$10 Photoshoots? Ourspot: A Place to Hire Amateur Photographers

$10 Photoshoots? Ourspot: A Place to Hire Amateur Photographers

With the current state of the photography business flooded by part-time professionals, Ourspot (or something like it) was ultimately inevitable. The website, which launches in San Francisco today (New York and Los Angels coming soon), is an online marketplace where anyone can hire an amateur photographer for as little as free to as much as a few hundred bucks.

Photographers are able to upload a "portfolio" for potential "clients" to browse. Those "clients" can pay whatever they like. The site suggests $10 for "fun" shoots, $25 for a "standard" shoot and $100 or more for something "custom." Ourspot takes a 8%. The site's founder, Sam Yam (yes, his real name), has said he is not trying to "cannibalize the market" for higher-end jobs like weddings. Good luck with that, Sam Yam. My personal favorite detail the tagline on their front page, "Be a Photographer." It's now apparently that easy.

What do you think?

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Hmm, will it cannibalize the pro's market? No, I don't think so. It may certainly be a starting for some careers and more faces will come up on stage. But serious agencies will continue to call the pro because what counts at the end is repetitive quality and that they can rely to get their expectation fullfilled.

I second that.

this seems somewhat like Model Mayhem to me but more for John and Jane's who want some photos. good place for those who can't afford high end portraits and good place to practice so many aspects of portrait photography for the serious beginners.

well enough compansy hire the cheapest they can get today.

the companys you speak about are not that many.

 I agree. Cheapskate companies/people will always be cheapskates. You will never be able to convince them that what you have to offer is worth the extra money. It took me long time to understand that. I always thought that if I just "educated" clients they would understand the "real" value of my service.

The clients who will go to this website are not my clients.

I agree with you that this is most certainly not gonna affect the pro market. my wife hired a pro wedding photog in NJ for our wedding last Sept for about $3000 and we didn't even get 10 halfway decent pictures from him. She really regretted hiring him (A distant family friend) rather than one of my pro wedding photographer friends. I am pretty sure that in any next event shes gonna be damn sure that she hires the right photographer even if she has to spend a little extra.

Antonio Carrasco's picture

A photographer I am!!!
I cannot afford green eggs and ham!
At these wages, no one can!

Typo in your headline

Zach Sutton's picture

Fixed. thanks.

And sorry, its been a long morning for us here :-)

George Socka's picture

there are proof readers in india that charge like $.01 per word...

They were all hired out by Sam Yam to be amateur photographers.

Jorge Tamez's picture

Epic comment is epic 

This is awesome!  I want to thank all the sites that told me I could be a professional photographer just by watching youtube videos and pressing the black & white button.  I was on the fence about whether to be a professional photographer, or a professional Walmart employee.  Being a professional photographer is so much more easier!  Now I'm a professional photographer, with professional equipment, and professional lights, and professional pants.  I'll be able to shoot tons of professional jobs now with my professional portfolio on this site and be more budget friendly to budget people looking for professionals (which I am) at a reasonable budget professional price budget professional reasonable thing.


Sam Yam's prices are too high. Most digital photography isn't even worth giving away for free.

For all practical purposes, the profession of commercial advertising photography died in the late 90s. My last catalog shoot was in 1998. From then on, I only made money on speculation by shooting content. That did alright until the housing market collapse in 2006. From then on, it only got worse every year.

Yes, there are some commercial photographers out there doing well. But they're working for corporations that have been bailed out by the Wall St bankers. It's only a matter of time until the money runs out and the corporations will all go belly up. Then, those last few commercial shooters will be collectively wondering if it's even worth paying the power bill at the studio anymore.

The wedding and portrait photographers that did will in the last decade were riding the housing bubble. Their clients had loads of extra cash to spend from the massive influx of credit. That bubble money is now gone, and most of the wedding/portrait photographers that depended on it will be gone soon too.

Am I worried about competition?...no, I'm a total elitist photo snob and am confident in my ability to outshoot any of these new DSLR freak wannabes. But I can't build a dependable business in an economic environment that isn't stable. Nobody can do that.

The sh*t's gonna hit the fan real soon. When that happens, all of the rats will jump ship.

Andy Fang's picture

But do the jobs come with free exposure and potential for future jobs? I didn't think so ;)

what a great idea.... please ruin the biz for all of us.

amateurs who shoot for 10$ what could be better.....  LOL 

I don't think pro photographers should be worried. I mean, Instgram basically made everyone a photographer already, so what's the harm in this site ;).

