Photo Printing Industry Pines For Fading Pictures

from the hey-where-did-our-business-model-go dept

Only ten days after the Flickr acquisition, a flyer showed up in the Yahoo! cafeteria announcing that film development would no longer be offered to employees “due to the decrease of film developing demand”. The writing is on the wall. Since 2000, the number of traditional photographic prints ordered each year has been on a steady decline, and the photo printing industry is doing its best to keep its hopes up for a recovery. The marketing folks at Fuji would love you to believe that digital photography has terrifying pitfalls like accidental deletion and crashing hard drives. Ever heard of lost negatives and fading pictures? Some analysts also argue that the old printing behavior will return, and the photo finishing businesses simply need to adapt to the technology. However, take a look at the number of total prints made each year. As the percentage of digital prints increases, the total number of prints decreases. Why? With digital, you can share photos without ever printing them. As our children grow up in this environment, the nostalgia that some people attach to physical pictures will soon fade into quaint memory. Furthermore, in the old days, when you developed a roll of film, maybe half (if you were lucky) were actually worth saving. You ended up paying to develop a lot of bad pictures. Photo printers built a comfortable business around that waste. With digital, pictures you don’t want are never developed. Hence, the decline in the number of total prints. So, unless the photo printers can somehow get into the “digital ink display” market, things aren’t looking so rosy for them.

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Comments on “Photo Printing Industry Pines For Fading Pictures”

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Chomper says:

No Subject Given

This is really blown out of proportion.

People still like physical items. People have been saying digital will wipe out everything.

Then how come I still see magazines, newspapers, and *gasp* books?!?

Photo prints are the same thing, photo printers are selling like crazy and is a big market in of themselves.

The photo print is not going to disappear.

dennis (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

I don’t think that the photo print is going to disappear… it’s just that many of the uses that the photo print USED to be used for are being replaced by digital..

ie, digital is better for sharing pictures, but print is still better for displaying them.

the photo print businesses will need to adjust to a shrinking market.. that’s why it doesn’t look that rosy..

Tim (user link) says:

No Subject Given

It’s all a luser-attitude mentality. People have digicam, fail to recognize the fundamental difference in quality between 4Mpel and 35mm film when blown up to A3, go around faux-proudly declaiming “oh, I just want it to take pics of Little Johnny growing up”. Likening the results from cheaper digicams to prints that people used to get is limes-versus-limequats. Bah.

thecaptain says:

Re: No Subject Given

Here’s a question…

How many people actually blow up prints to A3?

We have a 4Mpel digitial cam and we print out photo prints for some things (like our honeymoon pics) and we keep the rest on CDs.

Frankly, there’s very very little difference between a developped pic from our old 35mm.

Its cost effective because we only print a few of the best shots, BUT we also get to snap off 250 pics without worrying about “is this shot worth it? do I have enough film?” like you do with a roll of 24 or 36 (which you must purchase).

The result is we are less “shy” about snapping pics and yes the AVERAGE shot quality goes down because we’re not afraid to try things…but we end up with MORE awesome pictures BECAUSE we weren’t afraid to chance a shot.

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