Kodakit Users Give Feedback: Great for Building a Food Portfolio?

Kodakit Users Give Feedback: Great for Building a Food Portfolio?

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.

Kodakit food photography

Courtesy of Rex Jones.

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.

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18 Comments

michaeljin's picture

Is this actually a "Kodak" thing? If it's a legit thing, then it seems like it could be a good way to build up a portfolio if you're just starting out. I don't imagine that anyone is thinking that they're going to get rich working at these price points, but it probably beats doing it for free, which a lot of us do in the early stages to build an initial portfolio to show clients.

That having been said, something about this feels really shady. Maybe it's the word SINGAPORE in the publisher of the app... I'm guessing that they just licensed the Kodak name?

It’s Kodak, just incorporated this entity in Singapore as it is easier to grab all image rights with this country’s law.

Building a portfolio off to-go/delivery food? Good luck taking photos of soggy burgers cooked by a staff that is focused on speed. Food presentation at these places mostly suck, styling food is such a pain even for experienced photographers. Guys, KodakIt is a scam, no doubt! Some of the gigs are 1-2 hours drive, for 50 bucks, WTF?!

If you going to put money out of your pocket, better picking a restaurant when is slow and pay for the food. Restaurants are desperate for content, if you offer them some of the photos, you can have it all arranged with the management staff in advance.

KodakIT and the likes give 1 hour to shoot 10 images + 1-2 “hero” shots. Not sure when you are supposed toshoot anything portfolio worthy. And yes, all expenses are your expenses.

michaeljin's picture

Well that sucks... mostly the expenses part.

I don't think that 1 hour to shoot 10 images is horrible if it's 1 hour on-site and you can walk in with some sort of plan. I imagine that it gets a bit formulaic at a certain point.

If it's 1 hour from accepting a job to delivery, thats just crazy.

That’s 1 hour to shoot, next day delivery.

Johnny Rico's picture

Well that's not a race to the bottom.

michaeljin's picture

The way I see it, these aren't people who would hire a photographer for more anyway...

JetCity Ninja's picture

bingo, and that's the key that most people overlook simply to fuel their own pessimistic outlook. it's creating opportunity where none once existed, which is the definition of entrepreneurship. they're turning non-customers into customers.

everyone becomes a buyer once the value/price ratio is tuned to accommodate the consumer. of course that means identifying those consumers who see no value in what you do as the low, low price of free wouldn't even attract their business.

JetCity Ninja's picture

so is food, gastrointestinally speaking.

David Moore's picture

April Fool's?

Michael Yearout's picture

I just read their contract/terms. My God you not only give up your copyright, but you can't use any of the photos to promote yourself. This is insane.

JetCity Ninja's picture

if you're needing unplanned/minimally planned photos of delivery food/fast food taken on location with minimal setup and at a rate of 10 per hour max for your portfolio, you clearly have no need for a portfolio of any sort.

Michael Yearout's picture

If you would like to read their contract/terms here is the link to the PDF:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5989f2a46a49631e85c41a32/t/5b64cd...

michaeljin's picture

That's actually pretty hilarious. I guess you can't use it to build a portfolio (at least not legally). :P

JetCity Ninja's picture

clearly this business is designed to appeal to the restaurant that needs photos of their menu that are above smartphone grade but below studio grade and are priced as such.

complaining about the merits of it only makes you sound like a tool, not them.

UberEats needs these photos. Restaurants don’t care in most of cases :)

I've just been approached by this outfit and, to be honest, my initial impression is not good.

They offer you work if you register to create an account and then you are expected to upload a 'portfolio', consisting of shots in various genres, despite them never mentioning that at all. Even more bizarre, when you ask what is required they send you some samples that contradict their own descriptions: 'Food shots should have no vignetting', yet all their samples do, in spades!

As many suggest, they are trying to turn photography into a zero-hour contract business. I have no real opposition to that, as such, but they need to pay reasonably and behave in a professional manner. Unfortunately, like most other versions of this business model, that does not appear to be the case