Definitely a good thing for the industry. If you're truly a good pro photographer, you won't have any trouble standing out from that. You're shooting for a different market, between people who want professional results and those who just want snapshots of themselves.
If anything, people using sites like these get used to pay for photos (even if just $10), and will then upgrade to more pro shooters when they truly need something nice.
Yes, it might hurt a certain category of "pro" shooters, who may not be able to up their game above amateur photographers. They may have to readjust their careers, or learn to be better quickly.

Tim Skipper's picture

Every industry has always had those who will do low quality work for little or nothing. Building any business on price wars is always a lose/lose situation because somebody will always do it for less. This has just organized the Craigslist and Facebook wannabe's into one place. Those that will hire them would never have hired a pro photographer to begin with. If it wasn't this then they would have got their friend Bob from down the street who got a camera for Christmas, or Uncle Joey who has already been taking those creepy pictures of them since they were little.

Sai Saelee's picture

Love it! Now I have a place to send people who don't want to pay my rate!

So I started the site to help all photographers, not just amateurs, but the media has pushed on that more strongly than anything else thus far (admittedly, the pricing structure doesn't help).I definitely thought of Ourspot as a tool for professionals, too, since effectively it's a marketing service where you can showcase your portfolio, which should make your photos stand out even more if they're professional caliber. You definitely aren't forced to sell anything or do any photoshoots on the site.

One thing that I intend to do to help foster a better professional community is to allow for photographers to submit their own prices for photoshoots that have been posted. That way it'll link back to your portfolio and posters can get a better idea what an actual photoshoot is worth -- going forward after that, I would then be able to put up "suggested" prices based on averages/medians for certain types of photoshoots.

Any and ALL feedback is definitely appreciated -- photographers should be shaping this product going forward -- please don't hesitate to email me at sam_at_ourspot.comThanks!

I don;t see how this is financially viable for the photographers or even for you? how did you create your business case / plan? Micropayments of 80 cents per transaction (looking at the bottom end) coupled with operating costs (bandwidth, financial transactions, website maintenance and development,  ...) how is this going to be profitable? Obviously you are going to load the site up with advertising to help offset your business costs but that seems like a lot of effort for very little return.

For the "photographer" your pricing scheme is even worse! You are telling prospective clients what to expect to pay so you are setting expectations that can;t be met. How is a photographer supposed to shoot at 10$? It costs me more than that to go out of the house on a shoot just in gas and wear and tear on my car!

Try and think of it as being the same as World of Warcraft or some other simulated reality entertainment. It's a place where people can go and fantasize that they are something that they're not. It's a fun make-believe world of virtual reality entertainment. In that respect, it's not much different than the rest of the online photo community.

Rebecca Britt's picture

Did someone say World of Warcraft???

 I am sorry all this does is continue to help devalue photography. 


Photographers and their images are subject to market forces like anything else. Sidewalk paintings on velvet can be had for $10, yet paintings from Masters continue to increase in value.

Pro photographers don't own photography, and they are not owed a wage. Pros need to respond to the changing market, and Sam Yam is an entrepreneur who is doing just that.

Sam, your site does not bother me, or is a bother for professional high end photography for that matter. Happy you found yourself a niche.
You lost me, tho, on the "I started the site to help all photographers, not just amateurs" and "Ourspot as a tool for professionals, too". No, you are not helping any pro and NO, Ourspot is not a pro showcase. Luckily we do have great showcase sites and resources available

Good luck man!

Antonio Carrasco's picture

You want an idea? Here's an idea--take $10 and $20 photo shoots off the table. $100 should be the bare minimum entry point, and even that is low. Anything less than $100 is a nonstarter. If you can't afford $100, get a friend with a point and shoot camera.


If any so-called pro photog is actually worried about people charging $50 for a session robbing him/her of potential customer and business, he/she needs to reassess his/her own work and reconsider the idea of being a so-called pro. 

Exactly! Creativity and dedication is where success lies not at a price point.
The "I work so hard post processing" and other excuses are not viable if your work is not amazing. Maybe you could save some of those billable hours on photoshop, taking better photos and not firing on continuous mode like its a automatic rifle at target practice.I know good photographers and they are by no means worried.A lot of good photographers will be born out of this.