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Photography Industry Round-Up | A Message from CEO Mark Zucker

Artificial Intelligence is Here! 

While much of the world is buzzing about AI, we in the photography industry have been talking about AI for some time now. Intuitive auto settings, content-aware selection and replacement tools, image sharpening and upscaling apps are all AI implements that photographers encounter daily. (And, let’s not start with the algorithms that rule our social media and digital advertising!) 

AI has become more ingrained in the photography community than ever, and there’s a lot to learn. Some photographers I’ve spoken to express understandable hesitation, while some have fully embraced it and are singing its praises. 

This evolution reminds me of the shift from film to digital in the mid-2000s. Digital imaging potential was a major talking point in our industry. The transition to digital introduced additional work for photographers and increased the average number of images captured at a wedding from 350 to 3,000+. New developments in AI  go hand in hand with this progression. An attribute of using AI, is that it can help alleviate some of the time required to manage the volume of images. 

Many of the photographers who were early adopters have already heavily integrated AI into their processes for culling and/or editing. Applications like Imagen, Aftershoot, and Evoto have helped to significantly reduce their post-production time. 

 

Getting the Work Done 

While some photographers continue to use album design services, they have ceased outsourcing their culling and editing, deeming it “easier now.” If you find yourself in this camp, rather than shouldering more workload, I encourage you to engage with your editing company. Explore the options they offer to reduce costs using AI, allowing you to benefit from AI without taking on the post-production work you were content to delegate in the past.

Photography Industry, Photography Industry Round-Up | A Message from CEO Mark Zucker, Zookbinders
Zookbinders offers professional wedding album design done by our team of full-time designers. While AI can partially support other aspects of your workflow, the expertise of an actual designer is a must.

We have a sister company, www.mcvotalent.com, that provides full-time dedicated editors to high-volume studios (100+ weddings), and approximately 50% have given us the green light to leverage AI. This allows us to increase productivity and add more value as a post-production partner.

  

Highlights from Imaging USA (Louisville) 

Reflecting on my recent experience at Imaging USA in Louisville, my key takeaway is that there are abundant resources available to support professional photographers. From professional wedding albums to folio boxes and hand-painted photographs there are beautiful ways to display printed images. 

Photography Industry, Photography Industry Round-Up | A Message from CEO Mark Zucker, Zookbinders
Zookbinders has been helping photographers elevate their business for almost 30 years with our suite of services and our premium professional albums made in the USA.

While enhancing posing and lighting has always been a priority, innovative companies are now providing services to assist with marketing, accounting, post-production, customer relations management (CRM), and selling. Additionally, the online marketplace offers an extensive network of information, some paid and some free, all designed to support photographers.

 

Optimism for the Future in the Photography Industry

As the field for “price-conscious” photography becomes more crowded, savvy photographers are moving up-market. Offering premium professional wedding albums and other printed artwork is a way to set oneself apart from the “gig” photographers. 

Like in any business, there’s more money to be made as you move upstream. Successfully catering to this market requires not only excellent photography skills but also the personality and marketing expertise to match.

Despite our country’s increasing debt, the economy remains robust, inflation is last year’s news, interest rates are decreasing, unemployment is low, and the stock market has been bullish. This means personal net worths are increasing, boding well for spending on photography services. 

Now is an opportune time to enhance brand awareness, network, reach out to past clients for referrals,  and invest in marketing to ensure a steady flow of work in 2024 and beyond.

 

With Gratitude

This will be year 29 for Zookbinders and we are incredibly grateful to all of the photographers who call us their “partner”.  We are lucky (and grateful) to have such loyal clients, amazing employees, and a strong roster of dependable vendors.   Wishing you much success in 2024!

Mark Zucker

Mark Zucker

Zucker founded Zookbinders in 1995 and is passionate about helping photographers attract more clients, make more money, and spend less time in post-production. He was raised in the pro photography business (his father founded Capri Album) and remembers attending trade shows as a kid (he was more of a nuisance than a contributor).

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