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What the future holds for on-demand photography

David Soong
David Soong

CEO and founder of SweetEscape

Jakarta  /  Thu, September 26, 2019  /  09:43 am
What the future holds for on-demand photography

A holiday photo created with the help of SweetEscape, an app-based photography platform to have professionally-taken candid and flattering photos. (SweetEscape/File)

There are priceless moments in our life that deserve to be captured beautifully. A photographer for the past 20 years, I’ve captured different moments and places all over the world.

Photography is more than just capturing the perfect shot. By capturing a momentous occasion in the lives of couples and their families, a photographer preserves joyful times that people can revisit for years to come. That is the kind of magic photos can have.

With the current rapid advancement of social media and digital services, consumer demand for better technology is higher than ever. This is coupled with platforms like Instagram, which has become somewhat of an obsession for the younger generation all over the world. People are more open to sharing their personal lives through the internet, thus increasing the need for high-quality content.

The rapidly changing photography industry

For a long time, professional photographers were only hired for big-budget, high-profile events and individuals. However, the current market trend shows that professional photographers are increasingly needed for more intimate occasions, such as weddings, proposals, birthdays and holidays.

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Amid technological progress and a changing consumer landscape, the photography industry is evolving at a rapid pace. The concept of the sharing economy has become more familiar, everything is being reinvented and made simpler by technology. Led by start-ups built around the growth of technology, everything is more available and convenient to the mass market, including photography.

The global digital photography market accounted for US$79.12 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $149.98 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 percent during the forecast period), with Southeast Asia expected to be the fastest-growing market for the industry, due to the rapid economic development of countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand.

People are willing to spend money to hire professional photographers to get better photos, which creates a substantial opportunity for on-demand photography services in the region and beyond.

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The growing use of technologically advanced services in on-demand photography

Nowadays, the photography landscape continues to experience constant innovation and advancements to meet the needs of the fast-paced sharing economy. The use of advanced technology in photography ensures the production of highly defined and featured photographs. Thus, the use of technology will improve the quality of services, which will drive the adoption of on-demand photography services across the globe. To take advantage of this, a photography company needs to go further when it comes to leveraging technology.

One of the recent developments is work on artificial intelligence to accelerate and automate the post-production process to ensure image quality and photo delivery speed. Apart from the growing use of technology, factors such as the increasing demand for special occasion photography and the growing popularity of photography on digital media platforms will have a significant impact on the growth of photography services.

The challenge of on-demand photography platforms

While photographers and taxi drivers may have little in common, apps like the “Airbnb for Photography” face a similar challenge to ride-hailing Apps. They have to manage supply (photographers) and demand (customers) at the same time.

With taxis and ride-sharing, this is a pretty straightforward idea, but it’s more complex with photographers. In professional photography, there’s a relationship with the customer that lasts longer than a 10-minute drive. There’s a plan, the shoot itself and then the delivery of the final product.

Balancing the needs of both parties in this process can be a bit tricky. In the sharing economy era, where strangers can build trust, this is how on-demand photography disrupts the market. It creates the trust to connect a customer with a reliable photographer and deliver the photos through the platform. Then it takes everything else out of the equation and leaves photographers with just one thing, the one thing they love to do – taking photos. (kes)


The writer is the CEO and founder of SweetEscape, an AI-driven photography platform that offers photography for every moment in more than 500 cities around the world. He obtained his bachelor's degree in marketing from Seattle University, United States.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.