Snappr makes it affordable to order a professional photographer on demand

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Everyone loves being in pictures taken by a professional photographer. Because as good as our iPhone cameras are these days, there’s just no comparison to a picture taken by a professional on a high-quality DSLR.

But most of us don’t often get this opportunity, because professional photographers are usually only hired for large-budget, high-profile events — not your Friday-night dinner party with 8 other friends.

But Snappr, an Australian-based startup that is part of Y Combinator’s Winter ’17 batch, wants to change this. The company lets you book a professional photographer that will show up to take pictures within 12 hours of being ordered.

And the best part — it’s really affordable. Snappr charges by the amount of time the photographer is at your event taking photos, and has two different pricing structures — a package where you get to pick a set number of photos and an unlimited package.

So if you want a 30-minute shoot, you’d pay just $59 to pick the best 3 pictures (the photographer will capture a bunch, then you get to see all of them and choose your three favorites) or pay $99 for a 30-minute shoot with unlimited pictures. This scales all the way up to a full-day shoot. For reference, a two-hour shoot with 12 photos included would cost $149, and a two-hour shoot with unlimited photos costs $249. Still really affordable.

So how do you know you’ll get your money’s worth? The startup has a high barrier to entry — only 5 percent of applicants are selected to be photographers on the platform, and Snappr interviews each applicant personally before being approved.

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Snappr then matches these photographers with customers depending on what type of photography they specialize in. For example, a customer may want someone to come do a 30-minute photo shoot for a new LinkedIn profile picture. Snappr’s algorithm then will find three photographers who specialize in that area, and show the suggestions to the customer, who has the final choice of who they want to hire.

For this matching service the startup takes a 20 percent cut of the basic packages from the photographer, and a higher cut on the higher-priced packages.

Matt Schiller, co-founder of Snappr, explained that by making it affordable and easy to book a photographer last-minute the company is removing the mystique of a professional photographer. Essentially, they want you to be able to hire someone to take great pictures at events for which you would never previously have thought to hire someone — like an intimate birthday party or work happy hour.

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And while there are, of course, other directories to hire a photographer online, they often make you pick from a list, then negotiate on price directly with the photographer, which is intimidating for someone not used to booking photographers. Plus, they require advanced notice. Snappr will send someone with 12 hours’ notice, and is working toward soon moving to a one-hour window.

Snappr is now live in San Francisco and San Jose, as well as a bunch of Australian cities, including Sydney and Melbourne.