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Find photos, print photos

US market researcher Suite 48 Analytics has concluded that if people had better solutions for organising their photos, over half would do more with them – and many would order more prints!

Glass half full or empty? While around half would do more editing if their pics were better organised, it wouldn’t matter to the other half. But among that half which would edit more, most would also print more.

Resolving what Suite 48 Analytics calls the ‘drowning in photos’ problem – if consumers could easily find the photos they care about in a matter of seconds – would provoke a ‘significant increase in photo editing, sharing, taking and ordering photo print products.’

The firm asked 1009 North American smartphone and digital camera photographers to assess various photo organising methods, as well as the expected impact hypothetical ‘Photos at your Fingertips’ solutions would have on their photo organising headaches.

Editing and sharing would see the largest increase, followed by taking photos and turning photos into prints.

Forty-one percent of the respondents expect to edit more and 12 percent ‘way more’ photos when such ‘Photos at your Fingertips’ solutions become available. However, around half of those surveyed said having better organised photos wouldn’t prompt them to do more with them at all.

Hans Hartman
Hans Hartman

PhotoCounter went back to Suite 48 Analytics to ask for more detail on ‘where the rubber hits the road’ – what is the percentage of people who would actually spend more with photo retailers if they had better organised photos. ‘We also asked the question for the impact of consumers having photos at their fingertips on the number of photos they would order as photo prints, order as part of photobooks, or order as part of other photo products,’ Hans Hartman, principal author of the study, wrote in reply.

‘I can share the high level data for the expected impact on the number of photos that would be ordered as prints: 39 percent would order ‘more’ or ‘way more’, 3 percent ‘fewer’ and the rest didn’t expect a change. The report has more details, including also the demographic breakdown by gender, age, and parenthood.’

The study also describes the spectrum of approaches to solving the ‘drowning in photos’  problem:
Photo consolidation: personal in-home device syncing, family in-home device aggregation, cloud device syncing, cloud device aggregation, and cloud services aggregation;
– Photo classifying: image metadata and image content analysis (image recognition, face recognition);
Auto-curation: ‘photo story’ apps;
Subjective context analysis: behavior-based classification.

‘If a solution can identify when and where the photo is taken, why not pull up third party weather information so that the user could find photos taken on occasions when the weather was hot, freezing, cloudy or rainy? Or find photos taken during a specific sports game, concert, or a certain Twitter hashtag explosion?’ suggested Hans Hartman.

The full report is for sale at Suite 48 Analytics for US$799. And ‘for guilt-free sharing with colleagues’, make that US$1999.

There may already be a recue at hand for people ‘drowning in photos’, if Google et al have their way. On his recent visit to Australia PMA consultant Scott Brownstein described a (very near) future for the photographic industry dominated by the likes of Amazon and Google.

‘Google and Amazon are going to solve the “where are my pictures” problem,’ he said.

Images will be ‘automatically saved for posterity, automatically curated’ by internet-based businesses.

‘They control this space now. We are now ancillary suppliers to our own industry.’

Google Photos, for instance, vacuums up photos from computer hard drives, smartphones and devices, stores them in the cloud for free and organises them into ‘timeline’ albums automatically. Backup of new images added to the collection is also automatic. (Theoretically at least, PhotoCounter couldn’t get all this utility to work when we trialled it on a PC!)

– So given this kind of service will be available, all a Google or Amazon needs to do is bolt a photo printing services back end to what’s already on offer and they have a full ‘camera-to-print’ system. The as-yet unanswered question is whether there’s a role for photo retailers in these juggernauts’ vision for photos.



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