Will the future ever be in sharp focus? Photography Licensing and Technology: adapting to change

The emergence of new technologies in recent years has given us more choice than ever and in the photography world there is no exception. The continued development of electronic imaging media along with the exponential growth of the internet in recent decades, has radically changed the industry, from a professional and an amateur viewpoint, in positive and negative ways. Through embracing change and learning to use new technology we keep things fresh, however the astute photographer has to navigate each and every change and adopt the best tools and business practices available to capture the image they require.

Recent changes in the image licensing market place serve as an illustration for the need to evaluate and adapt to change, whether we like it or not. Getty Images have now merged with Bill Gates’ Corbis Imagery and the two former rivals are now one. Getty Images owned by Visual China Group (VCG) have licensed Corbis Imagery to market images in all territories bar China, and thus Chinese business interests have now acquired access to the key Bettmann and Sygma image archives. Perhaps of more concern is the loss/inaccessibility of some stock Corbis Imagery photography sites, leaving users unpaid for their work, and speculation about limited contracts being available in the future with the new owners. Getty Images and its multiple image partners have gained a tighter hold on the global image licensing market and the photographic world will have to adapt, despite potential concerns over image censorship and artistic freedom due to Chinese ownership.

Looking at changing technology in a positive way, we can welcome the development of a new medium format digital camera sensor. Fuji-film are researching digital medium format sensors to be used in digital cameras, which will open up the medium format digital photography market to a much wider range of user. Medium Format digital photography can allow for better quality enlargements in comparison to smaller formats, and there’s the creative benefit of better field depth control. Whilst favoured by both amateurs and professionals alike, medium format equipment’s drawback is in both its cost and the availability of supporting services when compared to 35mm format. Hasselblad are a major player in the medium format camera market, but healthy competition from Fuji-film is no bad thing and should make Medium Format more accessible for all.

So, we've considered changes in marketing and accessibility, developments in technology, and now briefly turn to another dilemma of the digital age, how should you save your electronic image? The benefits of each image file type are discussed in detail here: https://www.ephotozine.com/article/jpeg-or-tiff-for-the-best-quality-prints--28996 . The article concludes that at the present time TIFF files are better to work with prior to converting to JPEG, if quality and printing are the main requirement. 

That’s todays snapshot, one things for sure, the world of photography remains as dynamic as ever and who knows what’s around the corner, a change is as good as a rest: or is it?

Key sectors > Financial and business services