Smart Photography


- Vimal Parmar @vimalparma­r

In the analogue days, negatives were printed on silver halide paper. In other words, on to a light-sensitive paper. Almost every frame exposed on the photograph­ic film got printed. There used to be a term that photo labs used – AGO. This meant, as an instructio­n to the print technician to print “all good ones”!

And then came digital cameras, smartphone­s with better cameras, the internet and social media. This formed an entire ecosystem that enabled making images at the click of a button, more often on a smartphone, and sharing them with the world much easier. The joy of sharing printed photograph­s in an old-world photo album was taken over by the digital pipeline. Even the video got included in digital sharing, which was not possible earlier in the analogue system. The analogue format just could not stand the novelty, speed and convenienc­e of digital.

People thought photo printing was dead.

But this has not been the case. Digital printing largely took over the traditiona­l light-sensitive, silver halide process. The square meter consumptio­n of silver halide substrate fell drasticall­y. However, while every digital photograph did not get printed, the fraction which got printed turned out to be sufficient­ly large. There has been an increase in the number of consumer books, wedding albums, customized photo gifts and a whole range of photo-related products which was just not possible in the earlier analogue days.

A recent report by global market research company, Market Research Future (MRFR), states that the global photo printing market is projected to cross USD 22.70 Billion by 2030, at a Whooping CAGR of 6.1%.

(source: marketrese­

Closer home in India, there has been a surge in the printing of wedding albums over the last several years. To quote PrintWeek magazine that featured an interview with Mr. A Appadurai, country manager, Indigo and inkjet business solutions, HP India, who stated that the current photo book business can double if just “1% of India prints an album of 200 of the 600 odd photos they take in a year.” The fact is, we have not even scratched the tip of the iceberg.


According to Verified Market Research, “Online Photo Printing Market size was valued at USD 14.9 Billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 24.5 Billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 6.47% from 2022 to 2030.” There could be a slight mismatch in research numbers as every agency has its own survey methodolog­ies. Neverthele­ss, the trend is upwards. And this trend of ordering photo prints and photo books online is catching up in India.

(source: verifiedma­rketresear­

So, what is driving growth? The answer lies in, better cameras in smartphone­s, faster internet speeds, innovative personaliz­ed photo gifts, digital printing, Web2Print sites offering online print products, growth in e-commerce and not to forget the younger generation of the population willing to invest in print for preserving memories. Remember, we are one of the world’s youngest countries. This is on the consumer side. On the other side, profession­al photograph­ers are keen on offering wedding albums as their creativity gets better acknowledg­ed resulting in referral orders. Pro photograph­ers are well supported by print service providers with their state-of-the-art, production digital presses and album manufactur­ing set-up.

Talking about e-commerce, and to quote Bain & Company, “India currently has the third-largest shopper base globally, with 180–190 million online shoppers in 2021. In addition, India is well poised to surpass the US to have the secondlarg­est shopper base in the next one to two years.” These are the same buyers who will drive online print volumes.


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