“We no longer need to focus on recruitment. We have teams together. It’s time to put our programs in place.” Jerry Grossman, executive director of the Imaging Alliance, is enthusiastic about 2019. “We’ve set goals and want to be measured on what we do.”
The organization encompasses every aspect of imaging, from major hardware to start-up software companies, from retailers to industry organizations as well as media companies. For the first time, TIA has brought together all aspects of the digital imaging industry to work toward financial success and growth.
Joe Dumic of B&C Camera in Las Vegas attends TIA events to connect and collaborate with the country’s best imaging minds. In New York, he attended TIA’s Salutes Photographers Who Give Back event.
Among other Salute recipients, Linda Solomon was recognized for her Pictures of Hope program. It showcases how images help families in homeless shelters escape and move up economically, physically, emotionally and educationally. Solomon stated, “A camera has changed my life and the lives of children who have met Pictures of Hope.”
Her recognition was through TIA’s Philanthropy Committee. Her message bolstered the concept of giving cameras—not phones—real cameras to kids.
TIA: Portraits of Love & #RealCamerasRock
In addition, Portraits of Love is likely the “philanthropic” familiar to photographers and retailers. Since its inception, 30,000 active U.S. soldiers have received professional portraits of their families. This growing program now includes portraits of military families as well as local first responders taken at local retailers. Its expansion brings the program’s outreach right into towns where TIA members live.
Moreover, TIA has a Real Camera Committee that actively raises awareness of the benefits of owning real cameras. The Real Camera messaging shows the consumer, as well as the media, there are situations where real cameras capture better images—or, in some cases, capture images beyond phones’ capabilities. At the hashtag #RealCamerasRock, there’s a growing collection of amazing pictures promoting outstanding, real camera photography.
The committee also produces short (45-second) videos that Imaging Alliance members can use to demonstrate what a real camera does. Some are available now, with the big rollout scheduled in 2Q 2019. If current TIA members post these vignettes on their social media, it would be more impressive than any television ad campaign.
“TIA’s ‘open source’ format of ideas and trends will lead to a collective focus on best practices to enhance experiences for the consumer. That will lead to maximized sales opportunities,” says Gino Belmonte, national accounts manager for Vitec Imaging Distribution and a recent recruit to TIA’s board of directors.
Imaging Alliance Committee News
What happened to all the buzz about VR and 360? TIA’s committee is setting up roundtables with manufacturers, designers and retailers to plot roadmaps designed to get consumer-embraced technology through retail channels where guidance is available. There are no answers yet, but by bringing all the players together, it’s more likely this technology can be delivered through retailers offering support and education.
Moreover, the PR Committee is working with mainstream media to keep key messages in the public eye. Most important is the idea of real printed images as tomorrow’s heirlooms. Connections with genealogy groups also constantly reiterate only a printed picture becomes a family treasure and puts faces to names on family trees.
In addition, the Alliance addressed attendees at the Traveling Mom conference. This multi-platform media company reaches millions with a network of seasoned travel writers and social media marketing experts. They ran a contest challenging bloggers to post pictures of themselves holding a printed image of their family.
The message concerned the “Lost Generation of Photos” that has occurred since millennials substituted image sharing that disappears in 24 hours for picture albums. Perhaps not germane now, as they get older this generation will recognize their family legacies aren’t available to the next generation.
The Print Committee also promotes prints as the only real solution for legacy family images. Project 240 suggests a miniscule goal: Make 20 prints each month, resulting in a 240-print album at year-end, thus saving your family’s history from a computer crash or a stolen phone.
Inspirational & Aspirational Photography
“Our industry abdicated the Joy of Photography to Samsung and Apple. Now it’s time for us to get back the concept of inspirational and aspirational photography. Our legacy is photography. We don’t need to promote sensor size or megapixels,” says Tom Gramegna, of Bergen County Camera in Westwood, New Jersey. “We have young teenagers in our store as well as in our classes who want to create better images. As they got older, we hired them to work in the store. They’re fantastic because they’re here for photography.
“That’s what the Imaging Alliance is promoting, and that’s why I’ve joined. Our industry has a great future working together.”