Press "Enter" to skip to content

Printers unite!

Here’s something from left field: We recently re-published an article from printing trade website ProPrint, about how Officeworks and Harvey Norman were cutting small print shops’ lunches. I was interested to note that it attracted a few comments – so obviously it resonated with some people in the photo industry.

Keith-ShiptonI’ve also been watching the convergence of activity between small print shops, pro studios and output-oriented photo retailers. Posters, enlargements, canvas, POS signage and gifts are all shared across both segments. Steuart Meers and Photo Direct were quick to spot the trend and have adapted their business accordingly. Photo Direct now numbers printers, graphic designers, photo studios and photo retailers in its customer base. Most ‘value added resellers’ have a mixed clientele these days. Leading prolab Nulab is now a regular winner in the Australian Printing Awards.

– That’s the first point. The second is that the photo industry doesn’t have an inclusive, industry association and it’s unlikely that one will emerge. Let’s face it, if PMA was going to do a Phoenix it would have happened by now. And if there was a groundswell of support – and the energy – for an alternative local group we probably would have formed it by now. And if IDEA had any ideas, they’ve been keeping them to themselves. AIPP is doing a great job for professionals, but it can’t cater for everyone.

SO, how about photo industry professionals who are heavily invested in printing equipment and output – from pro photographers to suburban labs – open discussions with the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA) with a view to forming a photo printing division? The PIAA has trade exhibitions and conferences – PacPrint and Printex – which could be extended to create a platform for the photo industry to get together. The administrative infrastructure is established. It might not be ideal, but what’s that saying about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good?

Just a thought…What do you think?

UPDATE: Some preliminary, unsolicited feedback from the PIAA indicates enthusiasm for the idea of a ‘sectoral group within PIAA’ for the photo print sector. 



  1. frank frank June 20, 2016

    The printing industry is negative 4.3 percent growth
    there’s only so much room for newbies and no time for old technology ideas.
    start concentrating on the new waves which is already amongst us
    I know it’s moving fast,but that’s the industry were associated with.
    EI: Investments are a lot less than a D-Lab
    Hope to see you one day Keith
    Frank Hoekstra

  2. PG PG June 28, 2016

    Keith the NZ PMA had a bag of money left, they were much more frugal with their funds, perhaps too frugal. They didn’t have the cost of staffing etc, which we had to have.

    Everything has gone off the boil here as far as doing anything, there was talk of hooking up with AIIP but think that fizzled. It is a pity that IPI wasn’t promoted here as a standalone it works well for a mix of former PMA members in the US.

    Our business is so different from when I was active in PMA but we are still basically in the photo memories game and there is life in that!

  3. VOR VOR July 5, 2016

    Our industry is more niche now and has a high focus on services. We have survived on quality and our ability to say yes to to most print jobs. We have made our money on large print products..
    We need help to market our industry but this requires funding and who has this spare? Also from day one has any mass merchant supported PMA or put anything back into the industry it entered….and pillaged?

    I am currently taking a break down in the southern states and i have had time to visit some stores. One store in the east of Melbourne was very impressive with service and services offered. They also pushed quality in every department.
    On the other end of the scale i was disappointed by what i saw at a well known photographic group store in Elizabeth Street.. I always regarded this group as an industry leader but to be offering dye sub prints made them no different from Officeworks. They offered all the high end hardware but seemed to have no love or interest in the finished print.
    For us there is still reasonable growth in printing but it is with dry printing and large format products. We continue to look for opportunities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Business Partners