There are moments when smartphone pictures won’t suffice. Marianne McGinley created an online marketplace to make it easier to book photographers to capture important milestones or fresh looks.
Lokalphoto, which launched last week in Baltimore, seeks to provide a central place to find photographers for lots of different categories of pictures.
McGinley, who is based out of the ETC in Highlandtown, set out to build the service she couldn’t find in 2015. After her first child was born, she found herself frequently seeking a photographer to capture the big moments in her daughter’s life. But between locating photographers and the back-and-forth over pricing and availability, it was harder than she expected. After talking with others, she soon learned that this was true for people who needed lots of different kinds of pictures taken.
“I realized all forms of photography are generally reliant on word of mouth and that there is no starting point for finding a photographer,” McGinley said, who worked in marketing at Procter and Gamble’s CoverGirl before turning to Lokalphoto full-time in the fall of 2017.
In building out the platform, she partnered with two photographers to help develop what features should be included. Along with details on price and availability offerings, users can detail specifics like lighting and editing.
It’s also designed to help photographers. In a survey, McGinley said she found that photographers’ “top needs are filling the calendar and attaining new clients. The thing they would love to check off their list is marketing.”
Along with providing a central place to be found that doesn’t depend on maintaining their own website, the platform also allows photographers to offer specific packages, and deliver the photos.
Still, Lokalphoto doesn’t charge photographers to be on the platform. The business model involves a flat 3-percent fee that happens when it provides a link to a gig, as well as a 5-12 percent client fee.
“Lokalphoto makes money when photographers get booked,” McGinley said.
McGinley is currently bootstrapping as she looks to grow the user base, as well as the number of photograhers on the platform. She sees users in three categories: parents, young professionals and small businesses such as restaurants and boutiques who have seasonal changes. In the future, she sees potential to expand to other cities and add videography.
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