One year in business has proved paparazzi photo agency owner, Natalie Kaffee, was right when she and her husband, Brett, launched Flight Photo Agency introducing a totally disruptive business model – ‘We promised clients that we were ONLY selling paparazzi photos. NO event, NO News, Nothing that wasn’t celebrity related. ‘
PAN caught up with Natalie at her base in Miami for a quick Q&A:
Tell us about Flight? Flight is owned by myself, Natalie Kaffee, and my husband Brett is co-owner. Brett was a paparazzi for 15 years, based in NYC and then Miami, eventually coming off the street i.e the beach, and learning the back-end of the business where his talent is in sales. I’ve been in the industry for 17 years as an assignment editor. Like many Brits before me, the business has a way of keeping you in the states. Even now, running the shop keeps me very busy, but assignments I am always very involved in. To my knowledge I am the only woman who is co-owner and Senior Managing partner of a USA paparazzi photo agency.
Where are you based? We are based out of Miami, FL with satellite offices in Los Angeles, and Brighton in the UK.
What makes Flight unique? When we launched we introduced a totally disruptive business model. All the big players in the business were competing with huge volume picture feeds and X thousand photos per day. We promised clients that we were ONLY selling paparazzi photos. NO event, NO News, Nothing that wasn’t celebrity related. Clients were immediately very supportive of the idea and once they heard we would be dropping such highly specific content in their FTP feeds, editors started coming to us for our unique material.
We strongly feel the current market for Celebrity Photos is purely a reflection of competitive models among agencies and NOT a reflection of ROI for publishers, or even a reliable index for pricing. We have proven it. It’s like a consumer confidence index. It IS what people feel it is. and if a dominant narrative spreads negativity it influences behaviour even when it goes against every principle of market theory that has been proven time and again.
Our focus was, and is always on EXCLUSIVE paparazzi photos. All sales are per pic and zero subscriptions end of story. IF we don’t sell our photographers pictures we don’t make money.
The need for exclusive photos in a sea of production that is largely duplicate images is only getting stronger. We are known especially for our bikini/beach photos, which we showcase heavily on our new website, and our Instagram.
One year later we are starting to see our model being affirmed, copied in some cases, and we have earned the respect of the industry if nothing else.
Tell us about the features for contributing photographers: We launched a new public site as part of a planned expansion targeting one year as the roll out time. The new site integrates our B2B only site. The new site was about integrating features for our photographers and expanding the “Flightning” proprietary transmission method for contributors to use no matter what workflow they have. We brought some unique features to our photographers like our FLT_AWRE blog that acts as an intranet. We post bulletins and company info as you would expect, but we expand the resources analysing sales of certain photos breaking down the why, to who and for how much. Current market trends and other info. We have a technical segment where gear reviews are posted, and discussions of shooting through glass for example, and encourage participation and input. In depth specific paparazzi info that’s really hard to get outside of the business.
Contributors have a Live View panel where they can see their sales in real time, run reports and analytics or use a chat function to speak to one of our Sales Team.
Photographers have access to a searchable database of information, as well, for specific jobs they get assigned for (addresses and notes about working each job). We even have some white papers being uploaded for the contributor who wants to get very in-depth info on various topics. All of it works on smartphone, tablet or anything they have, android or iOS.