Professional photography for the every day event-goer.
Pixsle is a new and innovative mobile application that is the link between professional photographers and their clients. The application allows photographers to directly send their captured photos to the correct client using facial recognition. Similar to how Uber works (a driver and a passenger app) Pixsle is composed of two separate apps (a photographer and a client) that work cohesively to provide event-goers with their candid moments.
Just an idea
The premise behind Pixsle was born in 2016 when I was in Traverse City, Michigan. Atop the 25th floor inside a beautiful hotel and resort, my girlfriend and I sat eating breakfast after a great weekend on the water. The view from our table was of a gorgeous landscape of winery grape leave crops and the backdrop of the Traverse City Bay. At a table across from me sat a father and his child. The child was on his lap and they both were fiddling around impatiently with their silverware as they waited for the bill. The child began to put a spoon on the father’s nose and noticed if he pushed hard enough, it would stick for a few seconds before dropping to the father’s lap. This got a good laugh out of both of them. It was cute, alright? This continued for a couple of minutes and I found myself intrinsically laughing along like a creep from across the restaurant.
I suddenly thought, “If I had a photo of that moment, they would buy it.” The idea for Pixsle was born.
This was the first app I’d ever attempted to develop, so basically I had no idea what I was doing. Like any project, I needed to start small. I figured I’d begin with a rough wireframe mockup. I printed out blank phone templates and started sketching the layout. I began to visualize the app and formulate how I wanted it to function.
Once the pages had their shape, I sent the layout to a graphic designer overseas. The price was $700. This felt steep, especially for a broke college kid. This was just the beginning of my expenses. Naive and driven by this dream, I released the down payment of $175 and gave the designer the green light. A week later he sent back the pages. They were not what I had in mind.
To be fair, he did a pretty good job. I suppose I’m just picky or the designer didn’t specialize in reading people’s minds. I realized that it would take a little more effort on my part to portray the vision I had for the app. To give the designer a better idea of what I expected, I sat down and recreated my vision in Adobe Illustrator. Having no experience with this Adobe app, I struggled through even the simplest of functions. It was tedious, frustrating, and time-consuming. I had finished a rudimentary mockup after about a week of drawing. I felt confident that this would clarify what was expected.
It worked! After sending the file Illustrator file to the designer it seemed that we were finally on the same page. He sent back some great pages and expanded on the foundation I had laid out. This got me excited. The app was taking shape. Only one problem… How in the world do I program this?
I had no idea how hard finding a programmer would be. When dealing with programmers, I often withdrew important details about my app to reduce the probability that they’d steal my idea. I was full of anxiety. I wanted to select the correct programmer, but how can I do that if I don’t disclose exactly what I need them to do? I often found myself in this odd predicament caught between high anxiety and optimism. Trust and honesty seemed to be a currency that was hard to find and even if I did find it, how would I actually know? After all, all the programmers I talked to were across the world. They didn’t care about a stupid American trying to make a dream a reality. Right?
I often found myself talking to friends but still made them sign an NDA (like an idiot). Back then I only wished I had someone to help guide me through the app development process. Someone to aid in decision making, correct me when I was being too paranoid, and keep my idea on track. In other words, I needed a friend with experience in this field. (Sounds like separate opportunity to develop a business that specializes in app consulting doesn’t it?)
Here is my unsolicited opinion in case anyone out there reading this is wondering.
1. Keep it simple.
You’ll have these large, expansive ideas regarding all the features that you want in the app. Quell those thoughts. Think very, very simple. Will the app actually work? Focus on that. Develop something simple, yet functioning.
2. No one is going to steal your idea.
Good ideas are just too much work and 99% of the population will never execute on it. I’m telling you. Don’t waste your energy being paranoid. The more people you tell will actually be better – you can get feedback!
3. Cheaper is not always better.
Let me explain. Wasting time on an $8/hr programmer overseas will be death by a thousand cuts. Sure, they’ll get your app somewhat functioning. They’ll do the easy stuff. They’ll also write your code in a language that is hard to debug and practically impossible to expand on. Then, they’ll run into a large problem, one that is beyond their abilities, and they’ll dance around it portraying the illusion of progress. You’ll spend weeks trying to get them to correct what needs to be done and you’ll go a little crazy wondering if it’s a communication barrier or if they’re screwing you out of money. It’s the latter. Go with this – find someone that is around $20/hr. Talk to them, make sure you can communicate and confirm that they understand your idea. Build a relationship and break down your app into small portions. Let them chew on these problems and see how they perform. Hopefully, they will live up to your expectations and you can relinquish your entire app idea to them in good faith. And what is too expensive? Well, you tell me, can you afford a programmer for $200/hr? If you can, I’d like to talk to you about an app I’m building.
The moral of the story is, I spent around $10,000 on a programmer that did nothing for me. He wasted my time and looking back on it now, I can’t believe I stuck it out. It was a mess. I then decided enough was enough, dropped his contract, and started with a new programmer. I’ve been with him ever since. His name is Fahad. We have worked through countless issues, had tense conversations regarding payment, and shared a few laughs. It’s been a great experience. As of May 2020, Pixsle is on the verge of going live in venues. I’ve worked through 90% of the bugs, figured out how to reduce computing costs to ensure profitability, and enhanced the signup process. We’ve switched face-scanning technologies at least 4 times and have rewritten the code from scratch twice (thanks to my awesome *sarcasm* initial programmer). I’m happy where we’ve ended up, even if the app never makes me a dollar.
So here it is…
Imagine this –
You go out with your friends at a sporting event. Your team scores and everyone leaps from their seats in excitement and celebration. When you return to your seat, you hear a faint chime from your pocket; you’ve got a candid photograph of that very moment, arms raised in victory, to download and share, all without missing a second of the action.
My aim by developing this application was to disrupt the crowded, confusing, outdated, and over-priced photography market while paving the way for a new era of instantaneous memories. Instead of finding their own photographers, Pixsle users will create a profile using their social media accounts. In doing so, the users are able to receive photos directly from any Pixsle photographer. Users can view locations where Pixsle Photographers are present and use this information to select which venue they’d like to attend. On-site, the only job users have is to enjoy their evening. Pixsle photographers will seek out perfect candid moments, and of course, allow the option to take requested staged photos as well. Using facial recognition, Pixsle users will receive their photos in real-time with the ability to purchase, share, or download.
In an era inundated with selfies, Boomerangs, Snapchats, and Instagram Stories, Pixsle provides the unique opportunity to give users true candid moments with the impeccable quality that only professional photographers can deliver. Event-goers are often given a choice – capture the moment or enjoy the experience. I say both. Pixsle allows users to live their lives unplugged. Whether it be a bar, music festival, cruise, or family trip to Disney Land, Pixsle believes in a place where memories are made, pictures are perfect, and people are present.