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3 Tech Trends That Will Shape The Future of the Photo Products Industry in 2024

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Every new year brings fresh opportunities, and as we move into 2024, the rapid pace of technological change provides photo brands with exciting prospects. Advancements in AI, handheld devices, and off-the-shelf e-commerce components look set to unlock the billions of images resting dormant on mobile phones and in the cloud.

The time has come to guide consumers along personalized pathways to create physical versions of their most cherished moments. In this blog, we look at the 3 areas where we expect significant activity in 2024.

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Using AI to Empower Better Photography for All

Continued advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) look set to revolutionize how everyday users take and optimize their images. As AI models become smarter, so do the apps that use them — each creatively empowering users regardless of their IT, technical, or photography skill levels. As we move into 2024, the role of AI is shifting from simple edits (such as correcting imperfections or removing background noise) to actively enhancing final artistic outputs — often without users needing to direct the enhancements.

One specific area to watch is intelligent assistance on the device itself. New devices in the very near future will guide users in real-time during picture taking — much like having an expert photography coach teaching a beginner a new technique. Rather than just pointing and shooting randomly, AI-driven direction will assist in areas such as optimal photo angles, recommended lighting, and even guide device users in dynamic and traditionally challenging settings like sporting events to capture shots worthy of advanced equipment.

With images captured, AI algorithms can automatically select a user’s best, most vibrant memories across the hundreds of near-duplicate photos that most people end up with on their devices after vacations, birthdays, parties, or other life events. This simple automation will relieve the pain of manually sorting through swathes of visually similar pictures to identify the perfect photo worth preserving as prints or in a photo book.

[blog] IMG 4378 x 3502 px Man taking photosBut perhaps the most exciting area for advanced AI usage for photo product organizations is the intuitive matching of images to products based on library analysis. Systems already exist that can detect key people, locations, styles, and subjects and then serve up simple but tailored product recommendations that are already built, designed, and ready for purchase. As of 2024, these capabilities will become more widely available but also more comprehensive — with AI offering infinite possibilities with regards to the photo product combinations that it can generate automatically and in bulk. Who knows what magical combinations of photos and photo products we can expect to see.

Delivering Consistent Design Tools for E-commerce

Advanced photo product creation capabilities were once reserved solely for sophisticated publishing software suites. However, these capabilities increasingly appear embedded directly within e-commerce websites and mobile apps. Rather than having to redirect customers to alternative systems mid-purchase to customize products, leading platforms in 2024 enable rich editing in real-time from initial image inspiration through to checkout.

For example, shoppers browsing calendars, mugs, or other photo merchandise should be able to fire up professional editing tools to upload images, adjust colors, apply filters, and more to actively participate in personalization directly from the photo product app or website. Those design sessions should continue across web, mobile, and desktop devices to ensure a smooth experience throughout the whole customer journey.

microchip-ai-duotone 1Creating such an omnichannel experience has proven challenging to date; however, in 2024, we will see the emergence of intuitive web-based creative engines and toolkits to match developer capabilities with consumer expectations. Turnkey software development kits (SDKs) and web-based application programmer interface (API) offerings will help accelerate the delivery of polished design environments and enable consistent brand aesthetics across the entire customer journey.

These incredibly effective developer tools will enable e-commerce vendors offering photo products to deliver new, embedded, high-quality functionality on their sites faster than ever before. We all know how fast customer trends shift and how fickle modern customers can be — having the tools to rapidly deploy new offerings in line with market expectations will be a game-changer.

Unlocking Hidden Photo Collections

The proliferation of smartphone cameras paired with reliable cloud backups has wholly transformed the volume of images captured over the last decade. Yet as the size of digital photo libraries spirals, over 98% sit tucked out of sight. These memories remain filed on devices for posterity or, at best, destined for social media scrolling.

crosshairs-duotone 2Part of the stagnation owes simply to scale. Sorting hundreds of images is cumbersome and time-consuming when we all have increasingly busy lives. But equally, the photos that we have taken contain a rich bank of personal memories, places visited, dinners with friends, and family occasions. They deserve much more, and in 2024, we will finally be ready to solve this dilemma.

Advanced automation, using AI, can now act as our virtual assistant —trawling through the hundreds and thousands of images stored on our devices to find the perfect memories for us to print, share, and cherish.

Whether auto-collating precious moments by utilizing advanced facial recognition or auto-suggesting photo gifts aligned to life events such as anniversaries or birthdays, automation will bring old, but important images back into our lives. By offering easy-to-use tools to lower the effort required to find personally meaningful images, photo product providers can unlock significant demand for printed and decorated keepsakes.

The Future Starts Now!

[blog] IMG 4000 x 2667 px Person working on a notebook sorting files outWe stand poised to change the relationships people have with their digital photo libraries forever. Despite the increasingly advanced cameras on mobile and tablet devices driving over 1.5 trillion new images annually, only around 2% transform into a tangible print or product form. We capture thousands of memories but end up storing and ultimately forgetting them. This will change in 2024.

Artificial intelligence will guide everyday photographers beyond simple post-shoot fixes to pro-grade image captures in real time. The days of bad photos may soon be gone forever. New mobile apps bursting with photo capture, editing, and transformation capabilities are equally encouraging. Not only will these apps help take photos, but they will also help us curate dynamic collections and automatically propose personalized photo products based on their findings.

Enabling everything from professional-grade photo capture to state-of-the-art editing tools, the photography environment of the future is here.

pen-paintbrush-duotone 2But photo product providers and e-commerce sites must up their game to enable these extended capabilities. Thankfully, once the exclusive remit of complex image manipulation software, creation engines can now be embedded directly into sites and apps via turnkey web API and SDK toolkits. These tools are the bridge between the photographer and printed products, and for photo product vendors, they offer the potential for enhanced revenue streams and ongoing relationships with customers.

These factors will combine in 2024 to create a tailwind that will push the photo product industry to new horizons. The time has come to rediscover the value of a printed image — the physical representation of memories from a past time and place. These past images hold the key to the future — and the outlook is incredibly exciting.

Written by Darsi Guneshka

Hey there! I am the digital marketing manager of ip.labs! I love the whole process of article creation and enjoy writing blog posts. They not only provide the readers with great information but help me, as a digital marketer and writer, learn a lot of new things throughout the research and blog post finalization process. It is a win-win situation! P.S. Hope you like my blog posts!

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