Monumental changes are taking place across the photo-imaging landscape. One such breakthrough took place September 27–28, when PMA hosted a thought leaders’ conference in San Francisco, California, called the InnovationNow Photo Business & Technology Summit.
Just days later, October 6–7, PMA partnered with DPReview. The result was a brand-new experiential consumer event, PIX 2015, in Seattle, Washington.
For the first time, key players from all product and service segments of our industry came together at InnovationNow. In addition, they began a conversation about how we can work to advance the business of photography.
Throughout a series of productive sessions with key industry participants—from Circle Graphics to Shutterfly, from Disney to Amazon Cloud, from Google to Walgreens—our newly united industry began a collective conversation, welcoming the experiences, opinions and visions of current leaders, large and small. For a detailed agenda, visit pmai.org/schedule.
By the time our two-day summit drew to a close, the thought leaders concurred on several issues:
—Significant, broad-based opportunities are being generated by the technological and behavioral shifts in the business of photography.
—Collectively, we can anticipate and respond to these emerging opportunities and stay nimble enough to welcome the next wave of innovations.
—InnovationNow is “the end of the beginning”—to paraphrase Winston Churchill—when the photo business stops looking back, placing blame, believing the best days of photography are passed, in some inexplicable way, and starts acknowledging that today is the greatest day in the history of photography. Exciting new chapters are being written every day, which will continue to connect the business of photography to those technological and behavioral transformations that explode possibilities.
—PMA does not offer a prescription for ills. Rather, it is a dynamic forum for a continuous exchange of ideas and opportunities.
—Those who have jumped bravely into the waves of technology and behavioral change are creating fantastic new photographic businesses.
—Only by actively supporting and shaping a successful trade organization will the business of photography make the contributions that it should to a quality photographic experience for coming generations of individuals and enterprises.
October’s experiential consumer event, PIX 2015, in Seattle, Washington, brought together industry leaders—Fujifilm, Conde, Mixbook, Liberty, GoVivid, Fotobridge, Save Family Photos, Live Portrait and Mitsubishi among them—to demonstrate innovative product options and also take part in PMA’s “How It’s Made” lounge and marketplace.
PIX 2015 created awareness for a range of new, unique products. It also energized consumers about the myriad possibilities that exist in this space! A diverse curriculum offered tips on selecting a new camera and using its many features; revealed how technology is transforming image making and sharing; and led presentations on some of the latest developments, such as photographic drones, new applications and printing options.
PIX sponsors, DPReview staff and professional photographers led attendees on “Photowalks” near the show to teach them new techniques as well as hone their photography skills. Back in the lecture theater at McCaw Hall, professional photographers and industry experts shared stories about the impact photography has had on their lives and work.
Doing Things Differently
As small-business owners, we know change is an everyday thing. At Fullerton Photographics, most recently our focus has been on growing our B2B market by leveraging existing relationships and looking at them from a different perspective.
I’d like to share how one of these amazing new B2B projects came together. It began when a longtime FP customer, April, whose husband owns the local Ford dealership, needed a portrait for an award he was receiving. April creates photo products with us regularly and often asks what projects we’ll be working on next. When we finished photographing her husband, Jim, he said, “My wife told me to ask you what you can do for my business. We need help decorating our walls.”
That’s all I needed to hear! My team and I made a couple of visits to his dealership and learned what he was passionate about. Then we came up with a plan to incorporate his passion, vision and mission into an ongoing project that ties his business to the community and to his generous support for art and education. We designed a 20-foot wall for his service center lobby that will showcase children’s artwork in an ever-changing display.
Thanks to Jim’s commitment to the Fullerton community and his strong belief in giving back, almost 100 different student artists’ works will be on display each year. I already have plans to create a similar concept in another B2B client’s location! We cannot wait to see how this idea evolves.
Embracing change by taking chances, exchanging ideas and also looking at our industry from new perspectives can energize our businesses and bring bold opportunities to the photo-imaging landscape.
Themes and Trends of InnovationNow
InnovationNow 2015 shined a bright light on the challenges as well as opportunities facing today’s photo-imaging industry. Amazon and Disney execs delivered keynote addresses. Google’s Brad Horowitz made a cameo appearance. In addition, a star lineup of tech innovators, industry leaders and prominent U.S. retail thought leaders shared their insights.
The summit focused on five themes:
1. Consumer Experience
Historically, the industry has been lacking when it comes to providing a seamless, easy experience for consumers who design photo-based products from their images, but things are changing. Mixbook and Tapsbook underscored the elegance as well as usability of the latest photo product solutions.
2. Industry Interoperability
The rise of cloud storage and the challenge it presents to make sure that photos are interchangeable between storage formats and application requirements has led to interoperability challenges between key players in the photo industry supply chain. As a result, speakers explored the need for a core platform that would provide a standard for image interoperability.
3. Power of pictures
The one to two trillion photos captured worldwide each year and nearly five trillion photos are being stored. Rob Mauldin, director, Disney Photo Imaging, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, explained the hold images have on the subjects who enjoy Disney’s theme parks, especially when sharing the fun with friends and family. He discussed the capture, storage and also communication innovations in which Disney has invested to achieve a higher level of engagement with its customers through photography.
This theme ran through most of the conference presentations, from those of software developers to retailers and also pro photographers. It was clear that innovation in the photo sector is alive, well and thriving. Furthermore, consumers are about to see an impressive array of products, services and initiatives that will benefit them immeasurably.
The photo industry has been dominated by traditional companies. However, it became clear at the summit that new types of companies are emerging as key to the future of imaging. Participation by major image cloud providers, such as Google and Amazon, means that a conversation has begun between traditional photo companies and imaging technology and storage companies. As a result, we’ll begin to see collaboration between these previously disparate leaders of the imaging industry. This will benefit professional photographers, retailers, technology companies and also consumers.