Shopping, when your business is selling commodities to the public, is life. You stand or fall by the willingness of consumers to come through your virtual doors and buy your products.
All businesses develop according to exterior influences. These may be defined as their technological environment; their competition environment; and their advertising environment. Some areas, the business has control over directly (for instance its advertising). Other areas, the business is almost helpless to control.
The photo book industry has developed in conjunction with, and as a result of, changes in the technological landscape. These changes and developments have manifested in two separate places: one has developed the target market for the industry, and the other has made it possible to create photo books online in the first place.
The first technological development is the evolution of digital photography. A digital camera these days doesn’t even have to be a camera to get daily use. Most phone have a camera capable of taking photos that can be uploaded to social media sites.
Even the compact digital camera has become affordable for many, and takes pictures of reasonably high quality – certainly good enough to print, which is more than can be said for some camera phones.
This technology has combined with the other technological advancement responsible for the photo book: the development of faster web services, and the concurrent development of much more powerful websites.
The engine of the photo book industry is the website. In basic industrial terms, the photo book site combines a CMS (content management system) and professional layout and editing suite to create designed books filled with user photos. The degree to which the user controls the appearance and layout of his or her book may be set by the user – and can run from completely hands-off (where the site designs a book for the user with no interference) to utterly bespoke.
The current business model for the photo book industry revolves around predesigned templates and professionally printed books – allowing the majority of users to receive what amounts to a coffee table book of their own photos with minimum work on their part. There are, however, areas of technology and service in which the providers of photo book services need to improve if they are not to get out of step with the advancement of technology and the continuing development of the target market.
The most basic error committed by some photo book sites is their lack of information. A seasoned image manipulator, for example, knows that he or she can probably find ways to make each page in a photo book look like he or she wants them to. He or she Laos knows that images below around 1.5 MB in resolution will fail to deliver the proper print effect: smaller images print fuzzily, and if you blow them up to book page size they look awful.
To be fair, some photo book sites include warnings about this: but again, unless a person has some familiarity with the kind of program he or she is using, then he or she may never realise that a warning has been triggered.
The cost of a photo book ranges greatly, from minimal price for small books to more than £100 for a presentation class one. Obviously, someone creating a presentation book with the wrong photos is going to be disappointed.
Jennifer is a photographer.