Process Management

The "Big Five" photo capture channels

Photo Collect was born from the idea of moving the collection of photos for ID cards from the photo booth to the user's cell phone, making the process more decentralized and scalable. Over time, we added more channels to the mobile upload to offer our customers a complete solution for the entire photo process.

Through projects with a wide variety of requirements and a total of almost two million photos, we have gained valuable experience and would like to shed light on the various options for photo procurement in this article.


Before founding Photo Collect , we worked in the field of card personalization for several years and experienced that the image capture process is often the biggest unresolved bottleneck in ID card production. In one project to completely renew the ID cards of a large Swiss company, seven teams of two students traveled with their equipment (camera, photobox, background) from location to location throughout the country to take photos of all employees. Although the process took several weeks, it was not possible to get all employees in the right place at the right time for a photo. It was a logistical nightmare, expensive and without satisfactory results. For companies that are geographically dispersed across different regions or time zones, the challenge is even greater and the process quickly becomes complicated and expensive. Without a standardized process, consistent image capture is almost impossible. It is out of this need that we have developed Photo Collect .

Possible collection channels

To make the photo process as simple as possible, we have developed several channels through which a photo can be submitted. Best of all, the channels can be used individually or in combination, in parallel or one after the other.

  • Do we know the employee's email address? Then we can send an email with an upload link from Photo Collect . 
  • ... or an SMS with the same link, if the cell phone number is known. 
  • If we only have the postal address, we can send a letter with a QR code.
  • Employees who have to pass through a gate or reception can be recorded there using the Photo Collect app.
  • ... or they use the self-service kiosk with the Photo Collect app on site.

The five channels in detail

1. end user device

This is the most used channel at Photo Collect, as it allows for decentralized photo capture and is scalable in quantity. The person submitting a photo uses their smartphone to take and upload the photo. The person does not need an app or login to do this, but can simply upload using a personalized link generated by Photo Collect in the browser.

The communication channels e-mail and SMS are integrated in Photo Collect . An advantage of sending links via e-mail or SMS compared to the letter is the possibility to send automatic and low-threshold reminders if the photo has not been submitted after a certain time.

 Each channel has its advantages and disadvantages: An SMS is immediately visible and received on the device used to take the photo, but often lacks the cell phone numbers of employees. An email address, on the other hand, is almost always available, but the user should ideally switch to their cell phone to take the photo (we facilitate the switch by displaying a QR code). Choosing the right combination of communication channels is an important part of planning the capture process.

2. mobile app

If there is a physical point of contact such as a reception desk, secretary's office or card office, the Photo Collect app can be used to capture photos. A responsible person from the company uses the app to capture and upload employee photos. The person's identification number can be scanned using OCR from an existing document, existing old ID card, or computer screen. The Photo Collect app is available for Android and iOS.

3. photo kiosk

The photo kiosk is used for self-service photo capture. The person only has to enter their identification number and can then take the photo. As with the app, the removal of the image background is done by means of depth sensor (infrared) directly on the device - so there is no need for a classic photo box, any wall (even brick, concrete) can serve as a background. The photo kiosk is made of oak (solid wood) and is manufactured in sustainable handwork in Switzerland. It runs 24 hours on battery power and does not require cables.

4. webcam

Recording via a webcam is integrated in Photo Collect , but is only recommended in exceptional cases, as the quality of webcams is often inadequate compared to cameras in smartphones or other devices.

5. import of existing photos

Existing image databases can be imported via bulk upload to Photo Collect . Existing images benefit from quality enhancement through automatic rotation, uniform image cropping and automatic background removal.


For each customer and situation, the optimal combination of channels for the capture process must be found. In the case of SBB / SwissPass , customers are prompted to upload via SMS and use their own device to take and upload a photo. This keeps the process at the counter very efficient, as the employee only triggers the SMS and the end customer can complete the process at home. Many companies prefer a combination of channels. Email invitations are often used to collect photos in the corporate environment, letter invitations are used to reach employees without email access, and direct upload is popular for capturing professional photos of C-level employees.

We would be happy to discuss options for your photo capture process with you. Contact us!

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