As a wedding photographer, I was recently friended on Flickr by SnapKnot, a new website designed for photographers to better market themselves and for Brides to (very) easily search for the type of photographer that they want based upon a large number of criteria. Impressed with the site, I decided to interview Reid and Michael, the founders of SnapKnot.com. If you’re a wedding photographer or looking to get into it, hit the jump. For a quick demo, take a look at my own SnapKnot page.
SnapKnot was started by me and my co-founder, Mike Rheaume. Mike and I were freshman year roommates from our days at Dartmouth College. Although SnapKnot is technically based in Massachusetts, Mike lives in Boston and I live in Orange County, so in reality we have a coast-to-coast operation.
Mike has a background in marketing & advertising. He used to work for a small marketing firm in Boston, which closed down due to the harsh economy.
I’m recently married and a casualty of the challenging wedding planning process (well, not really a casualty, but you know what I mean ). In particular my wife Eunice and I learned that finding a photographer was very difficult, stressful, and time-consuming. We were fortunate to end up with Jim Kennedy, a very talented and well-known photographer in Orange County. We consider ourselves lucky.
Mike was looking for his next career move and I was looking to get involved in something new as well, so after a series of brainstorming sessions we came up with the idea for SnapKnot, inspired in large part by my negative experience. We thought there was a better way for couples to find wedding photographers.
Let’s say that a Bride comes to Snapknot looking for a photographer; take the Bride through the site and how they can find the studio they are looking for.
The whole idea behind SnapKnot was to make the site extremely easy and efficient for brides to use. When a bride comes to the site she simply has to:
- Choose a city
- Select her budget range
- Compare the photographers who match her criteria
- Contact photographers she likes by visiting their website, sending them an email, or even initiating a live chat via Skype if the photographer is online.
In a nutshell, SnapKnot allows for brides to quickly answer three very basic, but important questions about wedding photographers:
What does your work look like?
SnapKnot provides a large visual display that effectively showcases wedding photographer’s work directly on the desired landing page. Brides can quickly and easily get a sense of a photographer’s style and also compare their work to other local photographers side-by-side, allowing a bride to quickly narrow their search and contact the photographer for free.
Where are you located?
There is an easy search and filter function based on a bride’s city or destination, so a bride can choose to look at wedding photographers only in her desired area.
What is your typical budget range?
Through use of a dynamic slider tool, brides are able to filter wedding photographers based on their budget/price range. If a wedding photographer is priced above or below their desired range, then their SnapKnot listing will disappear so the bride is only looking at wedding photographers that she knows fall within her budget.
What do you feel you offer that some of your competitors like WeddingReach.com or Wedding Photo US don’t? When I say that, I mean to both brides and photographers.
Overall, SnapKnot is different because we focus solely on the wedding photographers and their work. Wedding photography is the one thing couples will keep from their wedding day years later, so it is very important to get a photographer whose work they are happy with. With SnapKnot it’s easy, fast, fun, and free for brides to find wedding photographers to contact without wandering through a bloated site filled with all manner of vendors, advertisements, and unrelated information that distracts from the sole purpose of the site – connecting you with the perfect wedding photographer.
In contrast to some of these other sites you mention, SnapKnot is completely photocentric. Photographers are not stuck with displaying only a small thumbnail image, nor do they have to worry about being lost in a website with hundreds of different types of wedding vendors. If a bride contacts a wedding photographer via SnapKnot, it is highly likely that she will be a qualified lead, therefore saving photographers precious time that might otherwise be wasted by following up with unqualified leads.
At SnapKnot, we also believe in leveling the playing field by giving all wedding photographers an opportunity to display their work and credentials. This approach empowers couples to select the photographer that best meets their needs, and also opens up opportunities for all wedding photographers. If you are a well-established wedding photographer, you can still highlight your professional memberships and years of experience, which will be prominently displayed on your SnapKnot. If you are a new photographer you have an opportunity to show off your best work and see how it compares to the veterans! With SnapKnot, all photographers have a chance to grow their business and experience, and couples can easily choose what best suits their needs.
Brides are not bombarded by hundreds of other bridal vendors or advertisements and the clean and simple design of the site allows for brides to easily evaluate the work of professional wedding photographers side by side. We don’t believe that any other wedding-related websites out there allow for such meaningful visual comparison while also being able to easily filter by location and budget range.
