Holidays for Couples chats with Sarah Pearce about her rapidly growing business Travelshoot, which offers travellers – most popularly couples and families – access to a quality network of photographers across the globe for stunning travel photos.
How long has Travelshoot been in operation?
Travelshoot has been trading for just over six months, however the network of photographers has taken almost two years to build. This is because they’ve been hand-picked and test shoots have been undertaken for all destinations!
The business got the ultimate launchpad when it won the Shark Tank Peoples Choice competition with Optus and Channel 10 a few months back – so it’s been an exhilarating start for Travelshoot!
How did you get the idea?
My husband Grant and I were in New York for the first time a couple of years ago, and during that holiday a friend of ours from home was setting up his photography business in Manhattan. He used us in a test shoot so he could have some New York samples and when he sent us the photos we were blown away! The images were really arty, urban, iconic and featured some incredibly stunning New York City skyline shots with both of us in the frame.
The photos were hands-down the best travel photos we ever had – and it was when all of my friends and family started to ask me to connect them with the same photographer that the Travelshoot idea was born. I realised it would be a really enjoyable business endeavour and rewarding in the sense that all tourists could have the same travel experience.
Can you tell us how it works?
We’ve set out to make it as easy as possible – three standard Travelshoot packages are on our website: one hour, two hour and four hour packages and they’re all the same price for each destination we cater for. Customers can find their holiday destination, pick the package that suits them best and then Travelshoot connects them with a local photographer.
After the shoot we work with the photographers to ensure the photos come back incredibly quickly. Every customer receives some sample images from their experience within 48 hours and then the full album within seven days.
Images are provided in a high resolution format via an online album to download and there are no hidden catches – customers can use their photos however they like. Our goal from day one was to make professional photography for the traveller really easy, fuss free and affordable, and of course make the experience lots of fun and unique!
Why do couples come to you?
People come to us for a number of reasons – to capture a special holiday, celebrate an anniversary, organise an engagement or honeymoon photoshoots. Plus we can also assist with connecting couples with photographers for destination weddings.
There are so many horror stories online of people having problems with destination photographers based on their quality or reliability, so one reason why people are choosing Travelshoot is because they want a destination photographer that can guarantee quality.
How do you find your photographers?
We proactively research and hand-pick photographers based on their portfolios, and then we have a long and robust process in place to interview and trial them. They also have to be fun, friendly, passionate about their home city and don’t mind providing local insights and secret tips!
What do you love about your job?
It sounds cheesy but the best bit about my job is being able to make people happy. We love the last bit of the process – the part where customers receive their photos and are blown away. My all time favourites are the people who cry happy tears when they get them back!
The other feel-good part is we have aligned with local charities in each destination such as Youngcare for Australian Travelshoots so that a donation from every shoot goes back into supporting a local cause.
When I travel I always feel guilty and extremely lucky for the luxury of being able to go on a holiday, so giving back through this business was really important to us from day one.
What is the most challenging obstacle you have overcome with Travelshoot?
Probably the time is takes to recruit a photographer because we take the process really seriously. It’s out biggest challenge but also probably our biggest benefit to our customers.
What are the most popular destinations for Travelshoot?
Definitely New York, Paris, London and Bali! New York is the clear front-runner to date, particularly couple shoots in Central Park or industrial-feel shoots around Brooklyn. That said, we’ve had a bunch of requests for Tokyo, Fiji and Hawaii lately so our network is increasing each month!
What are some of the most creative photography ideas you have seen for couples?
We have had a couple of unique requests recently like a Paris Travelshoot for a couple who are celebrating their anniversary and wanted to wear their wedding attire in the shoot in the same spot as the proposal (on the steps of the Paris Opera House which will be amazing!).
A creative concept we love is from our Fiji photographer who is famous for her ‘trash the dress’ shoot which is where brides and grooms get underwater shoots on their honeymoons in their gowns and suits!
Do you have an all-time favourite shoot?
I can’t really choose! Each week we get back amazing albums from incredible destinations. Today could be a shoot in the hills of Ubud in Bali and tomorrow could be really industrial and edgy shots from the backstreets of Brooklyn. Each shoot is awesome in its own way.
What is the most romantic place you have been with your husband?
It sounds cliché but for me nothing beats Paris. We’ve had some incredible memories there, including my favourite memory which was celebrating Christmas Day a few years back by ourselves. We had lunch in a little Parisian restaurant called Le Procope in St Germaine and the food was out of this world. Our Christmas present to ourselves was a couple nights at L’Hotel in St Germaine which is famous for being one of Paris’ most iconic and smallest boutique hotels in the city. It has a hammam pool in the basement which I would describe as a Turkish bath and steam room in a cave – which you can book for a private swim!
If you could pick one destination in the world to be photographed with your husband where would it be?
We’ve actually made a pact to try and get a Travelshoot in each city! We see all these amazing photos come back and I would love to meet all the Travelshoot photographers in person and have the same experience with all of them! I have a personal love affair with really edgy and urban shots, so probably a shoot in the back streets of London around Brick Lane would be high on the list.
Travelshoot packages start at $399 and can also cater for corporate photography needs. Visit the Travelshoot website for full details.