PRO LENSER FAQs
Every Pro Lenser Wants Answered
1. What's up with the FREE 5-Minute Trial Shoot? How is that even possible?
A: First of all, you always decide what shoots to accept and what shoots to ignore. If you hate this idea, don’t do it! But we choose to offer Customers the option of a five-minute trial shoot and one (1) photo totally free because we have confidence you'll shoot such great photos, the very first thing they'll ask is "How do I get the rest!?" Then you get to say, "Well, let's book a full photo session right now!" Boom. You just got paid - for working for "free." Now it’s true. Some people are really “price conscious.” (Read: “Cheap!”) And there may be some circumstances when you do a free five-minute shoot and the Customer “stiffs” you. That sucks, but that’s life. The bottom line is, we’re shifting the on-demand photography paradigm so that requires we all pull ourselves up by the bootstraps! Ultimately, once businesses realize they can never get quality social media and product photos on their iPhones the tables will turn and you’ll have so many bookings you’ll be spinning like a top! So let’s get there together.
2. How often do I have to shoot?
A: As often as you want - just like Uber - you shoot what you want, when you want.
3. How far do I have to travel to shoot?
A: As far as you want. Simply set your travel limits in your Mobile App Profile Settings. If you get a request or assignment and it's too far to travel or too little money to make it worth it, don't book it. No hard feelings.
4. What happens if my Customer wants more photos at the end of our shoot?
A: We only require you to submit the best 10% of the images you take. That reduces “Selection & Upload” times for you on the back-end. But if your Customer asks for more, just give them a few extra. Make ‘em happy! They’ll love you for it and book with FotoGenie again. Or if they want to extend the time of the shoot, use the mobile iOS app or book online for Android users to book another session immediately. Negotiate a price with a Custom Bid option then accept it as soon as it appears in your mobile app. Simple.
5. How many photos do I have to upload after the shoot?
A: We only require you to submit the best 10% of the images you take. That reduces “Selection & Upload” times for you on the back-end. But if your Customer asks for more, just give them a few extra. Make ‘em happy! They’ll love you for it and book with FotoGenie again.
6. What file type should I use?
A: As pros ourselves, we recommend you always capture images in RAW format. Those files have the highest dynamic range and they are the best resolution. That said, we DO NOT want you to upload the files as RAW format unless the Customer specifically asks for RAW files. Always upload your images to SmugMug as Full Resolution JPGs.
7. What do I do with all the photos after I submit the top 10% of selects?
A: We securely store everything you upload on our cloud-based servers. However, we only have what you give us and if the Customer ever wants to look at more images from the shoot or they request the full resolution RAW files, we are relying on you to have those on-hand. So please archive all the photos you capture for FotoGenie in exactly the same way you archive them for your private clients. Doing so will ensure the longevity of our relationships with everyone we work with and it will make it much more likely that Customer will book with us both again.
8. Why don't you require me to do master retouches on my photos before submitting them?
A: We keep your shoot and processing time to a minimum by charging extra for it. If your Customer requires special retouches, we offer you the opportunity to do those first, but the Customer needs to pay for the mastering by ordering retouches from the FotoGenie website.
9. Can I get paid extra to do the retouches myself?
A: Yes. If you convince the Customer to purchase professional retouching services from FotoGenie, you retain 80% of all retouching you do yourself. If you decline to do the retouches yourself, we outsource it and you receive nothing. Ask your Pro Lenser Liaison for details.
10. How long until I get paid?
A: As soon as the Customer submits their Shoot Request, money is transferred from their credit card or bank account into FotoGenie’s account. Then as soon as you submit your Shoot Report and include the SmugMug URL/Shoot ID number to the photo gallery, your Pro Lenser Liaison reviews the photos you submitted. If everything checks out, your Pro Lenser Liaison will issue payment immediately via Paypal or Venmo. Please have patience for payment processing. We do our best to pay-out every shoot as quickly as possible, but we only have so many eyeballs so hang in there until we get to yours!
11. What if I have to cancel my shoot?
A: Please review the Photographer Shoot Cancellation Policy. Basically, you can cancel up to 24hrs in advance with no penalty. Anything sooner than that and you’re paying for the shoot yourself so we can fully reimburse the Customer. This is non-negotiable.
12. What if the Customer cancels a shoot?
A: We hold our Customers to the same rigorous accountability as our Pro Lensers. If a Customer cancels a shoot less than 24hrs in advance, they are charged a Cancellation Fee typically 50% of the value of the shoot. Less than 12 hours and it’s the entire shoot value that goes to you (minus the Standard 20% Commission of course.) If they make a habit of canceling, we remove their profile from the app or simply don't work with them anymore. So don't worry, we've got your back!
13. I always respond to Shoot Requests and Assignments right away - how come I never get booked?
A: Fortunately for you, FotoGenie is very popular! We typically book shoots in 15-30 seconds depending on the price and timing of the request. But unfortunately for you, that means it's just the luck of the draw. You should always respond to every Shoot Request or Assignment right away because we do make standby lists in case changes are made to the schedule or the Pro Lenser who books the gig has to cancel. If you take a minute to fill out the Standby List Form, we know we can call you to shoot!
