Nice little side earner with Snapwire
I joined Snapwire a few years back when it first launched. It was a bit like Image Brief where buyers could define their requirements and photographers would submit images that met that brief. Image Brief offered some pretty good commisions, and, unfortunately I don’t think there were enough buyers willing to pay and they closed down. Snapwire offer much smaller commissions and even with that there are not many requests for specific commissions. As a new contributor to Snapwire, you need to earn your stripes by submitting to their own internal competitions (called challenges) for a chance to win $75 or so, and I think I did enough of that in the early days to earn “advanced” status!
At this level, you can be invited to submit to briefs and out of the blue I was asked if I wanted to take some food photos from local restaurants for Door Dash – the food delivery service (in the USA). It seems to work a bit like Uber where drivers can be contacted via the App to go to a specific restaurant to pick up a delivery and take it to the customer. DoorDash takes the online order, takes their commission and pays the delivery driver I think. Anyway, the task was to order food from local restaurants/sandwich shops and plate it nicely according to some very clear design and shoot guidelines and submit images of 3 meals from each restaurant. The restaurants they need are displayed on a map (you can see them under Location Requests if you are a contributor at a high enough level) and in my immediate area there were six. I applied to photograph food from the three closest to me to see how it went and was given the task. First off, an Indian restaurant where we ordered three entrees and some garlic naan bread:
We carefully plated the food and I had set up a little shoot area in my office/studio with everything set up like a production line. I had one flash in a softbox on the right, another flashgun reflecting back from a white card on the left and the camera on a tripod immediately above the food with a zoom set to around 50mm and F8. The wooden background was a section of our dining room table on a box about 12 inches from the floor. With the napkins and cutlery already in position, I simply put the food in place, focus, click and check the exposure then on to the next! Speed was essential as we wanted to enjoy the food! This image was one of my out-takes as the buyer was buying out the copyright of the images they selected.
After a bit of processing in Lightroom, the images were uploaded and within a few hours had been purchased. With that success under my belt, I applied to take images from a further 3 restaurants (in fact, all of the available ones in my immediate area) and so I have a Greek, Italian, Hawaiian style, and two sandwich shops still to go!
Is it worthwhile? For something that I treat as fun and a great way to try different foods, yes! I am given $30 for food (although the Indian food came to $42!) but for this my wife and I had a great meal at home and enough in the freezer for a second meal from this first restaurant. I’m paid $35 for the three photos of the purchased meals, which is not a lot for professional photography (and for the copyright at that!), but once I had my table top set up, each image takes only a few minutes to take and not long to process and upload. So I’m very satisfied so far.
Last night was the turn of the Hawaiian style american restaurant and we tried Kalua pig with rice and macaroni cheese and an Oriental chicken salad. Delicious! My three images of those foods have now been purchased.
There are quite a number of these DoorDash requests around the USA and a few in Canada, so if you are a contributor to Snapwire, it might be worth checking out the available requests in your own immediate area. I don’t think I would drive very far for this task, but if there are some local restaurants it sounds like a good way to eat well and earn a bit on the side. I’m hoping that as more restaurants sign up to DoorDash, there will be more opportunities to take more shots. My first images of the Indian food are already online on their App, so they do need these photos to make each restaurant look more appetizing.