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Now that both consumers and businesses embrace the benefits of the gig economy, it’s no surprise that gig photo services are gaining popularity with offerings ranging from “photographer on demand” (allowing you to order a photographer for your child’s birthday party through the click of a few buttons), to photo editing (freeing you up from needing to learn the ins or outs of Photoshop), to photo organizing (having professional photo organizers come to your home and go through your proverbial shoeboxes to curate the photos you really care about).

Both in our research and at our Visual 1st conference, monetizing photos is always a crucial focus. Ultimately, the photo ecosystem wouldn’t exist without various players making money somewhere, somehow from the fact that photos are taken, stored, edited, embellished, organized, viewed, shared, or printed.

So, who then is making money from this burgeoning gig photography phenomenon?

The gig photo services. Broadly speaking, they make money in two different ways. Some charge a subscription to gig workers for use of their tools or services that can, for instance, free photographers from doing back office, scheduling or marketing tasks , allowing them to focus on what they like to do best: taking photos. Other services market and sell gig services to end customers, while farming the jobs out to gig workers and taking a share of the proceeds.

The gig photo workers. Gig photo workers get paid either by the gig service companies, or directly by customers. Yes, they leave money on the table because these services directly or indirectly cost them money, and yes, their hourly net take might be lower than if they sold and marketed their services independently. But for many, the benefits of working with gig photo services outweigh the costs: they can decide when and where to work, use gig services to supplement their income from their own photo business, or work part-time when getting into the business or combining it with stay-at-home parenthood.

But, as the gig photo economy keeps growing, other photo ecosystem players will also be able to benefit.

When more photo enthusiasts start to make money from their hobby, and when professional photographers can supplement their income through photo gigs, the result is that more photographers can afford and justify purchasing better cameras, lenses, or flashes. This benefits both the manufacturers and the retail channels that sell photo equipment and training services.

Photo output product providers will benefit as well. The more alluring the photos a consumer, or business, has procured, the more likely these photos will be turned into printed products, such as wall décor or coffee table photobooks. For that reason, some gig photo services offer the option to order photo products directly in their app or on their site. In other instances, the photographer sells these printed products to their customers; and in yet other instances, the customer orders the printed products from their preferred providers.

And there’s more. As the gig economy overall is expanding, we also see more creators selling their physical products (jewelry, art, pottery, etc.) on their own sites or on e-commerce sites such as Pinterest, eBay or Etsy – which typically requires high quality photos. And getting those professionally taken and/or edited product shots is frictionless and affordable thanks to gig photo services.

****There is 21 days until Visual 1st!***

Thursday Oct. 3 – Friday Oct. 4; San Francisco

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Buy your ticket now!

And one more thing – yes, the iPhone 11…

Apple. Finally, we now officially know what the next iPhone will bring. For those who have been hiding under a rock: the iPhone 11 will have one 12MP front camera and two 12MP rear cameras (a wide one and an ultra-wide one). The Pro model also features a third camera, a 12 MP telephoto.

The main 12MP wide camera has a 26mm equivalent F1.8 6-element lens and Apple claims it offers ‘100% focus pixels’, which suggests a dual pixel sensor with split photodiodes. The ultra-wide camera offers a 120-degree field of view.

Other camera features include a Night Mode for low-light shooting and “Deep Fusion” to improve image quality by combining multiple photos into one higher resolution 24MP image.

But, similar to what I wrote last year regarding the iPhone X’s A12 Bionic chip, the hidden gem might very well be Apple’s shiny new A13 Bionic chip to do the heavy duty processing for the phone’s various new or improved computational photography features.

My take: with the iPhone 11 lineup, Apple significantly upped the ante and showed once again that camera features continue to be the crucial battlefield for smartphone vendors, who are all in a race to outsmart each other in overcoming the natural restrictions posed by the smartphone’s form factor and battery requirements.

What does this mean for digital camera vendors? Good question – we’ll dive into that one in our The Camera is Dead – Long Live the Camera panel at Visual 1st with executives of Zeiss, Profoto and Samsung.

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Hans Hartman


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