Last month I asked readers to share their experiences of working for Kodakit. The responses have been mostly positive but with a few caveats. You can expect to shoot (and eat) a lot of food, but is it worthwhile?
As explored in this article, Kodakit is a relatively new company and, for now at least, it is tapping into a gap in the market: restaurants using delivery companies such as UberEats and DashDoor that require imagery of their food in order to draw in customers. As one photographer noted, these are companies that would otherwise never pay for a photoshoot. Kodakit is providing photographers to these small businesses, creating functional imagery with very low overheads and a quick turnaround.
All of the photographers who gave their feedback have been shooting food, with one going on to pick up several jobs shooting neighborhoods for real estate companies. Whether Kodakit will expand further beyond the food niche remains to be seen, but real estate seems like an obvious progression: small, short notice jobs where money can be saved by finding photographers on demand who don’t have far to travel.
Experiences were similar but with slightly different attitudes as to whether it is worthwhile, largely dependent on how useful it was to add food photography to a portfolio, or to network with local businesses. The number of jobs arriving seems to be very much dependent on being in the right city, understandable given that Kodakit is relatively new.
Photographers were typically asked to spend an hour shooting between six and ten images for a small restaurant or takeaway service in return for $50. For some, it was beneficial, making a small amount of cash and building both experience and a portfolio. For others, it was a waste of time and effort once travel and editing had been taken into account. One of the respondents noted, “I always thought, ‘the next one will be better,’ but it never was.” By contrast, another upgraded his very basic camera gear with his earnings, with a third investing in a new laptop. Several noted that they picked up jobs working for various restaurants having initially built a relationship through Kodakit.
Interestingly, a few photographers found that it led to other work, allowing them to build relationships with local companies. One photographer only took jobs on the weekend that were nearby and offered him the opportunity to shoot something he’d not shot before. The majority reported that communication was generally ok with occasional problems when a restaurant hadn’t read the brief properly, adding to the amount of time required for the shoot.
All of the photographers were completely happy at not owning the copyright, with one observing that he’s not particularly precious about another shot of a kebab on a white tabletop. All of the photographers were able to use the images in their portfolio and on social media. One definite perk was the amount of free food.
So is it worthwhile? If you want to expand into food photography, build connections with local businesses, don’t mind the low rate of pay and see it as a useful means of filling spare time with a little extra cash, it could be a great stepping stone. If you’re an established professional used to well-paid jobs and want to retain copyright of your work, probably best not to bother.
It will be interesting to see whether Kodakit can continue to expand, both geographically but also beyond the recent explosion of food delivery services. As it stands, it seems unfair to accuse them of undercutting other photographers as they are creating work that, most likely, would not otherwise exist. Let us know in the comments if you see a future for it, if you’ll be signing up, and whether you see it having an impact on the photography industry more broadly.
Lead image courtesy of Rex Jones.