Industry Perspective; Innovations in Printing and Output

As photographic technology and market trends continue to evolve at a rapid rate in our digital era, many of the latest advancements occur in the professional arena before filtering down to prosumer and amateur photographers. One such sector in a constant state of change is the photo printing and output market. InfoTrends, a leading worldwide market research and consulting firm for the digital industry, recently released an interesting study examining how these advancements influence customer preferences and create new revenue opportunities for photographers who recognize these shifts and adapt accordingly.

The InfoTrends report determined that the growing popularity of printed photo books and other personalized photo products is having a positive impact on the professional photography market. The study took a look at professional photographers who offer clients personalized photo products, and these shooters said such products account for nearly 20% of their total revenue. Photo merchandise sales were especially high for nature and wedding photographers.

It seems the profitability of photo merchandise items is largely due to the fact that they can be enjoyed for generations like traditional prints, but they carry a higher price premium than prints thereby having a greater impact on photographers’ bottom lines.

The study indicated that the continued growth of online photo sharing and proofing is another development affecting the way pros do business. This trend has to do with the increased acceptance of “soft proofing” as clients become more comfortable viewing their proofs on-screen—as compared to the use of traditional printed proofs. InfoTrends suggests that online photo services could capitalize on this shift by offering more advanced online proofing services to professional photographers.

“Although photo printing volumes have been decreasing over the past several years, professional photographers continue to print a very high number of photos and have been supplementing traditional prints with new products like custom photo books in their product portfolios. We find that even in a challenging economy, consumers are still likely to engage professional photographers to capture images from weddings and other important events, as well as traditional portraits,” says David Haueter, an Associate Director at InfoTrends.