Although photo-sharing and stock sites have attracted a lot of attention for their ability to generate income for photographers, there’s another kind of website providing work and revenue for photopreneurs: dating sites.
With millions of people looking for love online — and with profiles that include photos receiving ten to fifteen times more attention than those without them — the market for photographers who can help single clients put their best face forward is huge.
And many photographers are taking advantage.
LookBetterOnline, for example, is a national network matching portrait photographers with online daters. The site serves over 6,000 cities across the USA and Canada, and is always looking for new photographers to add to its books. Customers pay $129 for a basic photo session lasting around 45 minutes and LookBetterOnline shares the fee with the photographer.
Anyone with a camera is welcome to apply to LookBetterOnline (you can shoot on location if you don’t have a studio), but the site is selective when it comes to the photographers it offers clients. An online portfolio that the site’s staff can review is a must, and it should include portrait samples too. Most importantly though, those samples should be appropriate for a dating site.
From Merav Knafo, LookBetterOnline’s co-founder:
“[A dating site photo] should look as natural as possible. It shouldn’t be staged or too artistic. The subject should be looking straight at the camera.”
That might sound a little dull, but trying to create natural-looking portraits isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when the subject isn’t a model used to being photographed. Wayne Wallace, a Las Vegas photographer who has worked with LookBetterOnline since the site started in 2001, uses conversation to create the mood and help the subject to relax. He asks clients about their lives and what they’re looking for, and uses different lights and angles to create a variety of options and looks.
Ryan Shapiro, an independent photographer who markets his dating portraits through Craigslist, Marketingtool and by word of mouth, combines chat with a radio, but also maintains eye contact during the shoot. Ryan shares this tip:
“When I am photographing my subjects, I use a remote cable shutter release. This way, as I am photographing a subject, I don’t hide my face behind the camera.”
Each shoot typically lasts about an hour, and although the quantity of work will vary according to location (with big cities clearly having more demand), it’s not unusual to do between five and ten sessions a month.
That’s a nice addition to any photographer’s workload — and it might even change someone’s life too.
[tags]Photography Business, Online Dating, Dating Services[/tags]