These tech innovations will keep photo prints alive

whats next for photo prints ryan millman npl woodwraps byrm revkb img 1354 copy
Nations Photo Lab
A photograph is no longer always a physical product — they often exist only as megabytes on a smartphone or files on social media. While the number of photos snapped daily is increasing, the number of photos being printed is quickly dropping. But as the printing industry shifts toward digital dominance, Nations Photo Lab founder and CEO Ryan Millman suggests innovation will shift the dynamics of the industry, keeping printed photographs alive.

Nations began as a photography lab founded by photographers in 2005, launched from the then-owners of a college event photography business, Millman and Jon Weinstock. But over the last decade or so, the industry has changed just as much, as cameras have moved past Millman’s first professional camera, the 3.3-megapixel Canon G1 from 1999.

“Certainly, the shift to mobile cameras has been huge,” Millman told Digital Trends. “More photos are being taken than ever before, but there’s a downward shift in outward categories like print. They are taking photos and archiving them, but not necessarily producing the physical product they used to.”

Millman says innovation in two key areas will prove critical for the photo printing industry as trends shift: technology and products. From a technology standpoint, that means mobile ordering platforms. While desktop users traditionally order more photos, the growth of smartphone customers suggests mobile will be a big part of the industry’s future.

Nations Photo Lab uses a web-based platform with a version that caters to mobile users without an app download, but an update-in-progress will help advance that avenue even more, Millman suggests. The company’s next update is expected to streamline the album design process by laying out the photos in an optimal way, not just in a random or chronological order, and will turn a thirty-minute process into a two-minute one. The system also factors in the original file’s aspect ratio, so images aren’t oddly cropped.

Software powered by artificial intelligence will be part of future releases, working to continue streamlining the ordering process, particularly in album design.

Innovation from a product standpoint will also be critical, Millman says. While individual print sales have declined, wall art and larger print products are growing in popularity. Every photograph is no longer being printed, but favorite photos are being printed larger and on a variety of wall decor products.

One of Nation’s newest products is a wood wrap where the entire image wraps around the wood, including the sides. The company currently has about half a dozen new products in development, from a softer matte paper to cards made with wood.

“Innovation is really going to be the critical piece for those that are serving the markets of the future,” Millman said. “It’s not just innovation, [but] innovation in everything.”


Not just for Lightroom anymore, Loupedeck+ now works with Photoshop

Loupedeck+ can now help photographers edit in Photoshop too, thanks to physical controls for swapping tools, running actions, and more. The photo-editing console expanded to include Photoshop in the list of compatible editing programs.

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.

New Moment photo cases and lenses are a big plus for the OnePlus 6T

Moment has announced that it is now releasing photo cases and lenses for the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, giving owners of those phones the ability to add on some high-quality photographic accessories.

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.