Photo-sharing startup uses cutting-edge technology that lets your photos find you.
Tampa-based startup SpotMyPhotos has a reputation for extending the frontiers of photo industry technology. The photo-sharing platform allows professional photographers to share photos with those photographed anytime using "cloud-spotting" software.
The technology effectively eliminates the lengthy wait times between event and photo availability. It enables users to receive and share photographs of themselves on the spot. SpotMyPhotos also offers event coordinators and photographers unprecedented control over photo sharing.
SpotMyPhotos generated excitement upon introducing their WiFi SD cards capable of pairing with cell phones. The same day this functionality went live, Canon invited SpotMyPhotos to work with their engineering team. Two months later, the pair debuted the first-ever cloud-enabled Canon SLR camera at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Today, the capability to stream through SpotMyPhotos is available within any recently released Canon camera model.
Since its launch, SpotMyPhotos has made quite an impression through its network of photographer licenses. Leading brands like Microsoft and Google have featured the photosharing technology at company events.
“Sharing photos on our phones is quick and easy” says founder and CEO Ryan Jacobs. “Similarly, we’ve combined even photography with instant gratification, and people love it.”
Along with his trailblazing team of developers and engineers, Jacobs created the world’s first private automated photo sharing platform.
How SpotMyPhotos Works
You may be one of the hundreds of thousands that have seen SpotMyPhotos in action. Maybe you even recognize the tell-tale wristband photographers wear to share the photos at events.
The process is simple:
- First, a photographer shoots your picture at an event.
- Next, the attendees register once with the photographer. They may provide a phone number or email where they can receive the photos.
- Finally, they receive a link to their personalized gallery. The platform automatically updates a user's private gallery with photos in which they are “spotted.” The platform even works with multiple photographers present at an event.
“We believe that there is a time value to photos,” Jacobs explains. “You don't want your photos three days later, you want your photos right away. The same goes for event hosts intent on putting photos to work as quickly as possible.”
The technology stands to create a new industry standard for event planners and photographers. Event planners can add custom branding to the photos or enable live printing at their event. Photographers could theoretically send the photos in real-time to an editor, minimizing turnaround time for big events like weddings.
SpotMyPhotos found success by listening to its users. In addition, it has developed a strong culture of collaboration. To cultivate efficiency and accuracy, Jacobs sent his software developers into the field with photographers. Developers had the chance to watch the product in action and gain a practical understanding of the technology. The process resulted in a seamless user experience.
Jacobs worked alongside Ph.D. students at the University of Michigan and engineers from Northwestern's Machine Learning Department to refine the technology SpotMyPhotos uses today.
An Emphasis on Privacy and Safety
SpotMyPhotos prides itself on protecting the privacy of its users. Users must opt-in to allow the facial recognition software to help generate personalized photo galleries. Each user then has instant control over whether to share the photo.
As privacy policies evolve alongside biometric capabilities, SpotMyPhotos has spearheaded privacy-first solutions that maintain a seamless user experience. To navigate increasingly strict biometric privacy laws in states like Illinois, engineers at SpotMyPhotos had initially turned to non-biometric pattern recognition. Using everything except for facial recognition, SpotMyPhotos was able to discern between individuals at small-sized events with reasonable success. However, using non-biometric pattern recognition alone carried significant challenges. Combined, the two technologies offer unparalleled accuracy when it comes to spotting users.
The initial use of pattern recognition technology methodologies proved to have other unforeseen advantages for SpotMyPhotos as well.
As masking became the norm in the pandemic, facial recognition software everywhere seemed to falter. Companies like Facebook and Apple that relied on facial recognition as part of their design suddenly ran into trouble as faces disappeared behind masks.
SpotMyPhotos, however, was better equipped to circumvent the problem. Combining the use of non-biometric and biometric recognition, the SpotMyPhotos platform can recognize masked individuals. As a result, photographers do not have to ask people to remove their masks in order to be spotted, so everyone stays safe.
On July 22, 2020, in response to pandemic hardships, SpotMyPhotos paired up with Headshot Booker to leverage an army of 200 photographers. Togethers, the team provided complimentary professional headshots to unemployed Americans in a single-day initiative. Brookfield Properties joined and furnished space across the country for pop-up headshot studios within ther malls. The 10,000 Headshots Initiative received national attention, and Jacobs has discussed plans to continue the initiative this year.
Where It's Headed
SpotMyPhotos is constantly solving problems, pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and is hiring.
“We are seeking developers that are curious, passionate, and collaborative to help bring to life photo sharing technologies of the future.”
As SpotMyPhotos expands, the startup approaches exciting new challenges. Among these, Jacobs mentions greater collaboration with industry partners and enabling greater access within international markets.
There's also the inevitable rise of augmented reality. The beginnings are there in Snapchat filters and photo booth effects, but developers have only begun to tap the surface of what is to come. Jacobs believes that ultimately, AR will be something we can’t imagine living without. He envisions a place using AR to marry photo and video content with other associated information.
“We have a unique solution to deliver content this is more relatable to people than what we're currently seeing with AR,” Jacobs says. “We're focused on scaling the delivery of what we still see as today’s most engaging content - photos of yourself with friends and family.