The proliferation of cameras, visual formats, and monetization methods are transforming the consumer imaging industry


It’s not really new: consumers want – and are getting – more and more finite choices for buying exactly the types of products they need. Specialty retail stores are making a comeback, SMBs with niche products can now easily get nationwide (and to some extent overseas) distribution through Amazon, and big brand vendors keep adding collections of boutique brands that address specific use cases and consumer segments.

What is new is the degree to which the same diversification is happening in our consumer imaging industry. After the days of dual camera categories (DLSRs vs. compact cameras), with smartphones added in the last decade as the third kid on the block, consumers now have a long tail of choices as to how they might want to capture photos or videos. As we reported on in our The Long Tail of Cameras study and will further explore in our The Exploding Mix of Image Capture Options panel at Visual 1st, consumers can now choose from a wide array of digital cameras, smartphones, pet cameras, AI-based wearable cameras, action cams, drones, 180 and 360 cameras, instant print cameras, and camera glasses.

Cinemagraph made for an Armani campaign
Cinemagraph made for an Armani campaign

What types of visuals can they now use to capture and share their visual memories? It’s no longer just either photos or videos – instead, a long tail of visual formats is blossoming, which we refer to as phodeos: from animated GIFs to cinemagraphs, to Apple Live Photos, to Instagram Boomerangs, to Stories. For much more on this, check out our The New World of Phodeo: Photos + Videos + Anything In Between panel at Visual 1st.

Not surprisingly, along with these long tails of cameras and visual formats, we’re also seeing a proliferation of methods entrepreneurs now use to monetize their visual products or services. It used to be simple: you could either monetize people’s love for photos by selling them camera(s) (products) or photo prints. Today, innovative entrepreneurs not only sell these in creative ways, but also make money by selling (subscriptions to) photo or video apps, advertisements, brand sponsorships, photo enhancement services, API licenses, photo rights enforcement services, or crowd-sourced stock photos – to name just a few that will be addressed in our Emerging Monetizing Models for the Photo and Video Ecosystem panel at Visual 1st.

In sum: the long tails of capture devices, formats and monetization options are fundamentally changing our consumer imaging industry. Now is the time to think through whether your product or service offering is diversified enough to leverage these trends. See you at Visual 1st!


What’s next for cameras: Flat lenses? No lenses? 

What if future cameras were designed to be used more by machines than by humans? And what if, instead of continuing to tweak a 102-year-old design, we engineered cameras from scratch to leverage today’s – and tomorrow’s – nanotechnology, optics, and computational graphics processing power?

To give us a glimpse of these cameras of the future and how they will be used, join us at Visual 1st to hear the perspectives of prof. Rajesh Menon, who heads the Laboratory for Optical Nanotechnologies at the University of Utah, and is the founder of Oblate Optics and Lumos Imaging.

It’s 54 Days until Visual 1st!  Purchase your ticket now, while you still have a 15% chance to win an Insta360 Nano S camera.


And a few more things …

Photobox. Photobox acquires Greetz, a Dutch online greeting card, and personal gifting company. Greetz sold over 7.5M greeting cards in the Netherlands in 2017 and almost 1M gifts, including flowers, chocolate, beverages, and balloons. Photobox sells similar products primarily in the UK through its Moonpig brand.

Nikon. Unless you have given up on spending upwards of $2K on digital cameras, the big news you’ve been divulging is Nikon’s long-awaited announcement of their first full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7. The $3.4K Z7 features a 46MP camera, a new mount and a whole lot more. And everyone has an opinion about the good (mostly) and the bad. You can read 764 (as of this writing) comments on DPReview.

Google. Google is expanding its printed photobook offering, Google Photo Books, from the US to Europe and is now available in Germany, the UK, and France.

Taopix.  Taopix launches its global print APITaoPrint, through a partnership with TaoPrint is connected to hundreds of print manufacturers and logistics companies worldwide and offers 5000 different physical products, according to the company.

Vivid-PixVivid-Pix announces the availability of an API for its patented Picture-Fix image-correction technology. The one-click-fix technology is already in use in the company’s own LAND & SEA series for correcting underwater and travel photos and RESTORE software products for enhancing faded photos and documents.

  • Kaptur is a proud media  sponsor of Visual 1st 

Photo by Friansa rangga on Unsplash

Author: Hans Hartman

Hans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics, the leading research and analysis firm for the mobile photography market and organizer of Mobile Visual 1st, a yearly industry conference about mobile photography.

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