More than other websites, we believe that SnapKnot simply saves brides time. When using SnapKnot, brides only need to visit photographers’ websites after they know that
a) they like their style,
b) they are within their budget, and
c) they cater to their location.
No more endless Google searches.
We believe that SnapKnot helps make an otherwise stressful process much more pleasant for brides.
With the world of professional photography and videography converging, are there thoughts of possibly creating a spot for wedding videographers on SnapKnot as well?
Yes, this is something that we have been discussing. There is of course a lot of overlap between photography and videography so it’s natural to think that there might be space on SnapKnot for videography at some point in the future.
Tell me about how you’re using social networking to help SnapKnot grow.
Utilizing social networks is a key part of our business model at SnapKnot, and has been a huge factor in our ability to grow rapidly. For example, we started building our Twitter network around the 1st of this year, and have already grown our network to nearly 1000 followers. Photographers and young people who are getting married tend to be very active in social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, so being able to reach out to our target demographic is key for us. We are also utilizing Flickr to target both of these audiences through our active photostream. Overall, these networks have been fundamental to our growth, which has led to over 600 wedding photographers signing up with SnapKnot in less than 3 months.
By displaying personalized social networking icons directly on listings, SnapKnot also encourages wedding photographers to highlight and utilize their own social networks. This not only helps SnapKnot gain exposure through the Internet, but also gives wedding photographers the ability to connect to potential leads via SnapKnot within their desired social networks. So by doing our own social networking and encouraging our wedding photographers to utilize social networking, everybody ends up winning.
If I’m a wedding photographer looking to find gigs besides just through referrals and advertisements, how can SnapKnot help me find clients?
Getting back to the social networking, this is something that SnapKnot also uses to specifically help (Premium) wedding photographers find gigs. For example, we will actively promote our Premium members through Tweets, blog posts, Facebook features, and Flickr uploads. This gives Premium members a hugely valuable advantage over other photographers since they are not only getting exposure through the direct traffic that comes to SnapKnot but also through our entire social network.
Outside of the social networking, SnapKnot also works hard to help wedding photographers find gigs by driving bridal traffic to the site via other techniques such as paid Google Ads, blog post exchanges with prominent wedding bloggers, and targeted Facebook Ads. SnapKnot was also built with SEO in mind, so many wedding photographers listed on SnapKnot are already beginning to appear highly ranked on a variety of different Google searches.
Basically, SnapKnot can serve as the marketing arm for your wedding photography business so you don’t have to rely solely on referrals or other costly and time consuming forms of advertising.
Right now on SnapKnot there seems to be listings for Wedding Photographers. Has the opposite ever come up in a meeting? By that I mean Brides looking for Photographers where Photographers can present themselves to Brides?
We have discussed this possibility, but we have no plans to implement something like this anytime soon. It would complicate the functionality of site.
Some websites throw social events for their users. For example, New York Magazine recently had their Wedding Event. Do you see Snapknot doing something like that sooner or later for the purpose of networking?
Absolutely. As we grow, we are certainly interested in becoming more and more involved in these types of events. Just his past March we attended the annual WPPI conference in Las Vegas and were able to attend a number of networking events that we really benefited from. It would be wonderful to be in a position to throw a SnapKnot sponsored social event at WPPI next year or wherever else the opportunity might arise. We are also open to attending other wedding-related events as they come up, so please feel free to contact us if you think it would be valuable to have SnapKnot represented at your next event!
As a photography teacher, I encounter lots of students that want to shoot weddings. What can you offer to them: the college kid that wants to learn how to improve their craft?
Probably the biggest piece of advice for someone just getting started in the wedding photography business would be to not be afraid to ask other wedding photographers for advice. We’ve found that many photographers like to share their knowledge, and as a whole the wedding photography industry is one that supports learning and collaboration. On Flickr alone, for example, there are entire groups dedicated to providing amateurs with feedback on their work.
Someone just getting started in the wedding photography industry may simply want to ask some of the more experienced local photographers to come with them on a shoot to observe their craft, or perhaps to even be a second (or 3rd) shooter for free.
And of course, SnapKnot also offers a low-cost way for people just getting started in the business to market themselves literally next to some of the best wedding photographers in the country! We currently have at least one college student listed.