Today Picr is joining ranks in the photography community with a bold statement: Picr does it all. The U.S.-only Picr Beta will aim to be your one-stop shop for everything you need to run the business end of your photography. From lead generation, client management, and financial earnings reports, to hosting your website, delivering your completed photo projects via client galleries, and re-generating follow-up repeat client work.
Picr hasn't always had this clear vision, but from the time it has become more focused, it's been doing some heavy lifting.
Since its inception, Picr has evolved into what it is today by doing exactly what I look for in any company: they listened. The first message I have in my email archives from Picr is dated September 14, 2015. It reads:
Thank you for believing in our vision!
You are now enrolled into our Free Lifetime Membership.
As soon as we launch you will be sent instructions on how to setup your PICR account.
This was during a time in my photography career when I was hunting for anything and everything I could that would allow me to work more with my camera (let's be honest, that's still my career). I'm sure I saw a sponsored ad somewhere, read what they were about, and immediately started telling all my friends. They had a promotion going on, basically a "get your photographer friends to sign up for this mailing list and we'll give you free access for life." Picr's original plans, however, were much more narrow than they are today, and they started long before I ever knew about Picr.
A Brief History
At first, Picr was going to be a high-end print studio. They employed over 20 individuals and launched an app for printing images from your phone and Instagram account. You could quickly and easily create a collage, select a frame, and expect your high-quality print within days. A year later, they pivoted. This time Picr decided that building an online marketplace where anyone could conveniently find and book quality photographers was a much more interesting problem to solve. They were looking to be the biggest community pool on the Internet for photographers to get local jobs. This iteration was, more or less, for people who needed a photographer and by using Picr they would find a perfect photographer to fit their needs. Almost a year later and then closer to 30 employees, they had built up a local community around Portland with nearly 300 photographers. If you're shaking your head at this point thinking something along the lines of "oh great, another photography profile I get to make online," well, Picr heard those shrugs loud and clear. Short version: they pivoted again. I won't go too much further into the history other than to say I have been on this mailing list, a member of the Facebook group, and impatiently waiting for almost two years now.
This Is Picr Beta
From Picr's Beta launch announcement:
Using a Beta product is not for everyone. In fact, most people don’t qualify to be Beta users. A product in Beta is for early adopters, which is a unique group of people who are constantly the first to use new products. Early adopters accept and embrace the fact, that they may be using a product which is not yet perfected.
Cue drum roll. So what is Picr now?
1. Website Builder – Easily create a professional photography website using beautiful templates designed specifically for photographers to convert web traffic into clients.
2. In-App Messenger – Chat with your website visitors in real time, even from your phone on-the-go. Never again miss an opportunity.
3. Built-in Lead Capture – Organically capture leads via messenger, blog, and a fully customizable lead capture form.
4. Comprehensive Dashboard – Easily keep track of everything from website visits and leads captured, to projects booked, and dollars earned.
5. Lead Management – Stay on top of each lead by assigning tags and actions to each lead. Systematically warm and convert each lead.
6. Client Relationship Manager (CRM) – Keep track of all business relationships and clients to book them again.
7. Integrated Calendar – Connect your calendar to Google or iCal and allow your clients to select their sessions based on your availability.
8. Project Booking – Give your clients a consistent experience by letting them book on the same website where they found you.
9. Payment Processing – Book clients in one place while taking advantage of the low flat 2.9% processing fee on all Picr transactions.
10. Payment Scheduling – Allow your clients to pay in full or a specific portion, with the final payment automatically scheduled on a specific date.
11. Electronic Signatures – Easily send your contract and have your clients sign it when booking your services.
12. Automated Emails – Automatically remind your clients of scheduled bookings, outstanding balances, and ask them to leave a review.
13. Workflow Management – Keep track of each project task utilizing Picr’s flexible workflows which allow you to easily manage each task of each project.
14. Project Management – Keep track of every detail, including project dates, locations, contacts, transactions, internal notes, and shared documents.
15. Image Management – Enjoy the convenience of having your entire image library in one place. From portfolio and blog to client images and proofs.
16. Client Galleries – Easily deliver your client’s digitals in a beautiful branded experience allowing them to share and download the images in many different sizes.
17. Full Client Portal – Your clients can log into your website anytime and view all of their bookings, messages, and images.
18. Mobile App – Update projects, record payments, update calendar, chat with website visitors, and send messages.
19. Built-in Reviews – Receive and manage reviews with ease. Importing from Yelp, Google, Facebook, and Yellowpages coming soon!
20. Blog (CMS) Coming Soon – Create and manage a blog by easily selecting and arranging photos from your Picr image library.
The Competition Is Fierce
I'd love to get feedback from all of you on how you solve these business needs. As for me, I currently use these services for their aforementioned features:
2. Chatra (in-app/website messenger)
3-14. Táve (studio management)
15-16. Pixieset (photo deliverables)
17. Client Portal - I'm not entirely sure if Táve has a client backend for booking info, but I wouldn't be surprised if they do. Pixieset by design obviously is a photo deliverable platform so that is covered.
18. Mobile App - This is where I'm left wanting. While technically Táve has a type of "web app" that you can save/bookmark to your phone's home screen, it's not a native app and therefore also lacks a watch app.
19. Built-in Reviews - I'm not entirely sure about this one. I think it's more for the future marketplace concept. I post my reviews on my website already but I suppose this would make it easier with an auto-import type tool.
20. Blog - See #1
Over a year ago there was a teensy tiny blip of time when you could actually install a sudo-app for Picr which was really just an interactive web-app demo featuring some of these backend features. I can't stress enough how gorgeous it was. I'm such a big proponent for simple GUI and ease-of-use, and that demo exceeded my expectations. Judging from this picture, Picr will eventually launch an app for Apple Watch as well which is another big plus.
While I personally already solve most of these needs through services I am very happy with (you'll have to pry WPEngine, Táve, and Pixieset from my cold dead hands), the fact remains that technologies change and progression can't be argued with. If, in the end, I am able to balance compromise with cost, I would absolutely love to keep everything under one roof. The potential here is immense, and the staff I've been in contact with have always been incredibly helpful. I'll be gaining access to and checking out the Picr beta today. In the coming weeks I'll bring you a follow up with my experience, so stay tuned.