6Sight 2010: Future of Photography – Part 1

From November 15th to November 17th of 2010 6Sight was held in San Jose, California. It is one of the best held conferences on the future of photography. Advanced imaging technologies are introduced as well as panel discussions and an outlook for the future of photography.

The conference explores the various issues of the industry from the perspective of analysts, producers and consumers. The photography industry is one of those industries that changed in many ways in recent years. On the one hand the development of analog to digital photography. At the same time, the product range expanded from the pure image and poster to more complex products such as photo gifts, photo calendars and photo books with all its different facets. Last but not least changes because of the Internet and more and more applications such as Flickr, Facebook, and others.

What holds the Future?

Industry representatives are optimistic for the future despite all the problems in the industry. The common denominator was that people want to touch anything, that’s why “that you can hold in your hands” are not dead – but there is clearly a shift in why and how they are shared. Formerly the main reason for the printing of photos was the experience of sharing with family and friends. Now this goal is now more covered by the social networks. The advantage of the online platforms is clear – users can now easily sort the images, design, print, and then distribute them, besides they are displayed at all times and also by more and more devices: PC, TV, mobile phone, digital picture frames and others.

Unfortunately, you have to explain more and more to people what a photo book is and what are its possibilities, said Don French. Where and how users produce their images and photo products has always been varying from market to market. In the Asian region is still often produced in shops, followed by Europe, Latin America and the least likely is it made in the U.S.

Social Media: Taking the Memories to Moments

Steve Hoffenberg of Lyra Research Inc. estimates that already in 2010, 5% of all captured images are uploaded by users on Facebook. There are 3 billion photos uploaded each month to Facebook. On Flickr, in the years 2009 and 2010 uploaded “only” 5 billion images. The trend is even after his studies to Upload and Share Images, away from print.

According to Frank Baillarge of InfoTrends, the entire customer behavior has changed because it has shifted more and more to the online world. With mobile applications and platforms, it is possible to show the moment while photos are in most cases still made as a “reminder” because it has become easier thanks to digital photography to decide which image the users wants to keep and which can be deleted.

While during the digitizing the use of photo services shifted from women to the men, this trend now returns according to Liz Cutting back. In their view, this has something to do with female creativity. This often happens on photo books, as they sum up the best memories, to share them with others, to show around and to give away.

Prints at home are done more by older people who are familiar with kiosks, or have a fear of ordering online. Young people don’t have a problem with ordering online and they want their products delivered to the house while the middle age group preferred kiosk systems and the pick-up of the print in the stores. However, this is also a question of the quantity of prints, since the price goes up with the number of print and the needed ink and photo paper, said Steve Hoffenberg. The reason for printing prints at home has somehow to do with convenience and control what gets printed. Owners of digital SLR cameras do this more often than the rest, since they have a different other motivation and passion for their hobby. The sharing of the images on other platforms is more popular and can reach even more people. Furthermore, photo frames are also often used, as in the images in photo frames can be easily replaced.

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