PMA & AIE to Forecast Photography’s Future

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With The Future Imaging Summit, the Association of Imaging Executives looks ahead into the next five years of imaging technology and its impact on the photography business.

It’s a tumultuous time for all of us in the photography business, with constant changes in how people capture, share, print, communicate with, and otherwise enjoy pictures.

What new sensors, processors, and other technology will be in next year’s cameras? What apps, sites, and services will people use to share and view photos? How will they permanently display their favorite shots in albums or wall displays?

To answer these questions and many more, The Association of Imaging Executives, a PMA member organization, will present The Future Imaging Summit. This four-session conference will held concurrently with the DIMA 2013 and PSPA/SPAA Conferences, Jan. 6-7 2013, immediately preceding 2013 PMA@CES, in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Summit will focus on the most important photographic trends and technology coming to market — those changes that will most impact the businesses of our members within the next 5 years.

If you are making a living in photography, you can’t miss out on these informative sessions:

Sunday, January 6 —
1:30–2:45
Capture
From the ever-improving optics that focus the light in the first place, to the larger sensors, faster processors, and increased storage inside, cameras are advancing at an increasing pace with new designs and paradigms coming to market.
This session will feature speakers from top camera companies and phone manufacturers, as well as those behind the electronic components, discussing which changes in image capture will let us take better pictures, and let the industry continue to sell better cameras to upgrading customers who want to share, print, and enjoy improved images.

3:15–4:30

Sharing
Most people take pictures to show important or interesting sights, events, and faces to our friends and families.
In the last decade Internet services and mobile phones have transformed how we see, send, share, and display our images. What changes are yet to come as even more people use smartphones for instant sharing, as well as services like Facebook and new competitors?
How can professional photographers use online services to grow their business?
And most importantly, how will instant sharing further impact the rest of the imaging infrastructure, particularly prints?

Monday, January 7 —
1:30–2:45

Software
This session looks at the desktop programs and mobile apps coming out for editing, enhancing, and managing images.
Taking the picture is only the beginning of digital photography: software can transform a poor capture into an image worth keeping, and make a good shot into an even greater finished photograph.
What further enhancements are brewing in the labs of the top companies and universities? Which will require a full desktop computer as opposed to the functions that a phone can handle in a simple app?
And once all those photos are captured and enhanced: what software will finally let us organize, manage, and easily access those important images?

3:15–4:30

Output
What does the future holds for tactile hard-copy and other “real world” imaging media?
Even as more pictures are seen on screens, Prints and other physical output are growing in variety if not volume, with more surfaces, substrates, and different items than ever before.
This session will feature leading print producers and spotlight the leading revenue-generating output technology, as well as the best business practices for convincing customers to continue to purchase physical pictures.

If you are interested in speaking at or sponsoring these sessions, please contact us now.

September/October issue of PMA magazine is now online

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 The latest issue of PMA Magazine – Connecting the Imaging Communities is live and online. Top features include an article on how PMA Academy developers Mark Comon of Paul’s Photo and Mike Woodland of Dan’s Camera City are driving sales and creating loyal customers by offering photo classes – and how you can, too; highlights from the 2012 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference; and a look at the new, personalized online storefronts from RPI.

In this issue:

  • Association leadership
  • PMA News – PMA Executive Director Jim Esp on PMA’s new direction and mission statement
  • Newsline – Top news from the industry’s leading information source
  • The Innovation Movement, from CEA President Gary Shapiro
  • Association of Imaging Executives (AIE) elects new officers
  • The Wizards of Biz – Camera retailers in Kansas conjure up a decade of success
  • The Inter-connected Consumer – Engaging Consumers Through Social Media and Mobile Technologies
  • Making a great photo book — why and how, according to “Create Your Own Photo Book,” author Petra Vogt

6Sight offers free photo/video iPad apps market white paper

6Sight is offering a free white paper covering photo and video apps for tablet devices.

“Recent announcements of Google’s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface tablets have led many observers to conclude that the tablet device market will see many changes in the months to come as these three major players battle for market share. Photo and video apps could become one of the major product areas that they leverage to differentiate their tablets. Hence, we thought it helpful to zoom in on what type of photo and video apps are most successful on the most popular tablet thus far, i.e. the iPad and what type of characteristics set the more successful apps apart from others,” says 6Sight’s Joe Byrd. “We’ve asked market researcher and long-term 6Sight associate, Hans Hartman, to create a special version of his recently conducted Photo/Video App Market Analysi,s which focuses on the findings specific to the iPad photo and video app market.”

Click here and select the “Register for Free iPad Photo/Video App Market White Paper” link to download the report.

via Free Photo/Video iPad Apps Market White Paper.

Video of PMA Executive Director Jim Esp details new mission statement and vision for the future

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A video detailing PMA’s new mission and direction is now online at www.pmai.org. In the video, taken June 26, 2012, during the 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference in New York, N.Y., PMA Executive Director Jim Esp announces the organization’s new mission statement: “To Promote the Growth of the Imaging Industry.”

