InnovationNow highlights: Becoming part of the photo explosion

InnovationNow logoThe PMA InnovationNow Photo Business and Technology Summit launched yesterday with a mind-bending array of speakers, demonstrations, and networking opportunities.

The conference kicked off with Scott Brownstein, of Brownstein & McCabe Associates, setting the stage with an overview of the challenges facing the photo output business. Part of that was the reality check that, unlike the analog era, the photo business is not being driven by traditional photo industry, but by high-tech players like Apple, Amazon Photo, and Google.

Despite this, Brownstein says the tech companies have solved many of technical challenges – like curation and cloud access – that photo companies have not. And now the photo industry can capitalize on this growth by riding the wave of this growth, by providing ancillary products.

Keynote speaker and customer-service author Micah Solomon inspired the crowd with a wake-up call how consumers have changed the landscape. “Customers have woken up, where they stopped letting marketers tell them what to buy,” he said. The “Mad Men” style of marketing has become passé, as consumers do their own research, and have become “in-charge” of the buying prices. “Consumer know they are in charge.”

He also described the impact of millennials on the marketplace, noting this coveted demographic is driving technology adoption across other market segments, like Baby Boomers and Gen X.

“Today’s customers expect ‘digital parity,'” he said. “Every business in the real world needs to as good in the real world as the best of online: easy-to-use, as fast and have as wide as a selection.”


On the PMA podcast: Reviving and rebuilding Black Photo

John Johnson

John Johnson is the new vice president for Blacks.

Quebec’s largest digital photo company, Les Pros de la Photo, recently purchased of the Blacks brand in Canada, and will continue to operate an online photo website and mobile app, after Black’s parent Telus announced it was closing all of its nearly 60 retail stores last month.

On this episode of the PMA Podcast, John Johnson, vice president, Blacks, discusses the purchase and how he anticipates it will affect his business, and the photo industry in Canada.

On the PMA Podcast: CloudCutout uses math formulas to improve background knockouts

Danish startup CloudCutout came to Vegas in January to learn if PMA 2015 attendees would be interested in the automatic background removal software they had developed. After discovering a need for greater detail preservation with green screen knockouts, particularly among school photographers, the founders changed tactics and launched a professional background knockout service.

On the new episode of the PMA Podcast, founder Jonas Pilgaard explains how CloudCutout’s technology, based on mathematics rather than color correction, preserves image details, such as individual hairs, even from white and gray backgrounds. Download the interview at, or listen in using the player below.

PMA adds trio of industry advisors

Baillargeon, Brownstein, Pageau to lead industry initiatives

Photo Marketing Association International (PMA) has named three photo-imaging industry veterans – Frank Baillargeon, Scott Brownstein and Gary Pageau – as advisors. These experienced executives will be charged with extending the association’s relationship to the retail, online, imaging technology and media markets.

“The photo industry is facing numerous challenges,” says Georgia McCabe, CEO and executive  director, PMA. “PMA is responding by adding a team of respected advisors to extend the conversation to build a broad coalition of photo/imaging businesses dedicated to growing the entire market. This is especially vital as we build awareness for the upcoming InnovationNow Photo Business and Technology Summit, Sept. 27-28, in San Francisco.”

Frank Baillargeon

Frank Baillargeon

Frank Baillargeon, founder and president of F22 Consulting Inc., serves as Photo Industry Evangelist and Advisor. F/22 Consulting provides support for retail print solutions with a focus on mass retail. Frank has served as a photographic and print industry professional since 1975. Current and former clients have included HP, Kodak, Fujifilm, Walmart, Walgreens, Albertsons, Rimage, Shutterfly, Polaroid, Pure Digital, Eye-Fi and dozens of industry start-ups.

