Speakers signing on for Fall’s Mobile Photo Connect

Mobile Photo Connect


This year the annual Mobile Photo Connect will “take a deep dive into the driving forces behind today’s unprecedented surge in mobile imaging and visual communication, says organizer Suite 48 Analytics.

The conference moves to a larger venue, the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco’s Presidio Park.

“Mobile Photo Connect brings together entrepreneurs, investors and senior executives active in the global mobile photo and video ecosystem,” the company says, and will feature panel discussions on tomorrow’s use cases, monetizing photo engagement, disrupting through hardware innovation, and taking mobile photo startups through successful exits.

Initial speakers include:

  • Rajiv Vaidyanathan, Head of Product, Flickr
  • Joe Rago, Director Mobile Innovation Program, Walgreens
  • James Joaquin, Co-founder and Managing Director, Obvious Ventures
  • Eric Cheng, Director of Aerial Imaging, DJI
  • Vijay Vachani, Director, Partner Ecosystem, Adobe
  • Oren Boiman, CEO, co-founder, Magisto
  • Jackie Dove, Creativity Editor, The Next Web
  • Jan Senderek, Product Manager, Dropbox
  • Don Strickland, President and CEO, Strickland & Associates
  • Yi Li, CEO, Orbeus

There will also be three show & tell sessions in which 30 app developers will demo their wares.

Mobile Photo Connect is September 29, 2015. PMA is a media sponsor.



On the PMA Podcast: Getting your best customers to Print More


haim ariav

What are the secrets to increasing your print revenues?
In this episode of the PMA Podcast, Haim Ariav, the founder and business manager of Glossy Finish by Lifetouch, explains how key tactics — such as targeting the best customers, providing complete products, and making the sale at the event where emotions are running high — have made his business more profitable.

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

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

PMA CEO Georgia McCabe responds to Bloomberg Business “Fastest-Fading Business” article


PMA CEO Georgia McCabe

It is interesting that on April 30, Bloomberg Business posted an article entitled Twilight of One-Hour Photo, America’s Fastest-Fading Business. Of course, those of us who live in the photo business know that far from being, dead, consumers today are taking more pictures than ever before. In fact, just last year consumers captured and shared more than 10 times the number of personal images than were taken at the peak of the analog photo business, back in the early 1990s. Clearly the consumer’s “love for photography” today is stronger than ever. Personally, I believe that the opportunities in photo are actually greater now than they were back in the late 1800s, when George Eastman first evangelized photography to the mass market. Eastman had to educate the consumer about the value of personal photography. Today, that is a given – and photography pervades all aspects of everyday life. Posted personal images are by far the largest source of traffic in the exploding world of social media. Our challenge is to make it possible for consumers to enjoy connected photography and at the same time, preserve and celebrate their special images with a wide variety of exciting digital photo output products. The problem has been that while many of the new players in digital photography understand the tremendous appeal of personal imaging, they often have little knowledge or concern for the responsibility of capturing and storing those most important moments of everyday life. That is what real consumer photography is all about.

But don’t just take my word for it; here are excerpts resulting from discussions with knowledgeable imaging industry analysts.

Hans Hartman, President of Suite 48 Analytics and Chair of Mobile Photo Connect, sums it up rather succinctly:

hansheadshot 081712original

Hans Hartman

Really it’s quite simple:

  • Thanks to smartphones…people take more photos than ever before
  • Thanks to smartphones…people are engaged in photography at an earlier age than ever before
  • When offered innovative photo products and easy apps, smartphone photographers often order photo products. Major photo retailers, such as Shutterfly and Walgreens in the US, and CeWe and Photobox in Europe, all report double digit percentages of their orders coming from…smartphone users!

Frank Baillargeon, President of F/22 Consultants offers his own unique take:

Frank Baillargeon

Frank Baillargeon

We are living at a time during which mass market photography has gone from the occasional (8-10 times per year) purchase of a roll of film and a bag of prints, for those with the means, to an ever-present part of the lives of virtually every adult on the planet. Photo is central to the business models of the new titans of enterprise (Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.). As consumers, we capture with ease and no cost, share instantly with family and friends, edit creatively as we choose, (increasingly and most importantly) save and organize our precious images in the cloud to enable us to create and order fabulous new products from online retailers, and, yes, from tens of thousands of traditional brick and mortar photo retailers as well.