Esp, who has been executive director of PMA since October 2011, spent the first six months in his new role traveling the globe, meeting with PMA members and suppliers, and taking the pulse of the industry. He also worked extensively with PMA board members and staff to develop both the new mission statement and a new strategic plan for achieving it, by helping retailers, suppliers, photographers, and other members of the imaging industry become more profitable.

In the video, Esp also discusses the new home of PMA@CES 2013, now being held Jan 8-11, 2013, at the LVH, formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton. The new venue provides more trade show floor space, a dedicated hall in The Paradise Center, quick and easy access to the International CES exhibits at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), and convenient travel, via monorail, from hotels on the Strip to the new home of PMA@CES.

In addition, Esp says, the Digital Imaging Marketing Association™ (DIMA™), the Professional School Photographers Association International™ (PSPA™), and the Sports Photographers Association of America (SPAA®), will all hold their annual conferences Jan. 6-7 2013, immediately prior to PMA@CES 2013, at Bally’s Las Vegas. “This is a golden opportunity that we have not had for the past several years to come together as an industry and promote overall growth,” Esp says.
Watch the video here:

6Sight Keynoter Gary Shapiro, CEO of CEA and author of The Comeback, shares insights on innovation

Gary Shapiro

Gary Shapiro

Yesterday at the 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference, keynote speaker Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and author of “The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream,” talked about how innovation is the key to getting the economy, and our future, back on track.

In the imaging industry, innovation has led to many opportunities for growth. Smartphones have become the primary camera used by most people, and along with tablets and connectivity, they are changing behaviors. This transformation has shifted the photo model to be focused on electronics, but has also created a huge increase in the number of images being captured.

Further innovation can create more change and more opportunity. Shapiro noted redesigning the camera from the ground up could replace the loss of sales on the low end, while mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras are growing, and new technologies like the Lytro light field camera will create new categories of photography.

The imaging industry is facing challenges on a large scale, with reduced price points and market saturation. But other industries have gone through this, and the ones who have done so successfully are those that don’t simply do what they have always done, but instead try something different. While we often focus on technology, for consumers, imaging is all about conveying emotion. Innovating on the basis of sharing emotions is the key to reaching consumers.

The impact of imaging on our lives will also grow in other ways as innovation pushes forward. One major problem in the United States is the rising cost of health care – but photography provides a way to reduce those costs. Shapiro, whose wife is a surgeon, said doctors are spending up to $100,000 on cameras to share images with each other, to help in diagnosing health problems. Soon, consumers themselves will be using imaging and the internet to reach a doctor anywhere in the world who can tell them what’s wrong.

“Join the innovation movement,” Shapiro said. “Get your employees and customers focused on it. We are the answer to a lot of the economic problems in our country, and around the world.”

Shapiro concluded with a mention of the new venue for PMA@CES 2013 at the LVH, formerly called the Las Vegas Hilton, and the many benefits it will provide attendees and exhibitors. With a dedicated hall at LVH, PMA@CES 2013 will offer easy transportation from the Strip and quick access to CES International, taking place just steps away at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

For more on this session, and additional coverage of the 2012 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference, be sure to check out the next issue of PMA magazine, coming out in September.

Association of Imaging Executives (AIE) elects new board; Rob Tolmie elected president

New AIE President Rob Tolmie

New AIE President Rob Tolmie

The Association of Imaging Executives (AIE) elected 2012-2013 officers at its annual meeting yesterday at the 6Sight Future of Imaging Summit in New York, N.Y. Robert JB Tolmie of PMI ImageWorks, was elected AIE president.

Also elected to board positions were President Elect Glenn Paul, Textler Inc., West Trenton, N.J.; First Vice President Richard Yagjian, Hunt’s Photo & Video, Melrose, Mass; Second Vice President Mark Treadwell, C.R.I.S. Camera Services, Chandler, Ariz.; Treasurer Ryan Millman, Nations Photo Lab, Owings Mills, Md.; Immediate Past President Tom Hayes, Visual Image Photographic Inc., Cedarburg, Wis.; Past President, Director-at-Large Susan Rau, Northwest Professional Color, West Fargo, N.D.; Director-at-Large Reiner Fageth, CeWe Color AG & Co., Oldenburg, Germany; Director-at-Large Tom Novellino, Metaverse, South Brunswick, N.J.; and Secretary and Executive Director Jim Esp, PMA, Jackson, Mich.

6Sight speakers offer insights on the future of imaging

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At the 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference yesterday, Aydin Arpa of the  MIT Media Lab discussed some of the technologies arising from computational photography work at the MIT Media Lab. Using bouncing light, Arpa and his colleagues have developed a camera that can “see” around corners, which has applications in medical testing, defense and fire rescue, among many other areas. Another innovation is the “flutter shutter” camera, which solves the problem of motion blur in low light by capturing images at different frequencies, allowing for refocusing after the image is captured.

Arpa also said the 300-plus dpi LCD screens in smartphones enable a whole realm possibilities, such as using a smartphone as a thermometer for the eye or as a computational microscope.

