Paperless Photographic Products

What do you think of when you hear about paperless photographic products?

When I used to think about paperless photographic products, I envision images written to a CD which are distributed to the client.  Instead of paper proofs, the client would receive a CD or view their images online where they could place an order for paper products.   Maybe there would be an electronic album, or a way to save your images on “My Space” or as a screen saver on your computer or cell phone.  Paperless to me meant that the image is displayed through some sort of an electronic medium such as a computer, Ipod, digital picture frame, television, pda, or even on a watch.

This past week I visited with several photography companies.  The secret to their success is my new definition of paperless photographic products.  Based on my visits, my definition of paperless has changed.  To me a paperless photographic product means “Any photographic product that a consumer can not produce themselves.”  This definition still includes everything that I thought of as a paperless product in the past, but is now expanded into other products such as T-shirts, mouse pads, key chains, pens, magnets, wall calendars, blankets, back packs, plaques, wall hooks, and even baseball bats.  All products with images printed on them, but would be difficult for parents to produce themselves on an ink jet printer or through Walmart or Costco.

The trend in the school photography business appears to be going paperless.  However, not as I had previously envisioned.  The physical products, such as a mouse pad or a pen with an image on it is what is helping a savvy School Photography company keep orders and make their order averages higher.

The capabilities to provide these items will be what sets school photography companies apart.  For these items to be profitable, they must be produceable in volume through an automated workflow.  It isn’t just paper rolling off of the printer any more.  The challenge is how are these custom made paperless products produced from the order.  Then after they are produced, how do they get married back together for delivery back to the customer? Some of this will never be completely automated, unless Noritsu makes a printer that prints and process right on a baseball bat, or outputs prints that are die cut and laminated.

Keep watching my blog.  In the near future, PhotoLynx will have the solution to some of these problems.

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One Response to Paperless Photographic Products

  1. Jana McKnight says:

    I specialize in these types of “paperless” products, producing them onsite. In the past I have done fairs/festivals as well as retail. I am looking to expand into the school market and am looking for workflow software; as well as website help. Just wondering what Photolynx would have that could be helpful.

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