Scott Brownstein

Scott Brownstein

Scott Brownstein serves as Photo Business and Technology Architect. He holds more than 20 patents, spent 23 years at Kodak, where he developed many advanced digital products, including dye-sublimation printing, Create-a-Print consumer-operated kiosks and the Kodak PhotoCD system. In addition, he was the founder and chief technology officer of Fujifilm e-Systems and was also the creative force behind one-hour web-to-retail printing at more than 1,000 Ritz Camera stores and more than 3,500 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations.

Gary  Pageau

Gary Pageau

Gary Pageau, principal of InfoCircle LLC, serves as Industry Outreach and Communications Consultant. Pageau was with PMA International for nearly 25 years, serving as Publisher, Content Development and Strategic Initiatives. His primary responsibilities included overseeing the PMA editorial department, marketing research unit, education department and corporate relations department.

In wake of data breach, PMA calls for industry initiative to provide secure imaging services; InnovationNow is the starting point

PMA Logo new Coulter 2015

In the wake of leading North American mass retailers temporarily shutting down their photo websites due to a reported data breach at a third-party service provider, PMA is calling for an industry initiative to provide consumers with easy-to-use and interoperable platforms enabling photo enthusiasts to experience their memories anywhere, any time and to order innovative picture products securely and efficiently.

“The recent breach brought the online photo business of some of North America’s top brands to complete halt,” says Georgia McCabe, CEO and executive director. “As the only international photo association representing the creative and photo product industries, PMA stands ready to lead and to facilitate the transition to more attractive business and technological solutions.”
At the upcoming  “InnovationNow” Photo Business and Technology Summit, Sept. 27-28, 2015, at the Hilton Parc 55, San Francisco, Calif., PMA will provide a platform for top executives from imaging and retailing companies, independent experts, photographers and Silicon Valley technology firms to discuss new business models for the industry, as well as new and unique ways of serving consumers who experience their pictures on social and mobile networks.
The Background
“When the mass adoption of digital cameras began in 2000, many mass retailers relied on specialty companies to quickly start their online photo retailing activities and without the need to deal with the actual transactions, merchandising models and hosting services,” explains McCabe. “As a result, there has been no mass retailer taking the lead to drive these services forward. This temporary security issue should be taken as a wake-up call highlighting to the whole industry that a comprehensive business model is now long overdue. The rapidly evolving demand for providing relevant services to the exploding population of connected smartphone consumers is only a further call to action.”
The InnovationNow Photo Business and Technology Summit represents the necessary first step on a journey to inform, to ideate and to implement the kind of products, services, mass-market awareness and ease of participation that was responsible for driving the analog photo business to historical levels of sales and profitability.

InnovationNow is designed for leaders in the photo industry, and those who aspire to become industry leaders. Read more about the conference and speakers here. For more information and to register, visit

On the PMA Podcast: Changes in the interchangeable lens camera market

infotrends study

The distinction between SLRs and competing compact interchangeable lens cameras is disappearing, reports research firm InfoTrends, “given recent camera introductions and their positioning in the market.”

“2014 represented a year of change in the digital camera market, with significant decreases in unit shipments and sales across multiple global regions,” the company says. “Nevertheless, InfoTrends expects the ILC market to remain profitable for innovative imaging companies that continue to introduce new products and respond to consumers’ needs.”

Ed Lee, Infotrends

For more on this report, we interview InfoTrends Group Director Ed Lee. “Opportunities still exist in this market,” he says. “Smartphone owners are now the breeding ground for first-time DILC camera owners. There is a segment of smartphone owners who are graduating from casual photographers to photography enthusiasts and are beginning to seek out education opportunities to learn more about the art of photography.”

You can download the audio episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

PMA transfers ownership of PPFA to Monarch Expositions

PMAlogo_CMYK_smallThis week, PMA has achieved another exciting goal — transferring ownership of the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA), which has been a PMA organization for about 15 years, to Monarch Expositions, effective immediately. Monarch Expositions is owned by Deborah Salmon and Bruce Gherman, principals of the West Coast Art & Frame Expo and publishers of Picture Framing Magazine.