In a panel presentation on advances in camera capture, Mike Kahn of Sony Electronics said camera manufacturers can learn a great deal from watching how people interface with smartphones. Human Machine Interface (HMI) technology  can be brought  into cameras to make them more fun to use. However, a smartphone is a life tool, not a camera, Kahn noted. People tend to buy smartphones from “an 18 year old at the mall who knows nothing about shutter speeds or apertures,” whereas cameras sold by a specialty retailer typically come with plenty of instruction and support from knowledgeable staff members.

A big benefit that internet-enabled cameras can offer over smartphones is freedom from service contracts, Kahn said. As smartphone manufacturers adopt higher resolutions and larger sensors, they incur a greater cost – but consumers have been trained to get a new phone for free every two years. “What’s the service contract going to look like on a smartphone with a Zeiss lens? Will it be 10 years?” he said.

Jerry Grossman of Photo Industry Reporter noted, connectivity is critical — and camera companies are finally catching on. But image quality should be the driving force in differentiating from smartphones. In the past, the quality of an image was judged by a print; today, it is judged by how it looks on Facebook – which creates the need for camera companies to convince people that cameras really do take better quality images.

Consumers expect all their devices to talk to each other, wirelessly, seamlessly and easily, said Samsung’s Jay Kelbley.  The camera market is the last technology segment to move into interoperability, but it will be critical to maintaining demand for cameras, especially among younger picture takers.

Smartphone tools like Instagram have helped drive a resurgence in photography and being able to take better picture. The massive jump in the processing power inside cameras today helps people take better pictures without manual control. But people also want to  be able to use the apps they have on their smartphones on whatever capture device they have. Manufacturers need to offer the ability to use those apps in the camera, Kelbley added.

Kaycee Baker of Fujifilm predicted in coming years the industry will shift to hybrid cameras, which will give the user the form and function of a professional camera along with the ability to use it as a consumer camera – and offer apps like a smartphone. She added that while connectivity is critical, there is a need for increased speed, especially for professional photographers shooting and wirelessly sending raw or other information-intensive files.

Artefact’s Markus Wierzoch added forthcoming camera models will offer not just connectivity, but great advancements in the user experience, making it easy  to capture high quality images. Natural user interfaces will make excellent quality image capture effortless.

The 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference continues today. Visit PMA Newsline all this week for more coverage of sessions and events, and follow PMA_Intl on Twitter for real-time tweets from the conference (hashtag #6Sight).

6Sight begins with a look at how new trends and technologies will impact your business

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The 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference began this morning in New York, N.Y. Industry analysts Paul Worthington and Tony Henning opened the event with a brief summary of recent advances that will impact imaging in the near future. For example,in just the past week, Duke University announced a 50-gigapixel camera, and Vyclone announced real-time video capture, production and sharing.

“Innovation continues at a pace that is hard to keep up with. This is a thriving industry, and technology marches on,” Worthington stated.

“The point is, it’s never enough. As long as it’s digital, there will always be ways to do more and have more. You may wonder, why would  I ever need 50 gigapixels? But we used to say, why would we need more than 5 megapixels?” Henning added. “When we can’t see a practical application for a new technology, we can be certain it will come soon behind the innovation. The Lytro camera began as an academic project, and now it’s a commercial product. It probably won’t take long for Duke to turn this 50-gigapixel behemoth into a product.”

Henning also said cameraphones lead the capture business, and smartphones open a world of possibilities because they are so powerful that they are becoming devices people cannot do without.

The cameraphone changed the imaging industry, because people now have a camera with them all the time; smartphones are changing it again, because they allow users to capture, edit and share their images immediately. “This is something no one would have even thought of 10 years ago. We expect more devices will have these capabilities. Today, we have the smart phone vs. the dumb camera. Soon any camera that is not connected will be viewed as inadequate,” Worthington said.

Except for studio photography, all photography is now mobile, and all photography is now shared, Worthington stated. “You’re not taking a picture just to store it on a hard drive. You’re taking an image to communicate something. Taking a picture of your son now in order to be able to view that picture ten years from now is still sharing – you’re sharing  it with your future self.

“All these new technologies have hurt what used to be the main revenue source of this industry. But new technologies, products and services also offer great opportunities. We are all tactile creatures, and there are way to still make money on prints, even though the 4-by-6 has gone away,” he said.

Over the next two days of the 6Sight conference, Worthington said, speakers will reveal  what technologies and trends will impact the imaging business in the next  few years, and the opportunities these innovations will offer your business.

6Sight Future of Imaging Conference begins today

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On this week’s DIMAcast: Nokia shipping phones with PureView Imaging

Nokia is now shipping its first phones with its new PureView Imaging technology: a 41-megapixel that the company says “delivers breath-taking image quality at any resolution.” Pixel oversampling yields 5MP shots with “the sharpest images imaginable” and “superior low light performance,” the company claims.

In this episode of the DIMAcast, Nokia’s Juha Alakarhu explains what went into developing the breakthrough sensor, and what it promises photography. Alakarhu will be a speaker at the 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference in New York City on June 25-26.