As photographic technology improves and becomes more accessible to amateur and professional photographers, we need to keep an eye on how these advances impact our industry and how we can use them creatively to improve the way we work with clients. Over the past year, we’ve spent hundreds of hours studying the development and progression of photography-related technology. Here are our predictions for trends we expect to see in 2017.
Mirrorless cameras will continue its slim form factor, keeping them lighter and easier to carry around. In 2017, Sony, Canon, Fujii, and Panasonic will continue to make advancements in capabilities, image quality, and performance. These advancements will further blur the lines between DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
In the last 9 years, smartphone cameras have made huge improvements in image quality. These improvements are a result of state-of-the-art sensors being used. In 2017, the next Apple, Google, and Samsung phones will define this category as an all-in-one solution for the aspiring photographer. While professionals and amateurs are beginning to use the same tools and workflows, we expect to see all photos from a single event on one platform creating a unique viewing experience.
Despite the improvements of mirrorless and smartphone cameras, professionals will still lean on the flexibility and capability of DSLR cameras. In 2017, we can expect updated models by virtually all the big name camera manufacturers along with a new lineup of lenses. By the end of 2017, we could start to see DSLRs become more of a niche product as mirrorless and smartphone cameras become more capable and affordable.
Drones will continue to provide photographers with creative shots – once only possible on big-budget feature films. In 2017, we’ll see drones have better optics, greater battery life, and new recognition technologies that will prevent accidents.
In 2017 we expect GoPro to continue to evolve its Hero line, making them more capable with better optics and battery life and a focus on recognition technologies. GoPro’s will be more affordable, making them more accessible. For event photographers, this may present unique opportunities for additional creative shots.
Live Social Sharing
Facebook Live and Twitter’s brand- new “Periscope-free” live video capabilities mean that watching events in real time is becoming more and more expected. In the wedding industry, live video could mean guests who can’t make it can now tune in and watch the wedding unfold from anywhere in the world. As live social sharing of weddings and events becomes more popular in 2017, so will the desire for controlling who shares images and video and how they get shared. Snapshots’ ability to maximize live interaction within the limits of a defined community helps address these private-public concerns.
Filters and editing have become a way of life for the casual photographer, and so they become even more important for the professional photographer. In 2017 the lines will continue to blur and it will become harder to tell which photographs were edited by amateurs and which by pros. As these lines blur, it’s important that professional photographers find new ways to deliver value to clients. On-demand delivery of photos in an easy-to-understand format, that also fosters open communication between photographers and their clients will become a must-have. This is something we made a top priority when we were developing the client galleries for Snapshots.
Thanks to Amazon Cloud, iCloud, and Google Drive, in 2017 clients expect to be able to store, save, and revisit their photos forever. Storage is inexpensive and very accessible. While there are many robust storage solutions available, most aren’t specifically designed for the way professional photographers work with their clients.
Personal Assistants & Computer Vision
Digital personal assistants are only getting smarter in 2017 and this will prove to be a huge help to photographers who need to organize all of the photos that they are now storing. New camera hardware and software will also incorporate computer vision, making facial recognition, object and scene detection possible. Saying, “Siri, find me all pictures with Aunt Bess on the beach,” will start to make it feel like you have your own photography intern.
Technology isn’t just changing the way we work; it’s also changing the way we get paid. With Square and other flexible, low-fee programs, there’s simply no excuse for any photographer to not take credit cards. But, the digital wallet is the next big thing. By the end of 2017 more and more photographers will be accepting contactless payment services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. Given the huge role Apple and Google already play in the life of a photographer, this should be an easy transition.
The technology trends of 2017 bring exciting and innovative possibilities for our industry. At the same time, these trends also bring the technical capabilities of amateur and professional photographers closer together. In 2017 the successful event photographer will be the one who harnesses the latest technologies to surprise their clients with new levels of professionalism, creativity, customer service, and overall enhanced experiences.