14. Do you have a Shoot Standby List?
A: Yes we do! Make sure to always complete the Standby List form if you don’t book a shoot. Those lists get filed and if there is a last-minute cancellation, we use those lists to rebook the shoot immediately.
15. What's the deal with photo licensing? Who owns the photos?
A: We both do - until you request exclusive rights. We do it this way because licensing is complicated - and it's also extremely time consuming/expensive to set up and monitor. That said, we offer premium image-tracking services at great pro-rated prices via our partner, Image Protect. Those guys basically developed a tracking algorithm that follows an embedded pixel in your images to make sure no one is using them commercially without your permission. Ask your Pro Lenser Liaison for details.
Otherwise, most professionals make the majority of their money off branded licensing deals they broker themselves or via their agencies. We do not curate those licensing deals, so we advise you to either purchase protection for your images via Image Protect or sign with an agent or manager who can negotiate and enforce your contracts. So if you do take an amazing photo you want to sell to a brand or to a publication, awesome, we love it! We'll happily sign over the exclusive rights to you because after all, it's your photo. You must make sure to get the proper releases from your subjects, provide proof you've done so and then presto, we sign the photo over to you! Ask your Pro Lenser Liaison for details.
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Every AVERAGE JOE & Marketing GURU Wants Answered
1. What is “on-demand brand photography?”
A: When was the last time you needed some cool new photos for your website, email blast or social media post, but you just didn’t have the right shots to get the job done? You searched through your past social media feeds, browsed a couple stock photo archives, asked around for photographer referrals... Then you ended up bogged down in cryptic Craigslist posts, got zero responses in time for your product release and ultimately just pulled out your cell phone to shoot the photos yourself! Yikes.
If this is a familiar story, FotoGenie is your easiest, most affordable custom-branded photography solution. We connect you with a proven pro who will provide you with the perfect shots in the least amount of time at the lowest cost. In fact, our goal is match you with professionals who agree to shoot under your budget so you always have more to spend on ad placements rather than creating the visual content itself. So when it comes to keeping your daily content feeds fully stocked, your click is our command!
2. What is “custom-branded visual content” and why is it so important for my business?
A: It’s no secret, repurposing organic user-generated content (UGC) is the number one way leading brands sell products and services via the photos and videos their fans and followers post. Why? Because UGC is content created by the actual people using what you sell so anyone interested in purchasing your products trusts this type of “real” media most. They believe what they see specifically because it contains images with actual brand name items – not cheesy stock photos without branded products or images that have clearly been professionally staged.
But while sourcing photos and videos from your existing customer-base is a great way to engage on an organic level, you still need to think strategically about the images in the ads you’re running to attract new customers. Are the images you are using photos of your actual products? Do they show your brand in the best light? Facebook and Instagram in particular, as well as all your other marketing channels like email campaigns, landing pages and general website visuals are top priorities. Curate your brand without creating marketing materials that look fake. Invest in creating custom-branded content – photos that actually depict your branded products in the best light possible.
3. So how do new customers know the difference between user-generated versus custom-branded content?
A: The short answer is if you do it right, they won’t! Your goal is to “split the difference” between super glossy commercial content and junky cell phone photos. Sure, anyone can snap a few pics of stuff on a phone, but is that really how you want to sell your brand? Is that the best way to represent your products and services – to basically advertise that you spend no money on advertising?
FotoGenie is designed to give you the best of both quality and convenience – without the hefty fees of a big commercial shoot and complicated photo licensing.
4. Why work with FotoGenie instead a traditional ad agency or dedicated boutique marketing team?
A: Any ad agency or marketing firm can assemble a professional production team and shoot whatever custom content you want – at a very high cost. The fact is there is nothing “wrong” with this approach to creating custom-branded content to sell your products and services. It’s a great way to make sure you have top quality branded content to post and distribute. And if you have a very large budget, this may be your best option.
But if you’re a small to medium-sized business, creating relevant, engaging visual content on a regular basis is much tougher to do – especially if you spend a premium every time you book a shoot. However, posting consistently is extremely important for brand building. So why spend a premium when all you really need is a great photographer who will shoot exactly what you want without breaking the bank?
FotoGenie allows you to create high quality visual content on a regular basis without spending your entire ad budget on the images themselves. In fact, you’ll be able to create more content for less which means you be able to A/B test new ads more often. The more ads you post, the better chance you’ll find which ones convert into new sales and yield the highest ROI. So ultimately, by working with FotoGenie, you’re not only creating branded content more efficiently, you’re spending your ad budget more intelligently.
5. Okay, I understand why I need to post more branded content, but I have a fancy new iPhone – so why do I need to hire a professional photographer?
