Hey there FashionPhotographyBlog.com readers. Recently, I received a request from a student fashion journalist on our FPBlog Facebook page asking me to offer opinions to help her out with her latest assignment. The question she posed was “Why online is overtaking print as the medium for hobby and trade magazines?” and more specifically those around the photography field.
I was really glad to have been asked this question, because, not many people are aware that I have been involved in the digital space for almost a decade and have observed communication trends evolve over this time. I’ve made predictions over the years that have since came true, funnily enough. What this means is that I’m able to share my insights in regards to why the internet is steamrolling print and other traditional forms of media and what this means for photography as an industry.
What we tend to forget as photographers is that photography as a craft, has always evolved with the technology at the time. It came into this world when painting was the respected art form, but gained its popularity after. From black and white film to photographs in color; from film to digital; from handheld cameras to smart phone photography. As you can see, the medium of photography is a product of human evolution.
The print industry, that includes book, magazine and newspaper publishing, are also susceptible to technological changes. Look how we read text these days; it’s through Kindles, smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. It’s how you are viewing this website :). This is why there are at least 3 reasons why I see photography trade and hobby magazines, jumping ship over the online threshold and providing their circulation on the web. These include being reachable, affordable and measurable.
– People can purchase and view hobby magazines online from the comfort of their homes anywhere in the world. Online publications are portable and accessible with the growth of smartphone usage.
– Nowadays anyone can access the internet in the palm their hands wherever they are.
– Online has a significant advantage in terms of reach, compared to products that are bound to physical locations, because consumers do not need to be in a specific location to purchase and interact with the product.
– The cost of production and distribution is significantly less in creating digital products than it is with physical products.
– The price tag on technology-based services continue to trend down making it even more possible for consumers to have access to household internet, and digital product creators can create virtual products, such as online magazines, at much lower costs than manufacturing these products in physical form.
– Interactions consumers make with online magazines or any virtual product, can be tracked. This means that data is more easily collected and decisions about the product can be made based on statistics rather than guess work.
– By analyzing the behavior of their customers, online magazine creators can evaluate what actually worked and what didn’t worked and make improvements based this feedback in time for the next issue, therefore continually improving and making changes in real time.
– With physical magazines, customer interaction and engagement is a lot harder to track.
The purpose of this article is not to discredit print mediums like photography hobby and trade magazines, or film. To this day I still love the smell of books and the feel of a glossy magazine in my hand, however as technology continues to evolve new doors open. Technology will make advancements whether we like it or not, so we should embrace it rather than trying to resist it and remember that, as photographers, we are participating in an art form that was born out of new technologies and innovation.
So what do you think of this discussion? Do you have an opinion on the future of printed photography hobby and trade magazines? Where do you see technology taking photography as a craft? Make your predictions the comment section below.