The Premise. We love taking photos of our kids, and, with the transition from wallet to smartphone, immense photo storage has encouraged child-centered bragging to hit an all-time high. But it’s hard to show off images of your baby which are blurry because he wouldn’t sit still or just okay because she’s decided every other object in the room is more interesting than a camera lens.
The Product. The Looky Loo Light tricks babies and small children into liking photography by distracting and inspiring them to look directly at the lens, in most cases improving the subject’s interaction with the camera. It’s comprised of a set of four blinking, colored LED lights on a Velcro band which can attach to the lens hood of a DSLR. The flashing lights tend to dominate the child’s attention, so that in most cases her body is positioned toward the camera and a head-on shot looking directly (or almost directly) into the lens can be achieved. There are three light settings, three different sound settings, and even adjustments you can make to the brightness of the lights – handy for transitioning from indoor and outdoor shooting.
The Pitch. In a four-minute video which is one part product pitch and three parts blooper reel, pro photographer and chief Looky Looer Allison Carenza tells us that she specializes in shooting children’s portraits and explains what inspired the idea. Realizing that her “tools” for taking children’s portraits were increasingly looking more like children’s toys and less like camera accessories, she decided to make something that would lessen the burden of entertainment, freeing her to more easily capture fantastic shots when they came. Allison explains to backers that she needs to raise $50,000 to pay for a small initial Looky Loo Light production, which she has determined will occur in the U.S. While the page lacks any type of demonstrative content in installing Looky Loo onto your camera lens, it does identify two achievements in 2013 – winner of the “Dream Big” and “Most Innovative Inventions of 2013” awards.
The Perks. For 25 early birds, pledges of $150 will earn a backer reward of one black Looky Loo Light along with a Looky Loo t-shirt. Kickstarter and Standard editions offer the same reward for $199 and $249 respectively, and backers who want a limited edition color will commit to funding the project at $299. All Looky Loos are expected to ship in August.
The Potential. While no doubt a useful product for Allison’s application, it’s difficult to say how easily Looky Loo may be adopted by the general public. Many new parents certainly choose to invest in a DSLR, but that is a purchase expected to last a number of years. While Looky Loo may be successful in creating easier “head-on” portraits of children less than a year old, it would be important to understand how much longer a child has before becoming desensitized. All toys get old and uninteresting after awhile –ask Andy and Buzz. It’s not a very practical accessory to have to tote around in terms of size and it’s unclear whether Looky Loo can be used simultaneously with an external flash, or whether light from the LEDs are negatively effecting the image.