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