Splento – the Uber model of photography on demand

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Splento launched in 2015 to bring the Uber model of photography on demand to customers. In other words, just as Uber makes it easy to book a taxi ride based on specialty, proximity and book appointments directly, Splento aims to do the same for its customers.

Because the industry isn’t set up to capitalize on same-day requests for photography, Roman Grigoriev, CEO and the founder says, the startup decided to abandon the original approach and refocus its efforts specifically of the on-demand photography. Splento soft-launched its on-demand photography service in September 2015, but eager to become a mobile-first product in the same way Uber provides on-demand car services, Splento began developing iPhone and Android (soon to follow) apps.

Today, Splento is officially announcing its product and releasing its iOS app (with Android to follow in Q3), allowing anyone and everyone to book same-day/on demand photography while on the go. Through its app, Splento now enables users to select any photography session, specify what time they prefer the photographer to arrive, decide between an event driven photo-session or capture of a romantic walk. When they hit “Book now,” the request goes out to nearby, available professional photographer one at a time, much like requests to Uber drivers, until one of the Splento photographers accepts the request.

Grigoriev says that the over-arching motive behind its product is to, simply put, make professional photography accessible to everyone. Furthermore, it aims to solve the hassle around searching for a professional photographer — having to research and book in advance, for example. The startup has recruited over 100 carefully vetted professional photographers who are available on-demand and will confirm appointments and be on their way within minutes of booking your appointment.

Splento is also attempting to take some of the hassle out of the process by offering a set price, which is charged directly to users’ credit cards. By standardising the price and removing the friction around booking and payments, Splento hopes to be able to increase the frequency with which we indulge ourselves in a mini-photosession. Particularly because, in truth, aren’t we all just tired of selfies? Grigoriev says, in its experience thus far, Splento has found that 10% percent of requests are same-day. As a result, that market opportunity could be double or triple the amount of current photo-sessions.

By using the Uber model, Splento is able to help photographers book more appointments and organize their day in a way that doesn’t require them to travel 50 miles to an appointment, while removing the hassle of phone calls, and back and forth over SMS with customers.

Of course, Splento is not the only place or service to offer professional photography. There are a slew of options for people looking for a photo-session, whether it be previous contacts, popular photographers (thanks to Instagram) or recommendation. There are also options for people to do a good old research and turn to professional photographers’ websites. The problem is that most photographers don’t offer on-demand photo-session, and the marketplaces that do offer a quick service can be pretty sketchy and you need to be sure the photographer has credentials and been vetted.

On the customer side, it’s hard to verify that the person about to photograph you isn’t a “selfie taker”, but Grigoriev assures us t

hat Splento’s vetting process is solid and that all of Splento photographers have stellar educational credentials and excellent prior and current employment.

And on the flip side, only verified customers can book appointments, the founder tells us, in an attempt to provide extra security measures for photographers as well.

Splento is initially only available in the London area, where the starting price of a photo-session will costs £49 per hour.

To that point, the startup plans to launch in a new city each quarter and will be coming to other cities in the near future. For readers in London looking to test out the new service, using the code “splento16pr” will get you a £10 discount on your first appointment.

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