A new platform called ShootWith.Me wants to break down the barriers that make it difficult for photographers, assistants, and studios to connect with each other through a centralized, easy-to-navigate platform that is similar to the format popularized by Airbnb.
Philadelphia-based wedding photographer Nathan Desch started ShootWith.Me earlier in 2021 to allow those looking to be hired to create a profile, upload a portfolio, write a bio, and get listed in a way that allows other photographers or full-fledged studios to find them and access their services. Desch says that the platform really shines in how it allows users to input both their availability and rates in a searchable way.
To be clear, this platform isn’t designed to be used by clients looking to book a photographer but instead helps professionals at varying skill levels find and hire each other for already in place gigs.
“When studios log in to find help for a job, they input the date, location, and other details. Only the photographers that align with their needs show up in their search results,” Desch says. “They can review profiles and offer their job to photographers directly. There is no need for them to ‘Post’ a job or for people to comment on it that they want to accept it.”
Studios — which is the platform’s term for any business looking to hire and can also be any professional photographer — who are looking to hire associates, second shooters, or assistants often find it challenging to do so and usually rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. While these are still useful, they are limited and don’t necessarily give visibility to the best possible candidates in an area.
“We aren’t an antiquated directory or posting platform where people apply for jobs,”ShootWith.Me says. “Busy studios don’t have time for that nonsense anyway. We enable studios to search our database of local photographers who align with all of their needs for the specific job.”
The platform isn’t just for the studios, though, despite the moniker the site uses. While yes, large studios can set up profiles, anyone who is looking for help with gigs can use the platform — ShootWith.Me is designed for all levels of photography.
Assistants who have minimal experience and want to grow from pursuing photography as a hobby into something more serious can list their services so that they can work with other photographers and learn to grow their craft. More advanced photographers who have a portfolio and years of experience can choose to work as second shooters, and full-time professional photographers can either list their services to be hired by studios or use the platform to find assistants or second shooters.
Most importantly, any photographer who has booked gigs and needs assistance to complete the job can find who they’re looking for through ShootWith.Me.
ShootWith.Me is free for those looking to find someone to hire, but requires a monthly fee for photographers of varying levels to list their services. The “assistant” tier costs $8 per month, the “second shooter” tier costs $17 per month, and the “associate” tier — which is ShootWith.Me’s term for a professional photographer — runs $30 per month.
Desch says that the service has been extremely popular and receiving a lot of positive feedback in the short period of time it has been in operation. At present, ShootWith.Me is only available in a 150-mile radius around Philadelphia but has future plans to expand beyond that space.