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Being a photographer in Berlin means facing a LOT of competition. There are more photographers than assignments especially if your professional focus is on documentary and event photography. So how do you stand out of this big flashing crowd? You have to be creative. Doesn’t that seem obvious? It sure is, but the photographer’s creativity must go beyond his perspective through his camera – he must be innovative when it comes to business.

This is exactly what freelancer Robert Máté did! While he prepared a commentary on Bertolt Brecht in 2007, he used this opportunity to show his intern around Berlin. It so happened that when he saw his intern getting really excited about seeing Berlin from a different angle and also learning more about photography techniques that Robert Máté discovered a Business niche. Why not help people discover the city as well as their camera? Without a lot of market research and without any business related experiences he decided to start up his own business and in 2008 Go4Foto was born!

Robert Máté explains that his experience in bartending came in handy. He compares his business to a cocktail – you need different ingredients to get the final product:

  1. Basis = Special sceneries
  2. Modifier = Evaluation of photos
  3. Flavoring Part = Prints of selected images

Of course the concept of outdoor photo workshops was not completely new but the idea of theme related photo tours was.  Only 3 weeks after “going online” he and his business partners received their first booking.

How did they get people to know about them in the first place?

Their main means of marketing were – and still are – the internet and flyers. To be able to display them at the right places, they had to be aware of their target audience. Go4Foto wants to approach a rather young crowd that is interested in culture, so they decided that museums, art galleries and cafés are the right places to advertise their business. Later on, they also joined social networks such as Facebook, Qype and found more and more advertising partners.

Since 15% of their customers became regulars, buzz marketing developed to one of their most important marketing tools. To reward their loyalty and further bond with them, the 5th tour anyone books is for free!

Furthermore, a few months after starting the business, mydays – a website that offers exceptional gift ideas – partnered with them. Even TUI, the well-known travel agency took Go4Foto recently under contract knowing that nowadays people want their city trips to be more creative and active. TUI found Go4Foto to offer exceptional experiences.

Socialize. Learn. Discover.

Go4Foto brings together people that share the same interests. Socializing plays an important role when Robert Máté and his colleagues go out with a group of up to 7 people.  In 6h they will take you to special places, which seem to be real insiders even to “original Berliners” and help you discover the city in ways you never thought possible. Berliners, who are about 50% of their customers, are really surprised – almost shocked- how little they know of Berlin outside their own “Kiez”.  Go4Foto’s tours are designed for everybody: starters, hobby photographers and professionals. If you know your camera, simply enjoy what you see. If you are still trying to figure out how to handle your camera, the two professional photographers will help you improve your skills and see your surroundings in a new perspective!

After discovering extraordinary motives, the group will gather in a little café to look at everybody’s photos and enjoy the captured moments. The Go4Foto team will help you select your favorite shots which you will then receive in a printed version. In addition to that, anyone can participate in the contest of the “photo of the year”. A selected group of artists will then reward the best image which will be displayed on the internet and in cafés. To retain an artistic value is important to Go4Foto.

Photo of the Year 2011, Kay Michel

Go4Foto keeps adding new tours or replacing old ones to be innovative, stay dynamic and extend their offers. They also organize tours in Hamburg and will soon be discovering Leipzig with you.

To leave you with the words of a satisfied participant:

Last weekend I attended a tour of Kreuzberg and was thrilled! The photographer showed us places I would have otherwise never found even though I’ve been living in Berlin for more than 10 years. He explained how to capture motives in a way that makes them look even more fascinating than in real life. By the end of the tour, I had an amazing collection of photos – it truly was a successful day. Berlin gained an extraordinary attraction!