How technology advancements are disrupting the business of photography

Technology innovations in the camera began disrupting the photography industry 20 years ago with the advent of digital sensors replacing film.

Advanced post-production software brought even more innovation over the past decade.

Today, sophisticated workflow automation technology powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning is disrupting the way photographers run their business, enabling greater productivity behind the scenes.

The photography business in a time of instant expectations

While many technology advancements in photography have been about camera, editing and printing improvements, there is a new emphasis on the business side of the industry. In the same way that digital images delivered instantaneous results bypassing film processing, new business solutions for discovery, scheduling and payment are now available right in the palm of their hand to help photographers succeed.

Photography pros and clients alike are smartphone-equipped, mobile-optimized, and social-media enabled. The photography business ecosystem must be able to deliver sleek, easy-to-use business experiences to stay ahead of clients’ rapidly evolving expectations for instant gratification.

As a business partner (and SaaS developer) for photographers, it is imperative to help customers deal with the challenges of today and plan for the needs of tomorrow. Photographers need and expect a comprehensive technology platform that helps them stay ahead of the curve.

A photography business suite of tools should deliver technology solutions for:

- Elegant portfolio presentation - Effective discovery methods to attract clients - Streamlined, automated scheduling and payment - Easy post-shoot client proofing and image selection - Hands-off print/product sales and delivery to clients - Ongoing, automated marketing and sales incentives

Technology to help clients find and hire a photographer

Traditionally, a client seeking professional photography services relied on recommendations by friends or was forced to choose between photographers who had hired a professional website coder/builder and those using rather inflexible “vanilla” site templates.

Now, drag-and-drop website building technology empowers photographers to present their work by creating unlimited online portfolio variations, branded in their own style to set them apart from others – without writing a single line of code.

Using extremely intuitive starter templates, a photographer can design a beautiful portfolio site in minutes by simply dragging and dropping content blocks into place, uploading their images and writing the stories they want prospective customers to read.

A good business technology partner will take it steps further by providing tools to optimize the site content for maximum exposure to search-engines to help their website get discovered, optimize image upload and download speeds, and ensure the security of images from the nefarious threats of the web-based world.

It’s Business 101 – attracting clients, doing the work, collecting revenue. By listening to clients and working to understand their challenges, we realized that while many other industries had moved to an online back-end business environment, photographers were still managing bookings and payments manually. Or at the very least, they were using multiple online tools from multiple companies to make it all happen.

The required back-and-forth calls and emails with clients took time away from completing more photoshoots and selling images.

Photographer portfolio availability

Completely automated scheduling disrupts this experience by evolving from a pen and paper calendar, beyond Excel and Google calendar entries, to an end-to-end suite of tools automating an entire client experience prior to the shoot.

Consider how a resource like a fully automated booking tool takes over the process after a client finds a photographer, not only automating the entire scheduling, invoicing and payment process, but also enabling a photographer to fulfil pre-orders that they might have sold as part of the service at the time of booking.

BookMe is auto-synced with a photographer’s calendar enabling a client to instantly see their availability and get immediate transparent pricing. Once booked, a new private client gallery is auto-generated, ready to accept uploaded images after the shoot for clients to review, comment on, and select.

Print and photo gift orders can be placed by the client right in the user interface, right on the spot. Orders go directly to the lab, get processed and shipped directly to the client.

Automated booking, scheduling and direct payment saves photographers an average of more than 40 hours every month by streamlining the client on-boarding experience. Better yet, it increases bookings and revenue. Photographers are able to reallocate time usually spent on administrative tasks to ones that bring in more revenue.

Technology to support the post-shoot process

Technology advancements beyond the automated booking and payment process expedite the post-shoot experience by not taxing a photographer’s online resources.

Uploading that doesn’t result in downtime

If the image uploading process ties up a photographer’s online bandwidth, it can cripple their ability to do other things during the time they are waiting around for photos to upload.

Zenfolio, for example, engineered a multi-threaded, non-blocking uploader enabling photographers to upload multiple galleries simultaneously as they work on their website or refine the price list for their online shop.

Eliminating the need for a photographer to configure each client gallery individually is another way to save time and get images to clients faster. Zenfolio's gallery preset feature lets a photographer define presets while uploading a new gallery. The preset automatically applies layouts, prices, privacy and access settings, and many other configurations.

Facial recognition technology to easily find a face in a crowd

A good photography business technology partner  – and SaaS provider – pays close attention to business trends and emerging genre specializations. Event photography is growing in popularity to join established wedding and sports genres.

A photographer or client can spend giant chunks of time inspecting a gallery full of people to find specific faces and manually tag or share those photos. Why not apply the latest facial recognition technology used in other industries to expedite this process?

A simple and effective facial filter tool enables a photographer to locate faces and organize hundreds of images in a matter of seconds. Originally intended as a photographer-only tool, the Facial Filter can be enabled for client use.

Let’s face it – most brides are probably more interested in looking at photos of themselves and their new spouse than browsing pictures of their uncle “getting low” on the dance floor.

Technology that improves the proofing process

Proofing typically requires quite a bit of back and forth between a photographer and their client, and this is often complicated by the fact that you and your client might not be referring to the same photo.

The best way to automate your workflow is to enable your clients to interact with you directly on the specific image they’re looking at.

A suite of technology tools should enable a client to select an image as a “favorite” and add a comment or editing direction right on the image. Photographers see every comment as they edit the galleries and photos.

The comments even flow through to their favorite editing tool, and edited photos can be replaced without losing the metadata or original comments.

Technology to automate marketing to clients

The pandemic brought the photography industry to its knees for months. Unable to rely on income from upcoming work, photographers had to earn passive income from past shoots.

