2009 offered up some great developments on the technical side of the photography industry, while the down economy has squeezed many photographers. In this regard 2009 was certainly a year to both love and hate. What might be around the corner in 2010? Here are my 10 Photography Predictions for 2010:
- Computational Photography will hit a new landmark
Expect a variety of announcements in regard to computational photography in 2010. Cameras will certainly be taking a new path in their evolution as we got a glimpse of in 2009 with the open-source camera. Beyond 2010 we might see some of this technology in a more traditional commercial camera.
- Digital Noise Vanishes, but Faux Film Grain Comes Into Fashion
I think it’s fair to say the latest cameras that have come out from Nikon and Canon have nearly done away with digital noise even at traditionally ultra high ISO settings. Ironically I predict that as people get use to noise free photos faux film grain will come into style.
- Film makes a comeback… a small one
Counter to my earlier writing Film is Dead. No Really! film will catch on even more with photographers who have caught the digital photography bug. The population of film photographers will grow a bit in 2010 (beyond photo schools & fine art photographers), but the big question is, “Will this growth sway film manufacturers from discontinuing more film stocks?”
- Orphan Works Legislation Rears Its Ugly Head in Washington, but only Briefly
Orphan Works Legislation will reappear on Capital Hill, but only late in 2010. Even then the legislation will be put off until 2011 due to continued partisanship on larger economic and other social issues/legislation. Even though I’m making this prediction I’m making plans to watch for any movement on this legislation through out the year. Photographers cannot afford to remain idle on this issue. John Harrington’s Photo Business News & Forum does a great job on relaying updates & editorial to this legislation and an official site to monitor status of legislation moving through the U.S. Congress is govtrack.us.
- More Virtual Trade Shows
In order to maximize cost savings photographers and photo companies alike who are reeling from the down economy will opt to attend more virtual trade shows versus traditional trade shows. PDN hosted a couple of the more popular virtual trade shows this year. I’m expecting to see this trend continue through out 2010 until the economy improves.
- Camera Sensor Megapixel Wars Plateau
Camera manufacturers will focus on camera enhancements other than increased sensor resolution for new dSLR models. As the economy continues to struggle the broadest segment of the camera consumer market will accept the 20 megapixel sensor resolution as the norm. This will be driven by a slow down in sensor resolution research and a standardization of manufacturing for such resolutions. Even the biggest camera manufacturers hit hard by the economic melt down of 2008/9 are going to be looking for new ways to meet demand, remain competitive and most importantly cut costs. Expect to see marketing that reflects this shift in the near future. That being said the medium format digital photography market will see continued activity to optimize sensors falling in the 40-80 megapixel range. Even in this market attention will fall on improving ISO sensitivity and digital noise after the dust settles.
- Crowdsourcing of Photo Content Formally Threatens Microstock
The low end of the stock photography market will start to be squeezed in 2010 as crowdsourcing photo sites/services emerge. The early exploration of this trend has been happening with photo contest rights grabs (see How The Rights To Your Photo Are Being Hijacked Through Photo Contests & Social Media circa 2008), but will take on a more formal legitimate front this year. Why would I possibly imagine such a thing? Perception of the value of photography continues to plummet and its bound to get worse before it gets better. The only thing worse than photos that cost a few dollars to license are photos that can be used for free.
- Well Known/Famous Photographers File for Bankruptcy
Annie Leibovitz isn’t the only well known photographer facing tough times due to personal problems and an economy in free fall (see Agreement Reached on a Reprieve for Leibovitz Loan Repayment), she just may be the most visible. Photographers who have not embraced new marketing and revenue models will face the hardest of times. Those who have been slowest to adapt and have been over extended will suffer the worst fate. In 2010 it’s only a matter of time before news of bankruptcy hitting well known photographers comes to light.
- Self-publishing forces the transformation of traditional photo publications
The last 4-5 years have been a boon for photographers in publishing content online on their own terms via blogs, YouTube, etc. The last 2 years have provided even further opportunity to photographers as print on-demand services (Blurb, LuLu, MagCloud, and an infinite number of other printers) have established themselves. Photographer generated content as reached a tipping point at the close of 2009 and more traditional publishing outlets will begin to leverage this content for their own purposes. Whether content is integrated to a magazine web site or to the magazine itself editors will have an easier time picking and choosing content. The big question is will they opt to have this content in print or republish it online or both?
- dSLR Video Leans Toward Niche Adoption vs. Broad Consumer Adoption
I’m inclined to think that dSLR video will be wildly popular with a narrow audience and remain as an unused feature by the vast majority of the consumer market. Film & Television cinematographers will flock to dSLR video at a higher percentage than still photographers. The reason for this is cinematographers are already used to the extra cost of video production while most still photographers are not. Shooting production quality video with a dSLR requires a large outlay of cash for accessories, well beyond the budget of most still photographers. Thom Hogan’s recent observation (Dec. 29, 2009) highlights how low video enabled dSLRs fall on the top sellers list for camera manufacturers. Perhaps this is a sign of the tough economy limiting the number of upgrades photographers make, but in combination with random observation of friends & colleagues I’m finding that those with dSLRs that shoot video often never use the feature. If video is your thing be sure to check out Vincent Laforet’s predictions.
[tags]photography, predictions, 2010[/tags]