Taking photography from a passion to a profession is challenging. It takes time and practice to develop the right eye, and cameras aren’t exactly cheap. And even with all those boxes checked, finding work can still be a challenge.
Fautus aims to solve that problem. The Chicago startup lets users schedule a photographer on demand. But unlike many gig economy companies, Fautus wants to ensure its workers earn a living wage.
Our goal is to build a business model where photographers make as much as possible.”
“Our goal is to build a business model where photographers make as much as possible,” founder Luis Almaraz said. “The average photographer on Fautus makes $20 to $30 an hour.”
On Fautus, users request photographers to shoot “moments,” which are designed to be quick and casual photo shoots that typically take place at tourist hotspots. Users can pick from three photographer skill levels, ranging from hobbyists to professionals, all of whom are required to shoot with a DSLR camera to ensure a base level of quality.
After finishing a shoot, photographers upload their photos directly into the Fautus app. Users purchase individual photos within the app, with prices ranging from $1 to $3 per photo, depending on the photographer’s skill level.
Users are not required to purchase photos, but they do pay an upfront fee for scheduling a moment, which ranges from $1.29 to $3.29. Fautus takes a 20 percent cut of all transactions.
“People typically purchase multiple moments and photos, sometimes as many as 24 pictures at once,” said Almaraz. “A lot of photographers are willing to make $1 for 10 minutes of work because they know that the next 10 minutes they can make $20.”
Almaraz was a corporate lawyer for 15 years before founding Fautus. He developed the idea after noticing that his travel photos didn’t capture the memories he was making.
“I’ve always loved photography, but the problem is that I often end up taking horrible pictures,” Almaraz said. “I travel alone and want to be able to capture my memories with quality and precision. Fautus does that. It does what a selfie can’t.”
The majority of Fautus’ users and photographers are in Chicago, although the app is also live in Los Angeles and Miami. Fautus has a team of 10 and is based in the Merchandise Mart.