Photo editing app VSCO launches marketplace to connect photographers with brands

Photo editing app VSCO launches marketplace to connect photographers with brands

Working with brands is one of the primary ways artists and content creators can earn substantial income today. However, it’s not easy for creators to connect with brands, and companies looking for new or specialized talent also have a difficult time finding them. Photo editing app VSCO is trying to solve this problem for its primary audience, professional photographers, with a new marketplace called VSCO Hub that aims to connects them with brands.

VSCO’s platform is similar to other social platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, which already offer creator marketplaces to help businesses discover content creators and strike partnerships with them.

VSCO’s CEO, Eric Wittman, who joined the company last September, equates the new portal to LinkedIn. “The VSCO Hub is almost like LinkedIn. Brands act as recruiters, and they can easily find someone for their projects and connect with them,” he told TechCrunch over a call.

To get access to VSCO Hub, photographers will have to sign up for the $59.99 Pro plan, which has more than 160,000 subscribers. For businesses, the platform offers filters like location, category, price, and availability that they can use to narrow down their search for photographers.

The platform has a cool marquee feature, too: It allows creative directors to upload a reference image and search for photographers who might have similar work in their portfolios.

VSCO doesn’t take a cut from the project payments and just acts as a connection layer.

Wittman blames social network algorithms for the lack of discoverability in the photography community, saying marketers spend many hours on Google or Instagram trying to find photographers whose work matches their creative vision.

“Because of how social networks have changed themselves and their algorithms, it is really hard for photographers to get discovered by potential clients. We saw the need of our photography community and decided to build VSCO Hub,” he said.

VSCO is also looking to bolster its search with AI. Wittman said the company is internally testing a way for brands to enter text queries and find images through semantic search, and this feature will make it to the platform soon. VSCO also plans to add more filters to help companies narrow down their searches.

Wittman and VSCO’s stance on the use of AI is similar to a lot of other platforms: The technology will be used to help artists, not replace them. The CEO said his company is looking to release more AI-powered tools to assist photographers in their workflows.

Notably, tools like Sequoia-backed Visual Electric and Facetune maker Lighttrick’s LTX Studio help artists with ideation and focus on workflows. Wittman believes that ideation — not production — is where creatives will look to hone AI’s prowess more.

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