A: Honestly, you don’t. iPhones take great photos and for most daily posts, you really don’t need a pro. But consider this: Twenty years versus twenty seconds. That’s the FotoGenie difference. The average professional photographer has at least twenty years’ experience shooting great photos. And since we only work with proven pros, that means the twenty seconds you spend trying to figure out the best angle for your photo would be much better spent booking a shoot with someone who knows exactly how to capture the most amazing images with professional equipment. So just say “Cheese!”
6. So how do you “vet” your Pro Lensers?
A: It’s pretty simple; the very first thing we look at when someone applies to work with FotoGenie is their online portfolio. In fact, it’s a mandatory prerequisite to be considered. In general, if a photographer has a well-organized, professional website that is custom-tailored to their unique skills, they have what it takes to be a Pro Lenser. From there, we request they complete a questionnaire and take an online Orientation. If they complete those, we schedule a call and get to know them personally. This is the big difference between FotoGenie and our competitors – personal touch.
As professional photographers ourselves, we understand that the real “value” of your images is completely subjective. You’re trusting us to provide you with the exact content you want to create and we ask you to pay for it before you even see it! So to make sure each Pro Lenser is fully on board with the FotoGenie services we expect them to provide, our Regional Managers (who are all working professional photographers themselves) individually vet each new applicant. They also act as a personal “Pro Lenser Liaison” to all the Pro Lensers in their city. So if there are ever any questions about your shoot, that Pro Lenser Liaison will connect with you to provide personal service.
7. How long will it take to get my photos?
A: 2 to 24 hours. If your photographer doesn’t submit your images for download within 24 hours, he pays for them. We believe in a quick turn-around which is why we only work with proven pros who have the gear and the go-to attitude needed to produce the best quality content possible – as quickly as possible.
8. What is your quality control? How do I know I will be satisfied with my images?
A: Each FotoGenie Regional Manager is responsible for reviewing all the photo submissions for every shoot in his or her city. When your Pro Lenser submits the photos after the shoot, his Pro Lenser Liaison (the FotoGenie Regional Manager) looks at the images and compares them to the shoot description. If the images match and are of good quality, he will email you your private link to the gallery where you can either download the images directly or select images for individual processing. If the quality of the images does not meet our standards, the Manager will reach out to you to discuss your options for a full refund and re-shoot.
9. What if I am not satisfied with the photos I get?
A: Our goal is to provide you with the best customer service and photos possible. By their very nature, photographs – especially editorial photos – are art. And the quality of art is always in the eye of the beholder so we ask that you consider the nature of what you are ordering from FotoGenie when you determine the true “value” of your experience and photos. The best way to get exactly what you want is to work directly with your Pro Lenser at the time of your shoot. Discuss exactly what you have in mind, show him or her examples from the web, even take a few snapshots of your own so they get the picture!
Ultimately, if you are not 100% satisfied with your images, we will refund your shoot. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our friendly Customer Serivce Representatives will connect with you to
discuss your photo processing or re-shoot options.
10. Are my photos automatically “Photoshopped” or does that cost extra?
A: Your photos are submitted as “RAW JPEG” files. This means they are NOT Photoshopped or edited in any way. This often means the images are "muted" in color and sharpness. That does not mean they cannot be used or are defective in any way. It just means you need to have a professional process them to make them look their best. You may have that person in-house or you may hire your own consultant to do that for you - that's why we give you the option. If you do want “mastered images” you must select the ones you want from the gallery and request Photo Mastering for $9 per image. *Images submitted for photo mastering may take longer than 24 hours to deliver.
11. What about Photo Licensing? What sort of rights usage do I get with my FotoGenie photos?
A: The short answer is you own the rights. And so do we. The caveat is that we don’t re-license your images. In other words, we don’t sell them as stock for additional profits. Some of our competitors do, but we believe your images are your images. The only reason we retain shared commercial rights is because we do use some of the best shots for advertising. After all, we’re a growing business too!
Pro Lensers also have the option of requesting exclusive rights to the images they shoot. This is because they captured the shots and thus, by virtue of their artistry, technically own the “creative copyright” to each image they shoot – unless otherwise stipulated in a very complicated legal contract. But that’s why you’re working with us instead of a big fancy pants agency! FotoGenie makes it possible for professionals to supplement their incomes by shooting “on-demand” photography. By its nature, this new kind of photography is a paradigm shift from the traditional agency model in which professionals are contracted with specific licensing agreements. While these agreements are often very lucrative for all parties involved, FotoGenie seeks to provide a lower cost, much simpler alternative. As a result, all our Pro Lensers agree to allow you and FotoGenie to use all the images created for whatever you want in perpetuity.
If the Pro Lenser captures an image he feels he wants to own exclusively, he has the option of submitting a formal request to do so. This means we call in the legal eagles and write up a contract in which you, the customer, and we, the company that booked the shoot, grant exclusive rights to the photographer. This means they would have the soul right to use the image commercially. It also means they could theoretically then charge you to use that image going forward. But the details have to be negotiated and since that can’t be done easily via an app or website, we like
to just keep it simple.
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