uSnap.us: Crowdsource Your Wedding Photography

Weddings are some of the most memorable occasions we attend, whether you’re participating or merely in attendance and, if it’s your special day, you’ll likely want to save the memories of the day forever. Lots of people hire wedding photographers to capture these moments officially but friends and family will inevitably still shoot their own, most likely on a smartphone. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get them all, and aggregate them into an online album for you to access later?

That’s where uSnap.us comes in. uSnap.us allows you to “see your wedding through your guest’s eyes” by getting them to download an app which, in turn, takes their images and publishes them to an online gallery. A very interesting concept, uSnap.us could be a fantastic way to capture any event from a number of perspectives without having to chase after attendees to get ahold of shots afterwards.

Getting Started

Setup for uSnap.us is pretty simple, and doesn’t require you to fill out pages and pages of details just to be able to access the service. In fact, all you need to do is to enter your name, email address into the uSnap.us homepage to create an account for the service.

Once you’ve got an account setup, you’re probably going to want to set up your event straightaway. Doing so requires you to simply hit the “Create an Event” link to begin a wizard-style setup. Here, you’ll name your event and set a date and address for it. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to choose a privacy setting, allowing or disabling the ability to view shared images without being invite to log in.

The service relies on your location to pull in photos, but you can also choose a custom code to be able to assign photos captured elsewhere to the event. If you do, that code also becomes your custom URL for your photo album.

uSnap.us

Taking The Photos

The web app works in unison with an iPhone app, which can be downloaded from the App Store for free. Once you’ve got the event setup within the app you just go ahead and capture the event as if you were doing it locally with the native camera app. It’s that simple, and images are automatically uploaded to the event’s webpage for instant viewing. By tapping on the top-left button, you’ll be able to choose which event to associate photos with either based on your current location or by entering your custom event code.

Shooting a wedding with the uSnap.us iOS app.

The only problem is, with only an iOS app, you’ll be missing out on tons of pictures from everyone else, which seems rather odd for a web app. Thankfully, they’ve also added an option to let you upload pictures to an event by email. That way, users with any camera phone can directly email shots, and even your high quality shots from a trusty point-and-shoot camera can be added to the picture stream from a laptop or tablet during the event, or anytime later.

Viewing the Photos

When it’s time to relive the event, you simply need to navigate to your own uSnap.us event page (uSnap.us/youreventcode) to view all your images in a grid-view album. You can also launch a slideshow of these images at the click of a button, offering you an alternative viewing experience.

Or, if you’re actually at the event, you can stream the upload photos live through the click of another button. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to get this working, so the live stream might not be 100% stable yet.

An example uSnap.us gallery, used for a wedding.

You’re able to request a bulk download of all your images, too. Unfortunately, however, this simply makes a request for them to be emailed to you, so you won’t get them instantly. I can’t help think this could be something automated, for instant delivery, which is a disappointment.

Pricing & Availability

Now, uSnap.us is not cheap. Each event will cost you $199 to get unlimited photos that are stored on your event’s page indefinitely. It may seem like a high price but, for a fantastic concept, I reckon it’s worth the price tag. You can, however, not choose to use pay and instead use the service with limits, but for free. However, it’s probably not an option you can consider, since it will only allow you to see ten of the uploaded images, which will only be kept online for 30 days. That makes the free option a testing mode more than anything.

Conclusion

uSnap.us is a brilliant concept and, for the most part, it works as you expect. You setup an event, punch in the code to the iOS app or grab the unique email address, take a photo and it’s uploaded to the internet. Admittedly, it’ll probably cost you $199 for the pleasure, but in the grand scheme of the average wedding, that’s a worthwhile price.

Obviously, it’s just on iOS now which would mean the majority of your guests would have to have iPhones (or perhaps iPod touches, if the venue has a stable WiFi connection) to get the full experience. That can be a problem, and I’d hope to see the app become available on other platforms including Android and Windows Phone 7 soon. Emailing in pictures fills in the gap for now, but it’s far from the best solution for everyone without iOS devices.

And there’s one other problem: the 900-pound gorilla, Facebook. Most people will already share the pictures they take of your special event on Facebook, and it’d be hard to convince most people to use yet another app to take the pictures. uSnap.us gives your wedding shots a much nicer interface, but sometimes, it’s just more fun to get your whole social network talking about the pictures. It’ll be interesting to see how they continue to enhance uSnap.us to make it even more attractive for storing and sharing wedding shots.


Summary

A service that crowdsources photos taken from your event through their iPhone app and aggregates them into an online album.

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