The only thing that’s changed is everything,” says a recent Apple commercial telling the world about moving photos and the latest iPhone updates. This quotation rings true in the retail photo and print space, as you all know. Everything is changing all the time. Your customers want more and also expect more.
Through the revolutionary app Live Portrait, we have been given a key to unlock the future of the photo industry. This innovative app, which I first spoke about in my previous column, will allow your clients to “wow” friends, family, peers and their customers as well, if you’re in the B2B space. So, why integrate this new app?
• “Apple said photos need to move, and so they should,” says Robert Nunn, founder of Live Portrait.
• “The next big thing in print might already be here, and it might be just what you need to differentiate your business from everyone else’s,” says Denise Gustavson, editorial director of PrintingNews.com. “It’s time to bring print to life with augmented reality.”
• Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook Europe, says, “The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information comes at us, is video. It conveys much more information in much less time. If I were making a bet, it’d be on video, video, video.”
Clearly, as a business model, video plus the consumer equals the future. Our response to what the world is saying has the potential to catapult our businesses forward in an exciting direction.
Live Portrait: Magical Application
Live Portrait can bring impact and emotion to nearly any printed product or material by turning a static image into a living, breathing story. There are many applications for Live Portrait in our businesses. If you’re selling metal, acrylic and canvas prints, imagine adding this service to that sale. The look on your customers’ faces when they see their family portraits “come to life” will say it all.
We’ve been using Live Portrait for a year now and have had wonderful success integrating it into many consumer and commercial projects. We became aware of Live Portrait in September 2015, when we met two young entrepreneurs who designed an app for school photographers. Their business model was to have yearbook photos “come to life” via a short video linked to the cloud. We recognized this technology had a broader potential for photo retail.
As I mentioned in my prior column, our first Live Portrait project came to life last October. We worked with the owner of a local Ford dealership who is a huge supporter of an education foundation in Fullerton called All the Arts for All the Kids. We created a 34-piece acrylic art wall that was celebrated at an open house event for the community. Surprising everyone, the artwork came to life when scanned with the Live Portrait app. Attendees were blown away! The embedded technology elevated our beautiful gallery wall to a whole new level of excellence.
Shortly thereafter, a newly branded version was installed at the Fullerton School District office. Two more gallery installations are in the works.
Spreading the Word
In July, I introduced Live Portrait at IPIC, which was the start of its integration into the IPI Member Network. I am now working with Erin von Holdt, director of Marketing for the IPI Member Network, as a consultant on this process.
Says von Holdt, “IPI saw the potential for this technology and the value it could add to the photo and print industries. To help our membership get started with Live Portrait, we developed a turnkey program with samples, usage tips and marketing assets. Retailers can now impress customers with informative, educational content via Live Portrait.
In addition to retail and commercial applications, the app also can enhance the customer’s in-store experience when used on signage and displays. The Gather Box visual, for example, describes a retail scanning product. However, when a video is embedded in the visual, it gives the customer a more impressive understanding of the product.”
Creating Business Opportunities
Live Portrait also gives professional photographers an innovative way to excite clients and stand out in the marketplace.
Suzette Allen, a Lumix Luminary based in Sacramento, California, says, “Live Portrait is the ideal vehicle to deliver moving portraits (video) connected to a print! In this image-saturated digital world, it is vital that we preserve our special memories with prints. But the perfect storyteller is video! Live Portrait offers professional photographers the best of both worlds. We can print our portraits then preserve the rest of the story in a video that
plays when the image is scanned with our mobile devices. I now specialize in ‘living portraits’ that capture the moment and also tell the story in emotional, captivating videos with music.”
Additionally, the commercial space holds great potential; projects such as commercial décor and printed and promotional materials lend themselves to educating and inspiring viewers. Think about the value gained by attaching a video to a campus map, corporate lobby, business card or direct mail piece! Or combining it with video production services, image capture and display/décor design.
At retail, Live Portrait can bring a whole different level of impact to still images. It can transform standard photo products into treasured keepsakes. Beyond holiday greeting cards and photo books, consider applying it to wedding as well as graduation services.
Providing an Edge
Live Portrait’s potential is unlimited. By making still images “live,” it gives commercial and retail businesses an edge over their competition. It lends itself to partnerships with schools, hospitals, funeral homes, banks, et al. It generates word-of-mouth buzz and business in your community. Live Portrait also creates opportunities to up-sell nearly any product or service.
As photographer Suzette Allen says, “It’s Modern Magic!”