You’re on an amazing vacation – only problem, you forgot to pack a photographer. A selfie stick will just not do

You’re on an amazing vacation – only problem, you forgot to pack a photographer. A selfie stick will just not do

Shoot My Travel, a Miami-based travel-tech startup, to the rescue.

Founded in 2015 by Valerie Lopez and Camilo Rojas, Shoot My Travel connects travelers with professional photographers in 250 destinations worldwide. Its mission is to provide professional vacation photos to be treasured forever.

When Lopez shared her concept with her mother for the first time, her mom produced a stack of 1986 photos from a Rome vacation. Her father, who died before Lopez was born, would hire a professional photographer for vacations, long before digital photography and over-sharing on Instagram.

Lopez took that as a sign.

Shoot My Travel was launched in 2015. How it works: Users of or its app browse destinations, choose a photographer and book a package. They can chat with the photographer and set up logistics through the app too. They’ll receive their professional photos within 48 hours, suitable for sharing of course.

Now a team of four, the bootstrapped startup makes money through commissions on the package price, which varies by location – in Miami it starts at $195 – and also a cut from sales of photos that are ordered beyond the number that comes with the package selected.

Business – and press coverage – revved up in 2016. And 2017? “Last year was a great year for us when it comes to growth,” Lopez said. “We upscaled the business, we got a lot of traction, and we did 300 percent more business than the year before.”

“It was like a snowball effect for us,” she continued, citing referral business, returning customers, an iOS launched in 2017, favorable social media trends and a new Shoot My Travel newsletter priming the pump. While the app separated Shoot My Travel from the pack as far as providing seamless customer experiences, “the newsletter was a great way of educating clients on how relevant we are,” she said.  

Today, Shoot My Travel is in 250 cities in 80 countries and offers more than 500 photographers. Lopez, a photographer herself, said the startup typically receives 100 applications a day from photographers but vets and selects only about 10 percent of them.

“We try not to choose the typical. We want cool and adventurous and playful — photographers that offer a different angle of the city.”

Most requested destination? That would be Kyoto, Japan. Most unusual or exotic? Perhaps Valletta, Malta and Yervan, Armenia, said Lopez. “But all of them are beautiful. We get goose bumps every time we receive the pictures and send them out to travelers.”

Lopez is now participating in a 6-month-long travel-tech accelerator offered by Expedia, and London and Partners. She hopes the program will help her with one of her current biggest challenges: Finding the right investor.

Shoot My Travel is initially trying to raise about $700,000 to fund its technology and growth, Lopez said. “That would really get us out there.”

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