time with the client, drive back home, then edit 45 total images and hand them over to Shootvenirs to receive a measly $103 after all the work is done." Just for reference that $103 equates to .24 cents an hour assuming the photographer drove 15 minutes each way and only spent 2 hours on post-production. No. Thank. You. 

Final Opinion

Well, now the cat's out of the bag. As soon as I read the "manual" I received after signing in as a pro I knew why I was accepted so quickly. Shootvenirs wants their pros to work for literally NOTHING. Skip it! Single and professional for fun photographers might enjoy this but if that is not the case, there are much better ways to network. The creative process for a photographer starts the moment they meet their clients, often times even before that. Know your worth.