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Chicago runners create app that could shake up race photography market offering runners affordable shots

Three Chicago-based runners have created a new running app, FlashFrame, that offers an inexpensive way to buy, sell quality race photos.

Left to right: Nate Robinson, Declan Murray and Griffin Kelly. Photo: Griffin Kelly.

Three former runners in the American collegiate running system are looking to shake up the race photography market with a new app. It looks like runners could save a few bucks as a result.

The trio of Declan Murray, Griffin Kelly and Nate Robinson are the creators behind the FlashFrame.io app, which allows anyone to take photos during a race and upload them to the company’s database for purchase. The platform will be available at the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9, one of the world’s largest and most popular road races. Currently, there’s a handful of races on the website with available photos.

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Those who upload photos from sanctioned races get a cut of the purchases, an alternative to the larger companies typically employed at road races including MarathonFoto. The FlashFrame.io app is available on the Apple App Store in the United States and in Canada as well as being accessible via the company’s web-based platform.

Each photo sells for US$6.99. Of that, the photographer gets $5, FlashFrame.io receives $1.50 and the remaining $0.49 goes to the credit card processing company. FlashFrame.io uses Stripe to execute the purchases, the same credit card processor as Lyft and other popular companies.

Users can go to Flashframe.io and enter the relevant race they want to purchase photos from. There, people enter the associated bib number to search through the database of uploaded photos, similar to how one would search on a traditional race photography company’s website. For photographers, there is an option to “become a photographer” where a simple, three-step process needs to be completed before being able to upload photos for purchase.

For Canadian relevance, Robinson told Canadian Running that: “Since the app is built to enable local photographers to connect to local runners then yes, in the future we plan on expanding north of the border as well as internationally. The goal is to reach a place that we don’t have to choose specific race to feature in our database and rather allow people to use FlashFrame at any event that they attend, hopefully expanding beyond even just races.”

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For the time being, the company is carefully choosing the races featured on the website to ensure quality. In the future, there are plans to “step away” from the controls and allow photographers from throughout North America, and internationally, to upload photos from all types of events.

According to the company’s website, FlashFrame.io is not in partnership with many of the races but “taking pictures in the public domain is legal and safe.” With today’s technology, people with smartphones can even upload photos as the quality is quite high.

All three runners attended university in the Chicago area with Murray being the most recent to join the company, according to DNAInfo, after attempting to qualify for Rio in the men’s 800m. Other popular races that FlashFrame.io will be featured at include the New York City Marathon and Boston Marathon.

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