Every now and again, a freelancer hits on a trend and carves a clever business niche for themselves.
When we came across Yoram, we were intrigued. A freelance photographer focused solely on taking snaps for dating hopefuls needed a portrait that will stand out from the crowd?
It’s a tall ask these days. In the era of swipe right and you’re missed, a portrait with a difference is vital. But Yoram’s business is growing quickly. He’s now got Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane covered, and is thinking about branching out into other states. The world is his oyster.
We asked Yoram a bit about his business, and here’s what he told us:
Q: What’s the name of your business and what service do you offer/in what areas of the country?
A: Swipe Photography specialises in shooting dating profiles for those who use online dating, from dating apps through to matchmaking. We have photographers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Q: What prompted you to move your hobby into a fully-fledged freelance business, and what were you doing for work before this?
A: I decided to transition into a business after one year doing this as a side hustle. A photographer doing one style is quite rare, and as a dating photographer I had no idea if there was really a market for it. The transition comes from a combination of getting ongoing referrals, and a significant increase in website traffic. My work as a photographer prior to this was minimal, coming from a background in dance, fitness, and running a production company with a primary focus on teen celebrity entertainment.
Q: What was the process of setting up as a freelancer like for you? What advice do you have for others on this process and what you learned along the way?
A: With a photography business, start up costs can be low, depending on what it is you are shooting. The essentials are website, logo and camera gear. For myself the breakdown was: Camera $2500. Lens $2000. Lighting $5000. Website $25 monthly. Logo $70. To build a dating folio initially I photographed friends, and also did some paid shoots.
I created my website in Squarespace. Do it yourself design, and quite amazing live customer service. As a photography business, with the focus being images, no more is needed. Any sort of extras such as coding I then used Upwork. Upwork has it’s pros and cons. Fantastic for web help, and my logo, yet not overly great outside of that.
I have tried every aspect on there, and wasted a lot of money. This includes PR, marketing, re-marketing, and SEO. I have only recently implemented SEO, with tools such as SEM rush, and employing someone as a one off to optimise my site. My rankings on Google have always been quite high.
Tips: KISS. (Keep it simple stupid). At the start I thought more was better. The $5000 spent on artificial lighting wasn’t needed. Dating photography is best kept quite raw. Today my best photos come from using an on camera flash. $129.
From a branding perspective, I wanted to be known as the cool and edgy photographer, so the website was done up with 5 different colours. Rookie mistake, looking super amateurish. Don’t use more than 2-3 colours, as visitors will bounce.
If you want PR, marketing and so on, I have already noticed that The Freelance Collective has a super talent bank of people on there. Wish I knew of it sooner. Nina who founded the site is super helpful.
Q: How are your clients currently finding you, and what marketing are you planning on doing?
A: Everything to date has mostly been organic, with a high percentage coming through Gumtree. $29 a fortnight on there, and as mentioned referrals. It is only now, that I have started using social media, and Pinterest is my most popular platform. With a goal to expand on with Swipe, marketing moving forward will include location based, as well as more social media.
Q: What do you charge for this service, and how much demand has there been for what you do?
A: A 2-look photoshoot is $300. 3 looks $400. 4 looks $500. Looks (change of outfit and often location) are based on what someone feels is needed in their current profile.
Online dating is a growing industry. It’s one of the reasons for the increase in web traffic. In relation to Swipe, a lot of emphasis has been placed on building a good reputation. I believe it is second to none for for our growth, and for any business to succeed.
Q: What statistics or information do you have about the growth of the dating market in Australia ie: How big is your potential target market?
A: There isn’t a a lot of current insight based on the growth of dating in Australia, with the U.S. and the U.K. being the main focus studies. In saying that, Bumble which is an Australian app, run by Whitney Wolf Heard (previously with Tinder, and doubling it’s revenue in 2018), has seen numbers build quite substantially, to now pass 1 million downloads in Australia.
The inclusion of running events now off of the app, is something that is likely to be incorporated across all online platforms sooner than later. Keep your on eyes on Facebook, as a dating app which has slowly been rolling out.
Gender ratio for online 2018. 40% Female : 60% Male (average worldwide)
Q: What are some of the worst examples of profile pics you’ve seen out there on the world wide web?
A: Lol, it’s a bit of an endless answer. One of the most popular is group photos. Anywhere from 5- 7 people, where everyones head is either cut off or blurred out apart from yours. Looking amazing with the ex boy or girlfriend featured, has always been a nice touch. Compromising positions, with one to many drinks will also be coming soon to an X rated app.
Q: What advice would you have for people looking to have a professional profile pic taken on what to do/not to do?
A: At the of the day you need to be you. Don’t be influenced on what works for someone else as it may not work for you. Smiling is a huge win if you are over 30 years of age. Take care of your appearance, and make a fashion statement. There is a reason #fashion on instagram has over 670 million. Spend a moment in front of the mirror. Front on, right, then left. How are you best portrayed, what is your better side? Get a dog! You know the deal.
Don’t appear trashy, or overdo makeup. Dating photos are not glamour shots, are yes people notice. Once you get the photos back be wary of applying filters. No sunnies, or caps. What are you hiding? Hats can work if it fits the occasion. Oaks Day, Coachella, Festivals. Remember that dating photos are supposed to be natural. Shots done in a studio are likely to go against you.
Q: What’s sets you apart from other photographers out there?
A: All professional photographers can take nice photos. A dating photographer however should also know the industry very well. At Swipe we know what does and doesn’t work, from ongoing feedback from our clients from day one, and staying up to date. If on a dating app what is making someone else swipe right or left, what are the current trends, photos taken based on age making a big difference, and analysing current profiles to develop a strategy so you can increase matches.
The only goal of the person coming to us, is to increase matches, and also finding a potentially amazing partner. It’s our job to do that. I have recently written a piece on “How to create the best dating profile photos” on the Swipe photography site.
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