Well we used to all go out and shoot images on our film cameras, run the film to the corner store or kiosk to get it developed and then once the prints were hand we tended to stick them away without much more than a few minutes notice. Those days are no more as digital photography has grabbed hold of the consumer marketplace. Now we have tons of images in our cameras, on our hard disks and the options of what to do with them are growing and growing every year.
Digital photography has now found its way into more than half of the homes in America. However most people still order out to get their images printed. Maybe it is not the corner film kiosk of the old days but there is still a very strong market for image printing. Nowadays you can take your images to Costco, the nearby photo store where they might have a digital printing kiosk in the store, or you can upload them to the various internet sites devoted to printing your images such as Shutterfly, Ofoto, and Snapfish to name a few.
Since the year 2000 the number of images converted into conventional prints has been steadily sliding down and could go 5% further this year. However due to the interesting rise of alternative ways to print your images the industry predicts that revenues will rise overall this year. Now why would that be?
Well it turns out that there are some very lucrative ways for companies to make money in the digital age including printing reproductions from digital photographs onto posters, stamps, postcards, T-shirts, chairs, wallpaper, and bronze plaques. Even ceramic tile is being used as a medium for digital printing as designers are using images to decorate them for spas, restaurants, and fireplace mantels.
We have now entered the era of functional art versus just decorative art. Now you can touch it and get a more personal feeling from your digital photography. In addition you can put these digital images on wood, stone, plastic, and metal as well as conventional paper of every type. Either through software on your own computer or through vendors consumers can print their images on birthday cards, calendars, and storytelling photo books that actually get used instead of being tucked away in a drawer like most of our albums of old.
The camera makers have done a fine job of selling digital cameras to the population, but now that they are so infused to the marketplace it will take some creativity to for them to make money off of these sales going forward beyond just getting us to upgrade our digital cameras every year or two.
That will require some new methods for organizing digital photos, new methods of displaying images (perhaps along the lines of the wireless digital display frames that have shown some promise of late) and the ability to print our own custom books using our own digital photographs. That is something that would stay out on display in my home!
Did you know that in the past ten years digital cameras have managed to be sold into over half the homes in the US? The prediction is that number could go as high as seventy per cent by the yearn 2009. Old line film companies like Kodak have had to scramble to move into the digital camera game, with a fair amount of success as they applied old film lessons to their line of digital cameras such as consumer simplicity first, but even they are still leaning on the sales of inks used to print images on computers to hold the profit line.
They have over 75,000 in store kiosks installed throughout the country and are planning for new ones that can handle 900 prints per hour! Retail is strong for getting your digital prints as the big stores such as Wal-Mart and Costco battle it out for your business and in the on line market the field has been whittled down to the strongest. That means that the price per print that was once in the high twenties has now dropped to around 17 cents per print on line and 21 cents per print in store.
So where do you go for these art versions of your digital images? Be prepared to spend more for the experience but get a nice artistic version of your digital photography. Some of the spots to check out are Zazzle.com, Photopetgifts.com, and Matthewsbronze.com. For custom digital photo books you should check out Shutterfly. Imagine the look on your kids face when you give them storybook and it features images of them in the story!