I was first invited to using the UrbanClap App a while ago (think it was nearly a year ago?)
I was in a ‘what the hell’ moment, so I downloaded the app and shared my relevant information with them and got started. The process was pretty simple – you’d to share a few of your photographs with them and they’d do the set up for you.
Now, I’m picky about the shoots I take up, especially wedding, maternity and baby shoots. There are several factors that go into it, but I try not to do more than 2-3 shoots in a month – commercially.
UrbanClap got tons of enquiries in the early days. There would be an average of 3-4 enquiries for weddings or baby shoots per day. That’s quite high when you consider I’d limited myself only to Bangalore – this was also because UrbanClap’s settings didn’t allow me to choose more than one city. Something to do with geographical mapping stuff.
UC’s settings allowed a maximum of 5 responses to a query initially, and then for some, I think it was 8. (Yes, my memories are a little vague on the numbers). I take a couple of hours to respond to a query and most often than not, the queries were filled by the time I got to it.
Here’s the first strange thing I noticed: People were quoting as low as INR 5,000 for a baby shoot where the client had asked for an album alongside the shoot. They quoted as low as INR 20,000 for wedding shoots.
Now, not being a snob, but in my general experience, quality comes at a price. Most of the photographers I know and work with are really wonderful, and while they don’t price outrageously, they are on the higher end.
But hey! its all fair in business, right?
UC began charging for these leads (as expected! They need to make money too!) It started off with 3 credits per lead (each credit costs 10 rupees), then it was 10 and now it is at 12 credits per lead. From what I see on the app, it will eventually go up to 40 credits per lead.
The Second Thing: Since UC has begun charging for their leads, I see only 2-3 people responding to the queries. Quite often, these quotes are quite low… in the range of INR 5,000 – 8,000.
Obviously, we don’t want to pay for leads that may or may not come through. Especially, when you are competing with hundreds of other photographers in your area.
UC does have a chat function but I’ve never seen anyone respond to the chats I’ve sent.
Having a few spare minutes, I did the math:
Assuming you manage to land one query worth INR 10,000 after responding to about 15 queries, you’ve spent 180 credits on these responses (not including the time and effort). That’s 18 percent of your overall fee. You take in other expenses, which is anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent of the fee, you end up earning just about 50% of your quoted fee, around 5 grand.
I’m subscribed to several exclusive platforms, where I get curated leads and the math worked out much better.
For the record, I’ve rejected two of the leads, which might have converted, simply because the client’s requirements did not suit the budget.
Have you used UC as a photographer? What has been your experience?