Crowdfunding: A great way to get your photography idea made

Trigger Trap
Crowdfunding is a great way to fund your inventions if you don't have the cash, such as with the Trigger Trap

It has been over a year now since the Glif tripod mount by Studio Neat met its target of $10,000 on crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Not only that, but the two people responsible for Studio Neat (who have no previous experience in manufacturing photography kit) managed to raise over $120,000 more than they needed.

Since then, all kinds of people have crowdfunded their ideas for photography accessories. From individuals to independent companies, it seems that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and realising their ideas with the backing of the photographic community.

Crowdfunding websites have taken some of the financial constraints away from inventors who would previously have had to put up a large amount of their own cash if they wanted to make their idea a reality. In an incredibly detailed blog post, the duo behind the Glif detail how they got from idea to market in five months complete with information about manufacturing and the crowdfunding process.

The glif

What's been crowdfunded so far?

Earlier this year, Olloclip, which cites the Glif as its introduction to Kickstarter, raised just short of $70,000 for its quick change iPhone lens system which adds fish-eye, macro and wide angle functionality to the iPhone camera.

Supercharging the iPhone camera is a popular crowdfunding idea. We've also seen products like the the GoPano Micro, which allows users to take 360 video clips by attaching a small periscope like lens to the iPhone's case, raising an incredible amount of money in May 2011.

Moving away from lenses, another great project which has gone into production because of its Kickstarter pitch is the Trigger Trap - a universal camera trigger made by Haje Jan Kamps, author and editor of over 15 photography books. Kamps' project allows photographers to trigger their camera's shutter using almost any stimulus imaginable including a mobile phone, handclap or a broken laser beam. The pitch raised $50,000 more than the inventor had asked for.

One of the most interesting ideas in crowdfunding is Quirky. This website allows people to submit their ideas and have them evaluated by a community just like Kickstarter. Where this differs from other crowdfunding websites is that once the product receives the go ahead from the Quirky staff, the inventor doesn't need to do anything else.

The Quirky team takes over the creation of the project and the inventor gets royalties from the sale of the product forever. That's what happened with the Pose - a case for point and shoot cameras which doubles as a tripod that can be wrapped around poles or just placed on a flat surface.

Five Tips For Getting Started

1) Sign up to KickStarter - You've got to be in it, to win it.

2) Get a prototype manufactured - Google has free 3D modelling software available to help you build your idea

3) Make a brilliant video pitch - people like funny videos that are also informative. Include photos made with your prototype.

4) Promote your idea to friends and family by using a mailing service like MailChimp

5) Write a press release and send it to photography blogs/websites. Exposure definitely helps.

Crowdfunding is a new idea. Entrepreneurs are pushing the boundaries and experimenting with the method. You've picked a good time to create your photographic kit - experiment away!

If you get stuck, there's a pretty good guide about what to include in your pitch on the Kickstarter website. There's also an incredible guide to the Kickstarting process itself written by Craig Mod.