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It’s the time of the year to look back at what occupied our minds in 2019 and could guide us as to what might be in store for the coming year.

To that end, I went through my 2019 Visual 1st Perspectives pieces and identified the 8 most discussed consumer imaging topic areas.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. M&A: Exit successes and consolidation

2. The Digital Camera Market

3. The Photo Organizing Market

4. The Gig Photography Market

5. AI and Imaging

6. The Photo Print Market

7. The Photo & Video App Market

8. Imaging Innovation

Happy reading – and wishing you all the best for 2020!

1. M&A: Exit successes and consolidation

April 16, 2019Vimeo acquires 2-time Visual 1st Gold sponsor Magisto for a reported $200M

Congratulations to our friends from Magisto, who announced yesterday that they have been acquired by streaming video platform, Vimeo, for a reported $200M.

Magisto has raised nearly $23 million in venture capital over time from investors that include SanDisk Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures, but it hasn’t raised any funding since 2014 (hint: they’re probably profitable). Magisto has an estimated 100 million users and employs a team of about 75, of which 90 percent are based in Israel.

Alexis and I have had the pleasure of having CMO Reid Genauer and CEO Oren Boiman speak at Visual 1st (then still called Mobile Photo Connect) in 2014 and 2015 respectively, when they were still an early startup. (…)


January 10, 2019The power of impromptu demos

June 18, 2019Shutterfly + Snapfish: does more of the same make sense?

2. The Digital Camera Market

August 7, 2019A digital camera compared to a smartphone camera is like …

Over the years I’ve heard many people compare digital cameras to smartphones by using metaphors.

Why metaphors? The power of metaphors is that they can trigger new thoughts or insights that go beyond the obvious. In the matter of cameras vs. smartphones: gain a deeper understanding of these photo capture platforms’ respective strengths & weaknesses than one typically already has from just reviewing product stats or usage data.

And why would that deeper understanding matter?

For one, if you’re considering allocating resources to either platform (for instance, as a retailer, consumer, employee, investor, or ecosystem partner), the better you understand how one capture device platform compares to the other, the smarter decisions you can make. (…)


April 3, 2019What if you were a digital camera vendor?

September 9, 2019Why is the photo print industry doing well, at a time when the camera market is crashing?


3. The Photo Organizing Market

May 1, 2019Shoebox – the end of an era

Last week Shoebox announced it’s closing its door on May 22nd, signifying the end of an era when one innovative cloud-based photo management/synching solution after another came to market in the 2010-2015 timeframe.

Founded in 2012, Shoebox has always stood out to me for its novel interface, which enabled users to search for photos by leveraging the photo’s metadata in innovative ways. For instance, you could filter your photo collection by the camera model you used, your location, time of the week, year and month, or season. (…)

4. The Gig Photography Market

July 10, 2019What’s in store for the Gig Photography market?

I’d like to share a few thoughts spurred by our recently released Building the Gig Photo Economy study, as well as the conversations I’ve since had with quite a few folks using or suppling Gig Photography services.

First of all, we live in an era of diminishing stigma against outsourcing household tasks that consumers traditionally have done themselves. Coupled with compelling use cases for deploying gig photographers or photography workers as I wrote about earlier, there are plenty of opportunities for innovative vendors to offer services that make finding, engaging, paying, and communicating with gig photographers frictionless and affordable.

It’s a market that is still in its infancy and I expect (…)


May 30, 2019The case for Photographers on Demand

June 5, 2019The gig economy brings lifestyle values back to photography

September 12, 2019Who will benefit from the emerging gig photography ecosystem?

5. AI and Imaging

July 24, 2019AI imaging news roundup: the good, bad, and ugly

New AI imaging products, research papers and scandals keep popping up – so, I thought it was a good idea to present a roundup of the AI imaging announcements of the last two weeks. Needless to say, there was a lot of commotion around FaceApp but, before we get into that, let’s start with the other AI imaging news. (…)

6. The Photo Print Market

September 9, 2019Why is the photo print industry doing well, at a time when the camera market is crashing?