And then there is this statement, from Vint Cerf, Google VP and “father of the internet” (really!):

Vint Cerf of Google

Vint Cerf of Google

Our life, our memories, our most cherished family photographs increasingly exist as bits of

information – on our hard drives or in ‘the cloud.’ But as technology moves on, they risk being lost in the wake of an accelerating digital revolution.

I worry a great deal about that, you and I are experiencing things like this. Old formats of documents that we’ve created or presentations may not be readable by the latest version of the software because backwards compatibility is not always guaranteed.

And so what can happen over time is that even if we accumulate vast archives of digital content, we may not actually know what it is or where to find it.

Photo printing is far from dead. It is staging an exciting rebirth, born on crests of both product and manufacturing innovation, advances in mobile technology, and software innovations that connect us instantly and intuitively with create and order capabilities directly from our connected devices to product solutions from scores of retailers, both online and in-store. Simply stated – printed photo output matters to all of us. Not the bag of prints that were our only way to preserve and share, but exciting and valuable new products that tell and preserve our stories in a richer, more personalized fashion. The end of film processing is hardly the end of the photo output story. It was simply an important chapter in the continuing effort to preserve and share what’s most important to all of us.

As Mark Twain so aptly said, “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Those of us who have spent our careers in photography refuse to break our sacred pact with the consumer…this is a challenge that we at PMA understand well, and intend to continue to make good on.

Georgia McCabe


PMA’s new National Photo Month site offers free promotional materials, photo contest and much more


NationalPhotoMonth_FINAL-04We have some exciting news to share. We have launched a compelling new website to promote May, which is, of course, National Photo Month!

At this site, natlphotomonth.org, you will find a constantly-growing supply of free tools, marketing tips, and downloadable marketing content for you to use to promote your business all throughout the month. They include National Photo Month logos, customizable posters and signs, and ready-to-use photo tweets and social media posts. (While this is a US-based campaign, there are  also tools here that can be used to inspire photo consumers worldwide, and to promote photography year-round.)

In addition, the site offers a wealth of information for your customers, and a photo contest with very valuable prize packages – people can enter at either the professional or hobbyist level.

There are many prize packages, including the Grand Prize in the professional category: an Apple iPhone 6 Plus, a Fujifilm X-T1 Mirrorless ILC, and a Focus Pyramid Autofocus Lens Calibration Tool. The Grand Prize in the consumer category includes: an Apple MacBook Pro 13″ – Core i5, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD; a Canon Rebel T6i DSLR; a Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro lens; and a 20×30 Canvas Certificate from MailPix.com.

There are many, many other impressive prizes, too. We’d like to offer a big thank you to our wonderful contributors, who have donated very generously to support the contest and the website. The growing list includes:

  • Collages.net
  • Creative Live
  • Design Frames
  • Fujifilm
  • Fullerton Photo
  • GoPro
  • H&H Color Lab
  • Cristina Photography Tools
  • LumiQuest
  • Macphun
  • MailPix
  • Nationwide Studios
  • Nikon
  • Panasonic
  • Precision Camera
  • Sony
  • Sunpak
  • SYNC
  • Tamron
  • Teddy Bear Portraits
  • ToCAD
  • WinkFlash

We encourage you to join with us, and all of our sponsors, in promoting photography, your business, and National Photo Month! Be sure to come back to the site often, and encourage your customers to do so too, because new resources are being added all the time. Also, be sure to visit and like our new Celebrate Photos Facebook page.




No signs of Selfies slowing

hans selfie

hans selfie

They’re not splashed all over the media as much anymore — but everyday people are still snappin’ plenty of selfies.

In fact, “selfies continue to gain popularity among all age groups and have become an ingrained use case for how today’s smartphone photographers retain and share their visual memories,” Suite 48 Analytics reports.

The research firm surveyed 1,021 North American smartphone photographers to determine their selfie taking, enhancing and sharing habits on handheld smartphones, smartphones attached to selfie-sticks, action cams, drones, and digital cameras.

The study found that taking selfies is a widespread phenomenon among all age groups: 84% of the respondents took at least one selfie with their smartphone in the last 30 days. Tellingly, taking selfies was similarly broad across age groups: 88% among respondents under 25, 83% among 25+ respondents, and 80% among 35+ respondents.

