There is a new cat in town and it's roaring like a lion. PICR is a startup from Portland, Oregon that promises to make your life as a photographer easier. They have created a platform for photographers that could build a bridge between the potential consumer and the service provider. An online agent of sorts. Can they really deliver?
PICR was launched in early November and there are, for the moment, 20,000 photographers who signed up for the pre-launch. It's a huge number for a service that is not yet up and running and it shows how much photographers dream of spending less time on marketing and client research. That common dream makes us a particular type of consumer that has yet to find the right offer.
PICR will start operating in Portland, and plans to expand rapidly across the U.S. in their first year of activity. If things go well they are considering an international venture in the future.
So what are they selling? The first promise is to bring the clients to you. PICR is announcing that they will do the heavy lifting. In exchange for a commission fee (10–15 percent of the work booked through the platform) they want to use their marketing assets to bring clients to the platform.They will start off by targeting clients that have needs in portraiture, weddings, and other standard photography requests, so all local business at the beginning, with the goal to reach national brands in the future.
The second promise is a set of powerful management tools for a hassle free booking system, including an integrated calendar that will allow photographers to keep track of their planned sessions and define their schedule depending on their availability, as well as a messaging system allows them to communicate with the clients directly without having to keep track of contact details.
The cherry on the cake is photographers will set their own prices and will be paid in advance for their work (when I read that one, I almost fell off my chair; it’s kind of unheard of in the industry)!
Yes, you need to pass the bouncers at the door. Any photographer that signs up will need to present their work to the team at PICR. So your portfolio will be vetted by other photographers as they only take professionals. That said, the criteria doesn't seem to be too rigid: as long as they see that a photographer has an understanding of basic photographic principles, has quality post production techniques, and is able to produce quality work consistently is good to go. So it should not be an approbation of style but a validation of technique.
Is this too good to be true? Not necessarily. The fact that they have already 20,000 applicants, without actual activity to show for, underlines that there is serious demand for this type of service. The PICR team has six photographers on staff for the moment, they do focus groups and they often reach out to local photographers for feedback and thoughts on ideas they have on the marketplace. So their platform should be as close to photographers expectations as possible. Hence the future of their project will not depend on the photographers enlisted but on the clients they manage to attract. Let's wish them well. We can always use some extra clients.