Last week, as I posted a note on LinkedIn referring to the latest depressing camera sales data from CIPA, it dawned on me how differently the photo output business has fared compared to the camera business – two industries that traditionally were interwoven and followed parallel trajectories.

At a time when many camera vendors are suffering, the photo print industry has managed to stay relatively stable in size (and is actually growing in some markets), while becoming less dependent on digital camera usage (read: success in attracting smartphone photographers as customers). (…)


March 20, 2019Photo print products: How to compete in a mature market?


7. The Photo & Video App Market

November 6, 2019Photo & Video App Store revenues + Photo Print Products the brick & mortar way

The impact of the introduction of subscriptions in the app stores can’t be underestimated. [We’ve discussed this at the time of the introduction at Visual 1st 2017 with Itai Tsidon, co-founder of Lightricks (makers of Facetune) and last year with Omar Arambula, co-founder of Instasize.]

At the same time, the adoption of video apps keeps growing, as we also reported on in our Videos and Phodeos study. A new analysis of the Apple App Store by TensorTower shows the ongoing impact of these two trends. (…)


February 6, 2019What’s happening in the photo app stores?

December 11, 2019Photoshop for iPad – what did Adobe (not) learn from Photoshop Touch?

8. Imaging Innovation

November 20, 2019The holy grail: triggering game-changing consumer imaging innovations

As an analyst who tracks and advises on innovation strategies for consumer imaging companies, the most difficult – and the most impactful – question is whether particular imaging innovation trends are slated to “change the game” or “only” trigger incremental changes. This question comes up regularly for each stage of the typical consumer imaging journey: photo (or video) capture, enhancement, organizing, sharing, viewing and printing.

Take, for example, a camera that can fly and be remotely controlled – was that a game-changing or incremental innovation? Or a camera that weighs less and is less noisy than the models we’ve been using for many years? A photosharing app that lets you share images that automatically vanish after the recipient has viewed them? A new breed of apps that let you auto-curate and auto-design your photobooks through the click of a few buttons? (…)


October 8, 20192019 Visual 1st Awards go to Bellus3D, Skylum, GotPhoto and Generated Photos

October 16, 2019Leaving one’s comfort zone: What can we learn from the Google Pixel 4?

And a few more things…

Xperi and TiVoXperi, the tech juggernaut that includes imaging technology firm FotoNation, will merge with DVR company TiVo in a $3 Billion deal. The new company will have more than 10K patents.

FlickrSmugMug acquired Flickr 2 years ago but Flickr needs more paying subscribers in order to survive, according to its CEO.

TwitterTwitter will now preserve JPEG quality for photo uploads on the web. It’s not the thumbnail image you see in your tweet, but the one you see after clicking on that thumbnail. In addition, Twitter finally supports Apple Live Photos.

InstagramInstagram now lets you upload multiple photos in one Story post with ‘layout’ feature.

QualcommQualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor will deliver “gigapixel image processing,” 8K video and empower 200-megapixel smartphone cameras.

AppleApple acquires Spectral Edge, a UK-based AI imaging company.

NPPA vs. California. The National Press Photographers Association claims California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) “discriminates against some visual journalists” who wish to work as freelancers but are instead forced to become employees. This has both income and copyright ramifications.

Unsplash. At some point you can’t continue to provide stock photos for free without a revenue model. Unsplash’s 1M stock photos are still free but the company is launching a digital advertising business model with a specific approach — working with companies to create branded photos, which will then appear on desirable searches.

PixelmatorPixelmator announces ML Super Resolution, a function that the company says can scale an image up to three times its original resolution without image defects like pixelation or blurriness.

Kodak MomentsKodak Moments announced its Kodak Moments Prints program, which serves more than 8,000 retail locations nationwide with same-day printing, fulfilled more than 2 million since August, 2018. Current app participants include Pictarine, Autopilot Print, MEA Mobile, MailPix, Inc., JPEG Labs and AppGrow.

Visual 1st 2020. Mark your calendar: Visual 1st 2020 will be Oct. 14-15, San Francisco.

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Hans Hartman


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