However, age was found to have a significant impact on how frequently smartphone photographers take selfies. Those under 25 take more than twice as many selfies with their smartphone as do those who are 25 or older.

Most tellingly: the study’s respondents report they’re actually taking more of them than they did as recently as six months ago. This increase is most prominent among the younger respondents.

The full report, “The Selfies – A Maturing Use Case study” is available here.

selfies study

Black & white case: Motorola to pay Fujifilm $10 million


fujifilm_logoMotorola Mobility was ordered to pay $10.2 million in damages for using Fujifilm’s technology, Reuters reports.

Motorola proved three disputed patents were invalid, but lost on a patent related to converting color images to monochrome.

Here is the full story.


On the PMA Podcast: Bright future for retail


lucinda daltonWhen new people enter a field, they don’t always know what can’t be done — so they charge forward proving the establishment wrong. That’s been the history of Digital Camera Warehouse, now with four Australian super store locations. While many are retracting their retail footprint in favor of e-commerce Digital Camera Warehouse is doubling down on their physical store locations.

On this episode of the PMA Podcast, Bill McCurry asks Lucinda Dalton how and why she sees a bright future for retail and specifically for Digital Camera Warehouse as it expands its footprint and offerings in Australia. With a common sense approach, Lucinda and her team are finding commitment pays off.
You can download the audio episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

Multiple small sensors to challenge SLRs? Light partners with Foxconn

light patent illo

light patent illo

Bigger cameras with better optics and larger sensors will always take better pictures than phones, right?

Well… maybe not: “We are attacking a $100B industry that is ripe for disruption,” says a new start-up, Light. It’s mission is to “reimagine photography and make high quality imaging universal and ubiquitous,” the company says here.

It plans to do so with multiple modules of sensors and lenses, and computational imaging. It’s not the first new firm to make big promises based on small optics — but it’s the first to partner with major manufacturer Foxconn, which “licensed the Light technology and made an equity investment in Light.”

Another partner, Qualcomm, says “Light’s product will overcome the current limits of capturing high-quality images in small form factors, and will enable people to capture great images while they are on the go without trading image quality for convenience.”

The Imaging Resource has a detailed interview and look at the technology here.



Groovebook acquisition impacts Shutterfly’s Q1 financial results


groovebook— By Hans Hartman

The fact that Shutterfly just cranked out its 57th consecutive quarter of year-over-year net revenue growth (net revenues totaling $160M, a 17% year-over-year increase) would have been yawn-worthy if not for the fact that we’re now seeing the first full quarter impact of Shutterfly’s acquisition of Groovebook – in terms of order volume and average order value, if nothing else.

Groovebook is an inexpensive and subscription-based photobook creation app, popularized by their founders’ Shark Tank appearance. Shutterfly acquired the company last November for $14.5 Million. [There’s more about them in our The Photo Output App Market study].

Based on Groovebook’s impact on Shutterfly’s average order value (Shutterfly reports a 15% YOY decline, but only 4% when excluding the Groovebook sales), the app must have generated so many orders that it actually tilted Shutterfly’s companywide average order value.


Four things jump out when contemplating Groovebook:

  • Groovebook is there to stay. It is not a fad, catapulted through Shark Tank but since fizzled. Not only do their subscribed customers generate ongoing sales, the app also currently ranks among the top 200 US-downloaded iOS and Android photo apps – not stellar, but certainly better than most print output products that have been on the market for a while.
  • Groovebook is an app. Naysayers claiming that consumers don’t want to create and order multi-page photobooks on mobile devices: think twice. This app alone apparently can impact the average order value of a $1-billion dollar company.
  • Groovebook sells dirt-cheap photobooks. To be exact: $2.99 each, including shipping and handling. Shutterfly made a daring move acquiring such a low-priced and potentially cannibalizing product, apparently willing to take the risk of a declining average order value.
  • Groovebook is a subscription service. And this might be exactly why Shutterfly took this risk: Groovebook’s ongoing revenues and order volume help to smooth out Shutterfly’s seasonality. And that’s not a bad thing in the low season quarters, as we’ve just had with Q1. It also lowers their customer acquisition costs, assuming the customer churn is reasonably low.