The past several months have been a time of significant transition for PMA. It has always been PMA’s goal to provide an excellent level of service to all our members. After a long period of gathering information and analyzing the best ways for us to serve our membership, the PMA Board of Directors voted in May on new strategic initiatives for PMA.

Because the newly established strategic initiatives are directing us to focus our full attention on our core members – businesses in the photo imaging space – we made the decision to look at other avenues to ensure PPFA members would be well served and have their needs catered going forward.

We could not have asked for a better new home for PPFA than Monarch Expositions. PMA has partnered with the leadership of this excellent organization for the past few years, co-locating the PPFA conference with the West Coast Art & Frame Expo and National Convention. Just as the photography industry is PMA’s core focus, the framing industry is theirs. We are very confident this move is in the best interest of both PMA and PPFA members.

A membership in PPFA has always been a subset of membership in PMA. For that reason, current PPFA members will remain PMA members, and be afforded all PMA membership rights and benefits, for the duration of their current membership year. All PPFA membership rights and benefits are now being administered by Monarch Expositions.

What does this mean for your PMA membership? This agreement allows our resources—both staff and fiscal—to be directed solely to you, our core members. As we look to build a new PMA, we will tailor our events, programs and services to businesses specifically in the photo imaging industry, giving you the resources you need for your business to thrive.

We recognize several PPFA members are involved in both the photography industry and the framing business. For those in that category, we are joining with Monarch Expositions to create a special discounted package for dual membership in both organizations. More information about this membership arrangement will be forthcoming.

As always, thank you for your support of and membership in PMA. We look so forward to the thrilling future that lies ahead!

On the PMA Podcast: Fly4me takes off

fly4me crewNeed some aerial imaging but don’t want to buy and crash an expensive drone of your own? “Let us fly for you,” suggests a new service. “The future of on-demand drones is here.”

Fly4Me is an online marketplace that matches customers with verified (and insured!) pilots. “You will be able to review pilot profiles and start receiving bids within 24 hours of your proposal,” the company says.

And once the drone is in the air, “you will be able to have a fully interactive experience by leveraging our ground-breaking technology,” Flight Stream, which lets you “connect with your pilot during the flight to get a view from the cockpit. You will also be able to comment on flights in progress, ensuring that the drone goes exactly where you need it to.”

The company adds that it can provide “footage that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s for a wedding, graduation or birthday party, our drones deliver high-quality images that will enhance any private event.” It’s also pursuing real estate, mapping, and other areas.

The service says is already approved by the FAA.

In this episode of the PMA Podcast, co-founder Adam Kersnowski, who tells us why they started the company, and what it can offer to photo service providers everywhere.

You can download the audio episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

fly4me faa

On the PMA Podcast: Kodak Professional Keepsakes Collections & Creations

Chris Van Zandt

At the Kodak Professional Pro Lab Workshop in June, Kodak Alaris unveiled the Kodak Professional Keepsakes Collections & Creations (KC2) software which has been more than a year in development. KC2 enables professional labs and photographers to prepare, present, and produce content to new revenue streams.
In this episode of the PMA Podcast, Chris Van Zandt, General Manager & Vice President of Paper & Output Systems at Kodak Alaris, describes how KC2 was developed, and why Kodak Alaris believes it will both transform the way many professional photographers work, and bring greater opportunity to pro labs.
You can download the audio episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

CloudCutout’s math formulas create better, cheaper knockouts

Danish startup CloudCutout came to Las Vegas in January to learn if PMA 2015 attendees would be interested in their new automatic background removal technology. After discovering a significant need for better, less expensive green screen knockouts, particularly among school photographers, the founders decided to launch a professional green screen knockout service.

CloudCutout partner Jonas Pilgaard said his company’s knockout technology is based on mathematical  formulas rather than color correction. This allows CloudCutout to detect small details, such as individual hairs, giving portraits a smoother and more natural look.

The service starts at 20 cents per image, and works on other backgrounds as well, including white and gray.cloudcutout