Automated ecommerce campaigns that reintroduced past images to clients with an incentive to make a purchase helped photographers bring in revenue and survive the challenging period.  The pandemic also revealed an interesting fact – clients stuck at home enjoyed reliving photo memories and ordering prints on their devices.

Automated client campaigns

Zenfolio created and launched the only automated Client Campaigns feature in the photography industry.

A photographer can opt into predefined seasonal marketing campaigns designed for Mother’s/Father’s Day, July 4th, and other secular and religious holidays.

Select galleries can be attached to each campaign and the rest just happens on auto-pilot – clients order, the lab processes and ships directly to the clients.

And more revenue opportunities are available from coupon-based campaigns that are implemented on gallery banners and emails to clients.

These cool marketing features leverage both the workflow automation platform and relationships with leading print labs to help photographers sell thousands of products on their websites and client galleries – all without lifting a finger.

Technology to analyze business data

Any smart business platform should provide actionable data, which means it exists to help photographers learn and run their business. Key insights about how photos are getting viewed, favorited and downloaded should be available at the gallery level.

Apps to maximize success

The widget dashboard must be an easy-to-use user interface that offers a quick way to see how many visitors a photographer is driving to their site, to see upcoming bookings and how print and digital sales are working.

The app also guides them on what they should focus on next to become more successful. Like every aspect of a photography business platform, the technology must be built with a razor-sharp focus on usability, simplicity and efficiency.

What's next for photography innovation

By automating key workflows , photographers can spend more time behind the lens, interacting with their customers and working their unique brand of magic on creating photos – and less time doing administrative and marketing work.

Technology advancements will continue to disrupt the photography business in the best of ways on both sides of the camera. Photography customers experience automation, streamlining and convenience from other industries in their everyday lives.

They expect it from their favorite photographer as well. And the photographer’s business technology partner is here to help them meet those expectations, along with a few new tricks.

Your next smartphone could be a whole lot faster - but not because of the CPU

Samsung has revealed that it has developed the industry’s first Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 4.0 solution which promises to give the next generation of smartphones a major performance boost.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Samsung Semiconductor explained that UFS 4.0 is significantly faster than the previous generation (UFS 3.1). However, the new smartphone memory standard will eat up less of your device’s battery while also being more compact.

For those unfamiliar, Samsung is one of the industry’s top memory makers and its chips are even found in Apple’s iPhone . Although UFS 3.1 which debuted back in 2020 is already quite fast, UFS 4.0 will deliver up to twice the performance according to the Korean hardware giant.

UFS 4.0 can deliver speeds of up to 23.2Gbps per lane which is more than double that of UFS 3.1. As a result, UFS 4.0 is well suited for 5G smartphones as they can download even more data.

Could UFS 4.0 be a game changer?

When paired with Samsung’s 7th-gen V-NAND and a proprietary controller under the hood, UFS 4.0 will be able to deliver sequential read speeds of up to 4,200Mbps and sequential write speeds of up to 2,800Mbps.

At the same time, power efficiency has also been increased and UFS 4.0 is capable of offering a sequential read speed of 6.0Mbps per mA representing a 46 percent improvement over UFS 3.1. This means that smartphone owners will be able to get more battery life out of their devices even with a significant performance boost.

Samsung has also managed to shrink the size of UFS 4.0 compared to UFS 3.1. While a 512GB UFS 3.1 module measures 11.5 x 13 x 1.0mm, the maximum size of a UFS 4.0 module is 11 x 13 x 1mm. The company’s new smartphone memory will also come in a variety of capacities ranging all the way up to 1TB.

Mass production of UFS 4.0 memory is planned to begin in the third quarter of this year so it could potentially end up in flagship smartphones releasing around the holiday season.

Via Android Authority

Netflix is about to lose another iconic sci-fi series

Netflix's American subscribers are about to kiss goodbye to one of science fiction's most beloved TV shows.

From April 1, Star Trek: The Next Generation will be leaving the service, meaning viewers only have three weeks or so to enjoy it.

Star Trek: The Next Generation ran from 1987 to 1994, with 178 episodes over seven seasons. With Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton and Denise Crosby in key roles, it was set in the 24th Century and followed the adventures of the USS Enterprise as it explored the universe -- all the while bumping into a series of unpleasant new acquaintances.

The show was a big hit. It regularly pulled in 12 million viewers by its fifth season, and the characters returned in four subsequent movies , 1994's Star Trek Generations, 1996's Star Trek: First Contact (1996), 1998's Star Trek: Insurrection and 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis.

At one time, Netflix was the go-to place for Star Trek fans, with the streamer boasting almost all of the films and various TV spin-offs, but no more...

Why is Star Trek: The Next Generation leaving Netflix?

Fans of the series will have known that this was coming.

Netflix lost three Star Trek franchises at the end of September in 2021, with Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise all leaving the service.

Paramount, which has overseen everything Star Trek since the late 1960s, is bringing everything in the franchise together on its streaming service, Paramount Plus . Licenses to other streaming services, most of which were agreed before Paramount launched their streaming platform, have taken a time to come to an end. But it's in sight now...

Are there any Star Trek series left on Netflix?

Yes, but just one, Deep Space Nine. At the moment, there's no end date for that show's run on Netflix, but Paramount's strategy is so clear, it could be visible from the deepest darkest vestiges of space.

Pretty soon, for your fix of Spock, Picard and the rest of the gang, you'll have to head to Paramount Plus.

Correction: March 10, 2022: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the scope of exploration detailed in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Patrick Stewart and his crew explored not just the Milky Way galaxy but the entire universe.

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