If you’ve ever cringed at the sight of people snapping self portraits with their cell phones in front of landmarks, you may consider literally taking matters into your own hands. It’s an idea that seems so obvious that it’s surprising no one has tried to capitalize on it until now: taking photos of tourists and selling them the prints.
Launched in September, Candidtag.com, does just that. The site is run by aspiring photographer Matt Wolin, and so far more than 100 photographers from 35 states have signed up, covering US cities such Austin, Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Nashville. The idea of hanging around landmarks and snapping photos of tourists in hopes of making a buck isn’t exactly new (especially if you’ve ever been to an amusement park) but the site is unique in its approach.
Photographers sign up with the site, set out to take photos, tourists receive a card with a code number on it, and later, they can view the images online and decide if any of the prints are worth buying. Images can only be accessed using the code number to protect the subject’s privacy. If they decide to buy an image, they have the choice of buying a print or a digital copy.
While the idea has promise, there’s room for improvement: Candidtag doesn’t vet the portfolios of its photographers, meaning anyone with a camera can sign up, so the image quality isn’t guaranteed to be any better than asking a stranger to snap your photo using your point and shoot. There’s also no for a traveler to hire someone’s services through the site, tourists just have to hope they’ll run into a photographer.