Here’s a story that started out from pretty much a hostel room. Anubhav Tyagi and 3 of his friends were not entirely satisfied with the way photography was being taught and learnt, and so they decided to do something about it.“Photography and Travel are the most popular hobbies across the globe. There are so many professionals who do it as a weekend-getaway from their jobs and many others do it to learn new things and develop a hobby. But the most difficult part of this journey is the start itself,” quotes Anubhav.
His solution is this- Photowalkrs, a web and mobile platform that enables these hobbyists to create and/or join local meetups on photography and travel where people learn new skills by practicing them with their peers. “The objective down the line is to reach a stage where all the photowalks or any other hobby event happening in the world should be organised on photowalkrs and any interested person should be able to join the event. Also, all the events would be catalogued so that people exploring the site get maximum value,” says Anubhav.
A 2009 entrant of BITS Pilani, Anubhav has been a shutterbug for a long time now. Having learnt a lot from his club members was how the idea of Photowalkrs came up and that’s when it all began. Apart from Anubhav, the Photowalkrs team also consists of Srinidhi Chaudhary, Jalaj Jain, and Kazi Parvez Alam, all third year students at BITS, Pilani.
How Photowalkrs works
The process of organising Photowalkrs is divided into 3 parts- pre-, during and post-event activities. Pre-event activities include participants deciding on the event, sending invites etc., which can basically be done through the website.Then comes the interesting part. During the event, the Photowalkrs phone application, upon receiving the location and time from the smart-phones of the users, suggests them photos (along with the camera settings) that can be clicked at the trip. This has a very high utility as photographers get real-time information when they have cameras in their hand to execute the ideas instantly. Pretty cool, huh?
After the event, the website comes back in action and the attendees can see all the photos clicked at the event catalogued according to the participating users.
Work on setting up the website had begun last year and having gone through several updates based on user feedback, it would be released for a closed beta test this month. “The phone app would come up in the latter part of the year, since it still needs some changes and we need to make the algorithm as efficient as possible,” adds Anubhav.
Revenue Model and market size
The company would be starting out with events for people who want professional photographers to lead them on a photowalk. A photographer would be hired on a per event basis and will share his tips with the users personally. This model would also be extended to school kids, where it would be a paid event organised as a workshop in accordance with the school on a mass scale.
Another idea is organising sponsored photowalks where any brand can promote their products to the users and a professional photographer would also be present to share tips on photography. “In this case, the company would be paying for the event and customers wouldn’t be charged anything,” shares Anubhav.
The target market would be urban hobbyists, interested in either photography or travel and city exploration. Basically the market size is quite a chunk, with 20,000 groups and 2 million users who have been identified and could be considered active as per Internet standards. “Also, if we consider people who participate in these activities less frequently, the number would go upto 10-15 million,” says Anubhav.
Plus, with digital cameras getting cheaper and social media diminishing barriers for organisation of such events, the growth rate is very promising, and it certainly is a trend that is growing organically in society.
“Developing one’s own photos in a tray of chemicals is a very special experience and I had a chance to do that in my school itself, thus the love never stopped from there on and it’s just been increasing with the advent of digital photography. After I joined the photog club at BITS, Pilani, my love for photography continued to increase and with Photowalkrs now, the journey is going to be a long and happy one,” concludes Anubhav.
- Siddharth Krishnaswamy