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The gig economy brings lifestyle values back to photography

By Hans Hartman

[Scroll down for My 5 favorite Apple WWDC announcements]

Consumers are busier than ever – or at least feel busier than ever. This accounts for the immense popularity of gig economy services that help us outsource tasks we can’t, or would rather not, do ourselves: cook, walk our dogs, clean our house, fix that jammed door, run errands, organize our closets, drive to our destinations.

However, when it comes to recording the events of our lives, which we increasingly find compelled to record through an estimated 3 trillion photos per year, we’re still overwhelmingly behind the camera, capturing the photos and videos ourselves. Too often that’s at the expense of enjoying the moment. Millennials particularly, who often care more about experiences than material goods, want the option to fully experience an event with friends or family without being separated from it by their responsibility to capture the memories.

That’s why in recent years a broad range of gig photo solutions vendors have brought to market frictionless and affordable solutions inspired by gig economy services like Uber, Airbnb or TaskRabbit, that free consumers from image capture, editing or even organizing tasks. These gig photo solutions effectively leverage the vast population of pro and hobbyist photographers eager to generate income while keeping control of when or where they work, according to new study, Building the Gig Photo Economy by Suite 48 Analytics, a market intelligence firm for the consumer imaging market and host of the annual Visual 1st executive conference.

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Through the click of a few buttons, consumers can now not only free themselves from being stuck behind the camera, they can also engage photographers to acquire better photos than they might take themselves (the traditional reason for hiring pro photographers, made easier and cheaper.) In addition, they can receive photos taken at locations where they can’t be, like a faraway construction project or a birthday party they’re forced to miss.

At the same time, photographers can relieve themselves from back-office tasks, such as administration, scheduling, receiving payments, and managing photos. Some solutions even perform photo editing and post-processing tasks for the photographer or recruit the customers for them, thus enabling the gig photographers to expand their photo services beyond their traditional markets – and focus on what they like to do most: taking photos.

The 77-page Building the Gig Photo Economy report analyzes 25 gig photo solutions, covering the six segments it defines within the gig photography industry:

  • Photographers on Demand,
  • Volume Photographers,
  • Self-Promoting Photographers,
  • Microstock Photographers,
  • Local Guide Photographers,
  • Non-Capture Photo Service Providers.

For each segment the report analyzes the current market dynamics, the evolution of customer behaviorrepresentative gig photo solution vendors, trends for the near future, disruptions to established business models with consequent threats and opportunities for incumbents, and implications for adjacent products and services.

For more info about the report and purchasing:

My favorite 5 Apple WWDC announcements

The ink is not dry yet, as WWDC is still going on, but here are my top 5 WWDC announcements so far (yes, the $1K monitor standiMessage Memoji integrationinterface enhancements for the Photos app, and Single Sign-On were much talked about but didn’t quite make it into my top 5):

Coding becomes a breeze – SwiftUI Framework with XCode previews. It’s not imaging-specific but its impact will also resonate among existing and potential photo app developers: Apple announces a brand-new framework to make it much simpler to code apps: drag & drop modules, real-time preview, support for localization and Dark Mode, and a lot more!

A second life for the iPad – iPadOS. Apple is giving the iPad a second chance to be that powerful computing device that should be ideal for editing, viewing and sharing photos. How? By finally removing the limitations that made us use our laptop instead: enabling developers to build apps with interfaces that leverage the much bigger screen real estate than that is on iPhones, letting you use a mouse, organize your files and directories, and plug in a thumb drive.

Code once, run anywhere – Project Catalyst. But do you then need to custom develop apps for yet another device? No, also announced is Project Catalyst, which lets you write UI logic once for specific Apple devices, after which it’s supposedly a breeze to run your apps on different Apple platforms: MacOS, iOS, iPadOS, or iWatch. So port that iPadOS app straight to the Mac and we’ll use it here too!

AR is getting more immersive – ARKit 3. A major upgrade to Apple’s AR development kit gives users more immersive and interactive ways to engage with the real and virtual world seen through their iPhone camera. Pokémon Go objects plopped onto flat surroundings was so yesterday… The catch? You’ll need to upgrade that old iPhone, and ideally also buy that next one that will have depth-measuring sensors on the back.

DIY machine learning – Core ML3 and Create ML. Got your own AI training set? Core ML 3 will let you build on-device machine learning modules for your apps. Create ML is a no-code software tool for building models on the Mac with zero code.

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Hans Hartman

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