Digital Photography Challenges Publishers
The prestigious Yale Club in New York City was recently transformed into a digital photography studio. That's where executives of Quebecor World convened the company's latest session in its ongoing "Customer Seminar Program," an educational outreach curriculum for publishing professionals.
The topic: Digital Photography: Reaching Critical Mass. The breakfast, attended by roughly 180 print production professionals across publishing disciplines, focused on print production challenges brought on by skyrocketing use of digital photography.
Featured speakers included John Dougherty, director of digital technology at Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.; Howard Bernstein, principal partner of Bernstein & Andriulli; Mike Molkenthin, director of photography for Que-Net Media; and Quebecor World's Mark Jones, SVP of customer solutions.
One key challenge discussed at the event: keeping pace with digital technology. The speakers pointed out that publishers and photographers who need to work digitally face a seemingly unending upgrade path.
That's a strain on recession-era budgets, because professional digital cameras are significantly more expensive than 35mm mechanical film cameras. Then there's the supporting technology—special lenses, storage cards, printers, computers, photo editing software—which, the speakers said, are required to support a digital studio.
But the biggest challenge publishers face, the speakers said, is the skills gap. Once the digital decision has been made, publishers face steep learning curves. Production teams need to be trained on the new digital equipment, with techniques and workflows adjusted accordingly.
The adoption of industry-wide standards for the submission of digital photography will prove crucial to this process. The DISC (Digital Image Submission Criteria) workgroup of the IDEAlliance, Alexandria, Va., is working to develop, refine, and encourage adoption of such standards.
The speakers warned that publishers and catalogers who plan to go digital should also plan to keep photographers more involved in the photo editing and color management process. This to ensure that final published products are aligned with initial artistic intentions.