We’ll keep a close look at how Shutterfly will manage further integration of Groovebook in its sales and marketing activities (Groovebook will remain under its own flag, we’ve been told), and how it will fair in the busier spring and summer seasons.

Hans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics and chair of the Mobile Photo Connect conference.

MMIE 598: Who gives the best advice?

Testimonial ads have been used successfully by many companies, as this screen capture from Google images shows.


McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #598 – April 28, 2015

MMIE’s Editor, Don Long, went online in search of a lens, encountered lions and tigers and bears (Oh my!) along the way, leading to an idea:

Testimonial ads have been used successfully by many companies, as this screen capture from Google images shows.

Testimonial ads have been used successfully by many companies, as this screen capture from Google images shows.

This past December I bought a new camera and a couple of lenses from a very reputable dealer. I’m getting ready to head off an a major trip and need another lens. While I’m borrowing one from my brother, I decided to look online to see what I could find, just for the fun of it. To keep this short (my wife heard the long story yesterday and said she hadn’t heard me talk that much in years), I’ll focus in on one particular character and the advice he offered.

Are you familiar with KenRockwell.com? The site offers all sorts of advice, primarily on Nikon and Canon products, but also wades in on other gear, too. Some people love Mr. Rockwell’s advice, others hate it. He doesn’t have any advertising on his website, but he does get paid for the links and click-throughs to retailers such as B&H and Adorama. (“I’m completely independent. I have no camera companies as advertisers,” he says on his site.)

mmie b

How do you respond to something like this from kenrockwell.com? Testimonial ads, perhaps.

So it was with a raised eyebrow that I read the following on his site at the end of March:

“Retail stores are mostly gone the way of the horse and buggy, as obsolete and unnecessary hassles, as I’ve been saying for years.

“No one needs them, their attitudes, high prices, lack of service, salespeople driven by commission and not customers, lack of selection and lack of full cash refunds.

“I haven’t bought cameras or electronics at retail since the 1970s. I’m surprised anyone still does; mostly the ignorant or those without computers or phones.

“If you’ve got a great local, single location walk-in store with the owner on-site like Adorama, B&H (or OC Camera), great, but otherwise, especially with people being more environmentally conscious, retail has got to be stamped out. No one needs retail (except the retailers themselves), and keeping them open creates traffic and pollution that hurts everyone. Pay more to get less? Not me.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had bad retail experiences. I’ve also had great ones. Mr. Rockwell must have had an entire series of really bad ones. But what has me concerned (other than worrying about the state of retailing), is Mr. Rockwell’s influence. He purports to be “the world’s largest independent source of photography information. Even the world’s largest printed photography magazine has less readership than this website.”

During my online lens research I encountered a number of people who took exception to Mr. Rockwell’s advice on particular products. But one individual who posted on the digital-photography-school.com website under the moniker “The Solitaire” said something which warmed my heart:

“If I have the time I really enjoy browsing KR’s website, Thom Hogan’s site and photozone.de, but I am normally not the kind of person who blindly orders a lens from an online seller based on a review I read.

“The main source I rely on when shopping for a new lens is the camera store where I can stick the lens on a camera and give it a try.

“In this case the most fascinating thing for me was to see a hype being created, people jumping in on that bandwagon, prices for used 70-210 lenses go up, some kind of general disappointment sets in, a counter movement swings up, people jump the new bandwagon and in the end all that fuss about a lens that now is pretty much forgotten again.

“All of that got me curious enough to see what’s up with that particular lens. . . .

“It’s not stellar in any respect but it’s a lot better then [sic] about half of the user reviews found on the internet suggest it is.”

Given the major influence peers have on purchasing decisions, all this leads me to suggest a specific kind of advertising might be in order. Is anyone doing, has anyone considered testimonials? This means getting your customers – people who have bought from you – to feature in your store’s advertising. Let them tell the world how great you are, what super advice they got, how helpful your sales staff is, what a great deal they got. And get those customers to talk about how beneficial it is to get the product in their hands. Then pass it around – on Facebook, Twitter, store cards, stuffers. Peer influence, a major purchasing factor, is one you can’t afford to ignore.

So what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

• Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.

• We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.

• Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.

• Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.

• And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas