Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Saving moments, more of them...

Photograph as a medium of communication has gained a lot of importance in last few years. Social media is a top priority in big companies and so many of them run solely based on photos and video e.g. Instagram, Pinterest. People are sharing photos more than ever and looks like this trend is going to continue for a long time to come. 

Our expectations in terms of photo/video quality has also grown significantly. The camera industry's transition  to digital was swift with the advent of compact cameras and DSLRs, and more recently with the excellent camera within the smartphones. Still i wander at times, as to why do most of us use professional photography services only for specific, big occasions i.e. weddings, newborn baby portraits. Photos are an excellent medium to store beautiful moments which we can enjoy multiple times thereafter. And during the course of our life we certainly go through several instances where we would like to capture better quality photos. I am not just referring to the so called important events but lots of everyday life moments. It could be some special moment e.g. child playing in a sports tournament final for the first time, may be just a lunch out with close friends or watching a lovely sunset. 

 I see 2 main reasons why people do not use professional services for these day-to-day situations : 
  1. Pre-booking: We do not (cannot, in most situations) plan for lots of these occasions sufficiently in advance - for us to book a photographer to be present.
  2. Cost: It seems a costly affair!

So what do we usually end up doing?
  • Use our Smartphone which gives a decent output but nothing compared to what a professional  (or even an amateur photographer with much better skills) can provide
  • We use a DSLR to capture the moment assuming we will get a better result! What we get in reality is quite different though.

Lets have a relook at the 2 issues stated earlier. 

1. Pre-booking: This is a definite gap in the way the majority of photography industry currently operates. In order to get revenue stability the photographers try to get bookings much in advance, so are unlikely to be available on adhoc basis. Even if they are available, by the time they arrive, we may have lost the moment we wanted to capture in the first place. So what we need is a real-time availability of photographers around us who can reach out to us quickly. The Lamhaa App addresses this in an excellent way by providing a real-time map view of 'available' photographers around us where we need them.

2. Cost: 
    Mostly people have a feeling that professional photography service costs a lot. During any photoshoot what they experience is just a few minutes (or in some cases, few hours) effort when the photographer clicks the photos. Whats not apparent is the amount of time and cost associated with lots of other activities (preparation, editing, distribution, communication, equipment, insurance etc.). Having said that, from users perspective if we look at the options (comparing Photographer's skill/output with the Cost) they have currently the situation is something like this. 

It seems like there are big gaps in the cost if we move to the next skill levels (e.g. intermediate to advanced). Depending on the occasion the user would be willing to pay different amount. So let's assume we had photographers available as per the below chart - what this provides to the user is flexibility in terms of what kind of quality they expect and what is the price they are willing to pay.

You may have noticed an additional point in the 'ideal' scenario - the number of photographers have grown compared to the previous chart. To explain this let's take a look at the various choices the user has to find the photographer: get reference from friends, social media, search for blogs, websites etc. having done this a few times he/she may have a set of 'favourite' photographers in their phone contacts already. With these existing set of tools available they end up with very limited options. 

Looking at the exponential increase in the ease of learnability using various resources on the web the skill level of beginner/intermediate level photographers has grown. There are multiple Photography directories where they get registered to increase visibility. There are so many of them that the users easily get confused. 

The 'Lamhaa' app would be a great tool in this scenario. With a location based search the users would be able to check out lots of photographers within a single tool. With the easy filter-based search the user can quickly find the photographers around - the genre they are looking for (portrait, sports etc.) and for the price point they are willing to pay. They can very easily browse through the websites of the shortlisted photographers and make contact immediately. If they are happy with the service provided, they can save the photographer within their favourites - to make it faster next time. 

Please write in if you have any comments/suggestions.

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Lamhaa Team

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