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Meet Jennifer Tsay of Shoott

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Tsay.

Jennifer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have a background in investment banking and strategic finance and I am also a working actor so about ten years ago, while I was still new to acting and trying to figure out career balance, I was trying to figure out my day job and I applied on craigslist to work as an admin at a startup and as soon as I met the founder, he decided that instead of an admin job, he would prefer me to run business operations for him due to my skill set. I worked for him for about a year and a half and then as the company lost its lease, it became virtual and I was out of a job.

We reconnected in 2018, and with my background in the arts, we decided to work on a photography startup to attempt to address the gig economy on the photographer side, and on the consumer side, drive demand by making professional photography more accessible to everyone. With that idea, Shoott was born and we’ve since built up a team of 4.5 women (the .5 is a mom!) to run the entire operation, which now supports 56 photographers across the country.

Our core offering is a 30-minute outdoor photo session that is free upfront, you receive a digital gallery of high-res, lightly-edited photos in 3-5 business days, and you only pay for the photos you want at $15 each or less. A 5-star rated service on Facebook, Google, and TripAdvisor, Shoott takes pride in providing a fun, empowering, and convenient experience in addition to providing Insta-worthy photos that are great for personal branding, social media, family portraits, holiday cards, modeling portfolios, or just to treat yourself (or your pup!)

Based in NYC, we’ve built up the business to serve the NYC metro area and have recently begun a national launch rollout that included San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, and Dallas. We plan on adding Philadelphia, Phoenix, Houston and San Antonio before the year-end and plan on adding more cities to come in 2020.

Has it been a smooth road?
Does any startup ever travel a smooth road?!

Figuring out our business took a lot of experimentation. Finding the right offer so it was appealing to customers while also being good for photographers took some time and growing pains before we realized the right balance.

Our team is also working virtually 98% of the time so figuring out how to manage a crazy work stream when people are not all in the same room and keeping people on task, making sure we had trust and a solid work process took some time and trial and error to cultivate as well.

We also spent time focusing on partnerships that didn’t come to fruition or didn’t turn out to be what we thought and/or agencies that we thought could really be a silver bullet but nothing has really been the silver bullet except for the hard work that only our team can bring to the table.

We had to really build everything and scratch and we had to be willing to be wrong a lot, and we had to work to be as flexible as possible to change with whatever we learned as we worked on the business.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Shoott – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Our mission is to bring great photography to everybody. Instead of professional photography only being accessible to the wealthy or having photographers stuck needing to spend all their time marketing and finding clients, Shoott excels at solving both those problems at once with their offer of bookable 30-minute photo sessions that offer our pay-by-the-pic model.

We’re known for our Insta-worthy photos that are still very affordable. We’re known as a great, convenient photo solution that is also fun and the perfect amount of time for everyone involved (yourself, your spouse, your kids, your pup!)

I am proud of so much but I love (in no particular order)

– our 100% female team that includes a working mom and also a mom-to-be. We’re also almost 100% remote so we work hard, but we’re also flexible and have really worked hard to accommodate and respect each of our team members!

– our photographers are all hand-picked and have been vetted by a rigorous interview and test-shoot process. We’ve interviewed, met, test-shot, and trained every single photographer so we’re confident that we’re providing our clients with a fantastic photographers skill-wise and personality-wise. Instead of just being a site that any photographer can sign up for (like a marketplace), we’ve developed and maintained a personal relationship with each and every photographer. We provide notes and feedback and with the volume of sessions each photographer has via Shoott, we get to see them grow in their artistry over time, which is so exciting and rewarding.

– our team has done basically everything from scratch internally so I’m so proud of our website, of our gallery system we’ve built, of how we manage our clients, how we work to solve customer issues. In just over a year, we’ve been able to start expanding nationally, which is so exciting.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Obviously, the weather and the beaches cannot be beat. Truly. We’ve photographed a lot of places and nothing can rival San Diego’s beauty.

In terms of liking least – there isn’t a ton of cloud cover during the day, which can lead to harsh conditions for lighting when it comes to photographs. That’s not my favorite thing because I obviously want optimal lighting conditions for all our clients 🙂


  • Only pay for the photos you want at $15/photo or less!

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