By Lauren Keyson and Sarah Grieco
Edward Brooks is a Scottish-born founder and CEO of the photography startup Snapped. He has made New York his home mostly because he believes that the greatest thing about NY is that it’s such a small, compact place and that people can get things done very quickly. That is part and parcel of his vision — to be able to make great photography available to everyone quickly. He believes that while there are lots of iPhones and selfie sticks everywhere, at the end of the day people love great photographs.
Edward Brooks: All we do is take a very difficult process and make it simple for everyone else to use. You pick a photographer; the photographer turns up, shoots the photographs and then within a few hours you get a hard copy. We started doing testing in December 2015 and proved that we could get the entire process down to a few minutes — with live updates of the photographs even while the event is taking place. We’ve been able to get deliveries of hard copies of the photographs in a matter of a few hours. What we really want to do is make the process slicker and slicker.
LK: So tell me about how you came up with your idea. Was it all of a sudden or did someone come up to you and say, “You know it would be great if you did this?”
EB: You know, I looked at my personal experiences. I had a past of trying to find a photographer for a kid’s birthday party or special event and I’ve talked to people about their experiences as professional photographers. I heard some of the worst stories. I just worked off the fact that photography is a bit of a blank process. You don’t know where the start and the end point is.
When you find a photographer you don’t know if he is any good. You can search on Google for hours until you find the right person. But even when you find the right photographer you don’t really know when you’re going to get the photograph. It could be the next day or the next week. It’s all very vague. I just thought we could make this process really, really easy. It’s actually very easy to market it to you without ever talking to a photographer before. So if people are spending money on kid’s birthday party, it’s a no-brainer just to add a photographer on top of that. You’re going to get quick results to share with family and friends who are spread all over the world. It’s a really easy, personal experience.
People also look for photographs for their start-up businesses, like getting your LinkedIn profile updated. It’s an established market. There’s no go-to brand you turn to saying “Oh let’s go to these guys because they’ll guarantee you will get a great photographer.”
Then there was the matter of funding to worry about after we got the process down and proved traction. In the short term, it’s all about volume. The biggest stumbling point was just getting started. We could have done this a year ago, but other problems came up. Thankfully, once we started other opportunities began to open up. Even in the last couple of months, a lot of unexpected opportunities came up. It’s been incredible.