More people ditching the selfie stick for a professional

Danielle Leigh reports

SEATTLE -- Forget the selfie stick - a growing number of travelers are snatching up professional photographers to do the job right.

So-called "vacation photographers" thank platforms like Facebook and Instagram for turning photos into a family must.

The new niche market is exploding not just in the U.S., but around the world.

One of the leading companies behind the movement is Flytographer. It connects customers to previously vetted photographers in 150 different cities.

Founder and CEO Nicole Smith says business has more than tripled in the last year.

KING 5 followed Erin Lodi, one of the photographers she employs, and the Crafts on a photo shoot around Seattle's Pike Place Market.

"A big part of what I'm doing is trying to tell the story," said Lodi, who acts as part photographer part tour guide, taking couples what she considers iconic spots and ideal photo locations.

During the shoot Tracey and John Craft walked Post Alley and dipped in shops. They also made a stop at the gum wall.

"As soon as I saw them, I was like wow, these are great," said John Craft, who initially agreed to do the shoot only because his wife had asked him to.

"I think photography is a lot more important to people than it ever has been," said Lodi. "We are trying to show everyone what we are doing all the time and a selfie stick isn't going to cut it."

Tracey Craft admits the quality shots have been a welcome addition to her Facebook news feed.

"I will not lie - friends are awfully jealous when they see the photos afterwards," Tracey said. "To me this is about memories ... are the best souvenirs you could possibly ever get."

"There is no way we could replicate those photos trying to do them ourselves or hand the camera off to somebody," John Craft said.

With packages starting at $250 for a 30-minute shoot, the cost is just over what travel website "Stuffed Suitcase" estimates the average person spends on souvenirs, $100 each.

"How much are your memories worth?" asked Tracey Craft.

For the Crafts and a growing number of couples like them, the answer is a lot.


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