Bunker Labs Chicago

Jarek Hamilton and Qikpix are Revolutionizing the Professional Photo Industry

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There are currently $33 billion in annually booked photo shoots in the United States. The photography industry hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Qikpix was built to revolutionize the industry with leading technology that streamlines the entire process from booking to photo editing.

Bunker Labs Stories | Jarek Hamilton from Bunker Labs on Vimeo.

Qikpix is an on-demand photography service that offers $99/hour photo shoots and professional editing for just $1.50/photo. The company was started in late 2015 by Navy veteran Jarek Hamilton and his photographer wife, Katie Hamilton. So far, the startup has recruited 150 photographers around the US and reports 600 downloads of its app, resulting in 130 photo shoots. In 2016, Qikpix raised $76,000 in a seed round of funding from an angel investor. In December, Katie quit her nursing job to work full-time on the company alongside Hamilton.

The company currently specializes in lifestyle type shoots. These include family photos, engagement sessions, headshots, small, medium, and large events, product shoots, fresh 48 photos, and various other special moments.

After a photographer claims the customer’s photo shoot and completes the work, all unedited photos are uploaded into the customer’s album within 24 hours. Customers then choose which photos they would like edited for only $1.50/photo. The requested photos are then uploaded into their album within 12 hours.

Qikpix customers own a shared copyright for their photos and receive a print release form following each completed shoot. This part of the process allows customers to have their photos printed with any service of their choosing.

“We are adamant about not up-selling our customer base, we wanted to create a process that was sustainable for photographers while providing photo shoot and editing services for customers that cost 1/5th the national average,” Qikpix CEO Jarek Hamilton explained.

Highly-Vetted Photographers Are The Key To Qikpix’s Success

“We currently accept only 13% of photographers who apply to work with our platform,” Hamilton said.

The vetting process to become a Qikpix photographer is rigorous. Every single photographer must submit links to their portfolio and provide the company with the type of camera and lenses they use for their shoots.

A “board of photographers” examine each photographer’s work and then browse the web to find their Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other reviews. A majority vote determines if the photographer makes the cut.

Once onboard photographers work within their areas of specialty. “That ensures every single customer receives a highly qualified photographer who understands how to create the best possible photos for the type of work requested,” says co-founder and professional photographer Katie Hamilton.

150 Photographers In Chicago And Growing

The company’s official web, iOS, and Android apps launched early this year but the company has already accepted 100 photographers in the Chicagoland area.

“The outreach from photographers on an organic level has been mindblowing,” says Jarek.

With nearly 1,000 applications from area photographers and more flooding in every day, the company’s founder a and team of 14 have been working around the clock to develop a sustainable system that ensures every customer shoot is claimed.

“We’ve covered corporate events, a lacrosse match, family photos, headshots, and various other photo shoots in the Chicago and Chicagoland areas. We are always looking for new ways to challenge ourselves to develop more photo shoot types and expand our market share,” Jarek said.