Cruise Lines Waste Mountains of Photo Paper, Green Solution in Sight

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Professional photographers on cruise lines take an average of 30,000 photos per week most of which are not sold and are simply wasted. Annually, the industry produces photo paper waste that is equivalent to the height of 200 Empire State Buildings, says south east Asia regional cruise ship photo manager Adrian Hickson, new software will mark an end to such practices.

The Cruise ship photo concession business model essentially hasn’t changed in twenty-five years.

New technology allows consumers to purchase professional digital photo files at events, without photo businesses risking reduced photo revenues through the sharing of purchased files says Adrian Hickson. The technology allows photo businesses to operated more efficiently via new workflows, while allowing them to reduce their environmental impact by offsetting their carbon footprint.

Cruise line photo businesses are at risk of becoming extinct, unless a new business model is conceived. Although image acquisition technologies have progressed ahead in leaps and bounds, the method of delivery to the end user at large events has not. The Cruise lines photo business model essentially hasn’t changed in twenty-five years.

Before digital, photographers were paid to produce a good quality image and talented photographers were paid even more to produce Artistic Imagery. With digital, not everyone is able to produce ‘Art’ but most can produce a good quality image. Cruise line photography is the MacDonald’s of photography and since cruise photographers don’t produce art but rather, an image for keeps sake, an image that most of us can produce, the question is, will this business survive? Absolutely! says industry insider Vasili Pasioudis, but the business model needs to drastically evolve. In a world where we are used to paying a dollar or two for a movie or music download, photo businesses who don’t adapt will become extinct. Consumers want choice and flexibility, which can only be delivered by offering photos as a download.

Photo event organizers have been hesitant to offer guests professional photographs for sale in their digital form. Guests normally purchase more than one copy of a photograph, especially if the photo is of a large group. Since digital files can easily be shared, selling photos in their digital form would limit photo revenues.

To counter the environmental impact, some progress has been made with print on demand work flows but the final result of these systems still produce a print when more and more consumers want digital files. Guests like to edit, create photo albums and share these with their online networks and this requires photos to be sold in their digital form. Today, 85% of photos taken by consumers with their own cameras are not printed.

The current and most common business model, Speculative Printing, is dead. New Print on demand workflows have just arrived and is already dying. The iTunes of photo concessions is the way consumers want to consume professionally shot digital photos at events and this will become more evident as time progresses. Digital files first, prints as an up-sell and not the other way around.

Cruise lines can hardly be blamed for the photo waste created by unsold photos. The problem lies in the fact that despite advances in digital imaging, there is no effective Photo Point-Of-Sale solution for the photo concession and event industries that meets the needs of today’s digital consumer. This presents an opportunity for Industry leaders in this space who understand consumers buying habits onboard cruise-lines and other large events.

Out of the depths of the European financial crisis, Phoconpro™, a company in Greece has produced technology that effectively saves the cruise line photo industry over $50m annually. The company has partnered with industry heavyweights in this space and will also be amongst the first to use Apple’s up-and-coming iPad 3 to roll out the technology on cruise lines.

Vasili Pasioudis, has been involved in the creation of various audio-visual projects for the past 15 years in Australia, Greece and the US.


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