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This article was published on November 10, 2020

Meet the photography scaleup helping brands go digital

Meet the photography scaleup helping brands go digital Image by: BOOM (edited)

BOOM Image Studio aims to be the Amazon of commercial photography — by attempting to develop the world’s most efficient digital content logistics and fulfillment system, and delivering global online businesses visual assets on-demand.

Founded in January 2018, the Italian startup currently serves 80 countries through its network of more than 35,000 professional photographers across the globe. “We want to rewrite the future of commercial photography,” Federico Mattia Dolci, BOOM CEO and founder told TNW.

The three co-founders, Federico Mattia Dolci, Giacomo Grattirola, and Jacopo Benedetti — an engineer, an economist, and a philosopher, respectively — started BOOM to meet their own needs as freelance photographers who aspired to work for household brands but had no access to a tech-enabled, digitized platform.

Traditional commercial photography just isn’t cutting it

BOOM recognized a major digital supply-and-demand gap — countless internet-based giants were changing the way people shopped online, and uploading billions of pictures on their websites and platforms every day. But these same brands had no access to a content provider that could keep up with a scaled-up, global, fast-paced environment.

The company recognized that commercial photography has historically been expensive, resource-intensive, and time-consuming for companies and photographers. It’s not only about taking and delivering photos — it involves managing clients and schedules, ensuring photos follow brand guidelines, and maintaining consistency, especially for brands targeting a certain look and feel for their visuals regardless of location, like Airbnb, for example.

“Today, businesses have to digitize overnight with high-quality visuals to stand out from a crowded marketplace,” Dolci says. “We viewed it as an opportunity – it was the right time, and we were in the right position to answer those needs. Whether it’s one photoshoot or a thousand, or whether it is in Chicago, London, or Sydney, we could guarantee speed, efficiency, consistency, and quality. This is the power of our Order System. It’s the beginning of a complete innovation of the creative and photographic industry.”

In response, the company has built a tech-heavy, resilient system that pairs global marketplaces with the right photographers; and manages every element of a shoot seamlessly anytime, anywhere, and without compromising brand identity or consistency across markets.

Turning commercial photography into a seamless process

With the help of its in-house researchers and developers, BOOM creates a seamless process for both photographers and global businesses, by streamlining the entire photoshoot lifecycle, delivering post-produced content compliant with brand guidelines, anywhere in the world. The company doesn’t just facilitate photoshoots; clients can also book videographers, drone pilots, designers, and other creative assets.

The tech is built around a proprietary plug & play platform the ‘Order System’ and reduces effort across the digital ecosystem from booking to delivery. It enables clients to order as many photoshoots as they require in a few steps, and have them delivered in just 24-hours – no advanced technical skills needed.

BOOM leverages AI in post-production, editing thousands of pictures like a professional editor in seconds, ensuring consistency across all images, and in doing so, tackling the hardest problems of Computer Vision: Instance Segmentation, Object Recognition, and Image-to-Image translation.

“Utilizing AI, the photos we post-produce all meet the same high-quality standards, which is vital for the food and real estate industries since they almost always have existing photos that already match some of the requirements,” Dolci says. “We even have an algorithm that removes the background for pictures, which is useful for e-commerce brands that want photos that focus solely on the product.”

Helping brands go digital in the midst of a pandemic

With online businesses becoming an essential lifeline during the pandemic, BOOM focused on doubling down and providing efficient solutions for companies in need of a new digital offer. Businesses that approached BOOM included restaurants looking to offer takeaway and delivery services, real estate vendors, and even players in the fashion industry looking for a way to market their products online.

Dolci says: “We launched into 22 new countries during the lockdown, and our team of 70, which spans 18 languages continues to grow. The pandemic encouraged BOOM to double down and serve businesses moving their core products online overnight. 2020 might well be a catalyst for the sector.”

Innovation is key in a digital world

Looking to its future, BOOM intends to offer its services in 140 countries globally, including a larger presence in Asia and Latin America. Meanwhile, when it comes to the future of commercial photography, BOOM envisions technology enabling more automation and connection, making innovation vital for the $80B per annum industry.

The tech firm has experienced 400% growth year-on-year, and its network of photographers has already processed over three million images for global clients including Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Oyo, and GetYourGuide in 80+ countries, averaging one photoshoot a minute.

We are on a mission to develop the world’s most efficient system by turning the traditional photographic industry model on its head,” says Dolci, “We need to keep moving and keep innovating to adapt to the new ways of working, new ways of buying, and the new habits of consumers and their ever-changing needs. The size of the opportunity is exciting, but it’s not about winning. It’s about designing something lasting, where there was nothing before. Our mantra is taking care of the people, the product, and the profits — in that order.”

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