Travelshoot is an Australian based company that connects tourists with local photographers across the globe to make holiday memories extraordinary. After winning the Australian My Shark Tank TV competition, the national exposure assisted in the company’s rapid growth. Along with the rapid growth came the need for a network of photographers to take on assignments with tourists on location around the globe.
Travelshoot’s founder, Sarah Pearce has leveraged ImageBrief to help grow her network of photographers. I caught up with her via email to learn more about how she’s been using the platform to find, get in touch with, and hire photographers.
Travelshoot is expanding from Australia to major markets in the US, Europe, and Asia. How does ImageBrief play into that?
“We’ve recently partnered with some major travel brands and now have some urgency in connecting with new photographers in cities all over the world. We’re pretty up front about the fact that we hand pick the photography talent we want on our network. Prior to working with ImageBrief, the process of reviewing photographers’ websites directly was incredibly time consuming, and most of the time didn’t find anyone anyway. With ImageBrief, we’re able to search and connect with photographers for a location we have work for, and we can easily see from their profile the type of work they have previously completed.”
What’s your biggest challenge with running Travelshoot?
“We have a lovely problem in that customer interest is not our problem—it’s finding talented and customer-centric photographers quick enough.”
What was your objective with using ImageBrief to find more photographers?
“To help us with the biggest challenge: scaling our business by providing us with a platform that makes connecting with photographers around the world for particular assignments and ongoing work much, much easier.”
How would you go about finding photographers to add to your roster if you didn’t hear about ImageBrief?
“Pre-ImageBrief, we had researchers who would spend hours Googling for websites and blogs to find photographers, and then reach out on their websites or via email. It was really laborious and the room for error and missing photographers whose website didn’t rank or come up in our searches was really common.”
How do you search for photographers on ImageBrief?
“On ImageBrief, we have tested both an assignment brief for a job we had in Tokyo, and also connecting/reaching out direct to photographers in cities we know we will have ongoing work for. Both avenues have resulted in a much higher response rate and we have had an incredibly positive response to our concept and how we work. In short, the process has streamlined the way we can attract new talent.”
How do you decide who to contact and what are you looking to see in their portfolios?
“Along the way we’ve learned that sometimes selected portfolios don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes we’re contacted by a photographer whose website is strictly commercial, and then after speaking with them they happen to also have some full albums of weddings or engagement clients that they don’t share. Because of this, we try not to rule out photographers altogether. When our team is using ImageBrief, they are definitely using the location filter, and then searching to check if there are samples in the portfolio that demonstrate any experience with portrait or lifestyle shoots. We start there, and then the commission estimate also guides us in who we contact. We know our commission rates are not super high for photographers, so our core benefits are more about ongoing work and filling spare capacity. Being realistic around budget expectations is important. In locations where we struggle to find new talent due to the sheer population of photographers that work there, we obviously can’t be so selective with filters.”
When working with photographers, what’s one piece of advice you’d give them when it comes to making you want to work with them?
“Our best photographers on the Travelshoot network are the ones that are enthusiastic about what we’re doing. They love the concept behind the business, enjoy working with tourists, enjoy the flexibility and benefits they gain, and this enthusiasm comes through when they’re working with our clients. We always get feedback from our customers, and aside from them getting a beautiful album of their holiday, the experience in itself and how helpful and friendly the photographer was during their time together is almost just as important. So aside from technical talent, we’re acutely aware of the importance of working with people who genuinely want to work with us, and help provide our clients with the best local experience.”
“We’re very thorough about who we assign Travelshoot client work to – so part of our process is a Skype interview which has allowed us to speak directly to a number of ImageBrief photographers we have engaged with. Conversations with these photographers are very similar in the respect that, whilst they all had some amazing commercial or corporate photography experience, they liked the prospect of mixing things up with the type of shoots they would be completing with us. Short and interesting on-location shoots around their home city was appealing, and many of them share our love of travel, so the type of assignments we could offer would not only help pay the bills, but be of personal interest too.”
Is it easy for you to get in touch with photographers using ImageBrief?
“Incredibly easy. We’re finding our response rate is significantly higher and the lead turn on closing jobs is shorter now that we can attract talent quicker.”
Could you talk about some of the conversations you’ve had and how they’ve gone?
“A stand out ImageBrief experience was off the back of listing a Tokyo assignment brief. Whilst the job was specific to this city, we were overwhelmed with the volume of interest from photographers who had seen the brief and expressed interest in working with us in their home city. Overnight, we were able to proactively connect with a number of photographers who we have now welcomed into our network and will use for upcoming client jobs.”