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					"Connecting the Dots" to a Successful Photo Specialty Business

There’s really no other way to describe what’s happening in the photo specialty business. It’s just
growing like gangbusters. Here’s a little data to back that up. Worldwide revenue from custom
photo specialty merchandise was reported by IDC at $1.4 billion in 2007—a 64% increase over
2006. And many believe that those numbers really represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of
the long-term growth potential.

With the opportunity still on the upswing, you may even be thinking about taking your own shot at
this lucrative business. If that’s the case, you naturally want to take your best shot. And that
means having an integrated solution to connect all the critical dots—including the user interface
for customizing merchandise, taking orders, printing, finishing and binding.

Let’s take a quick look at the players, the range of choices, and how it all comes together.

“Hanging the shingle”

When you’re ready to take orders, it’s time to hang the proverbial shingle for your business and
start welcoming potential customers. That’s how you’ll provide prospects with a quick look at their
options for photo specialty products, such as cards, photo books, albums and calendars.

Not surprisingly, that requires software that enables customers to see your menu, make a
selection and lay out their photos in different templates. The software could be your own solution
or a commercially available application that lets you customize your “look and feel” and user
interface.

Other options involve how your customers connect to you. The most common choices are:
    In-store kiosk
    Web-based application
    Desktop application

Each solution has inherent advantages and disadvantages and may be targeted to different types
of customers, such as consumer, high-end amateur or professional photographer. The more you
know about your end-users—what they do, what they want, and when they want it—the better
your solution will fit their needs and yours!

Go with the flow

In dynamic digital photo specialty environments, easy-to-integrate, scalable workflows are critical
to efficient production and business management. The ideal environment uses a tightly knit
configuration of commercial web-to-print applications, photo creative tools, color management
and prepress solutions, finishing equipment and business management tools.

Job creation applications:
If you decide to purchase a job creation and order submission application, versus designing your
own, here are several proven, best-in-class solutions you may want to consider:

    Pixami Digital Print Production System. The Pixami Digital Print Production System is a
    complete web-to-print solution for online order creation and delivery. It drives orders to digital
    presses while significantly reducing cost of sales. The Pixami system is configurable for
    custom products and accepts custom content with a brandable user interface.
    www.pixami.com

    Digilabs. This easy-to-use software makes fully customized and professional looking photo
    calendars, cards and photo books. Materials may be printed in home offices, studios or labs,
    or through Digilabs printing services. www.digi-labs.net
    ip.labs The Internet Photo System (IPS) application supports all types of photo products,
    including prints, posters, photo gifts, calendars, photo books and many others, as well as
    back office and CRM solutions. www.iplabs.de

Workflow solutions:

    Ultimate Impostrip Book Stacker. This robust solution offers automatic optimization of
    imposition and production of short-run and personalized books. It includes a full featured,
    client-server, multi-user solution assuring predictable, continuous printing flow to your
    presses. It also simplifies preparation, eliminates repetitive set-up and performs flawlessly
    with variable data. www.imposition.com

    Press-sense Omnium. This JDF-based Business Flow Automation ERP solution has been
    created especially for printers. It enables planning automation, scheduling and full production
    floor automation. www.press-sense.com

    HP SmartStream Photo Enhancement Server. A fast, automated tool, this solution offers
    image sharpening, smoothing, contrast improvement and shadow
    enhancement. www.hp.com/go/graphicarts

    HP SmartStream Designer. A flexible, easy-to-use application, this solution enables the
    creation of full-color personalization. www.hp.com/go/graphicarts

Digital Front Ends:

    HP SmartStream Production Pro Print Server. This productive, highly automated DFE is
    engineered to manage large print volumes, as well as complex variable data jobs.
    www.hp.com/go/graphicarts

    HP SmartStream Ultra Print Server. A completely automated workflow and high-
    performance RIP solution, this DFE accommodates high-volume, short-run, image rich print
    production. www.hp.com/go/graphicarts

Digital printing: the picture perfect print solution

Given the nature of photo specialty products—typically produced in short run batches and quite
often individualized—digital printing is uniquely suited to this booming industry. And, of course,
true photo quality is paramount to pleasing the customer. With its proprietary ElectroInk
technology, HP Indigo digital presses feature the quality and productivity that has made them the
press of choice for photo specialty providers worldwide.

     HP Indigo 7000 Digital Press. With high productivity and low total cost for high-volume
     printing, this new HP digital press (launched at drupa 2008) offers striking photo and offset
     quality. It prints 120 4-color 8.5" X 11" size images per minute (two-up) or 240 2-color or
     monochrome 8.5" X 11" size images per minute (two-up). www.hp.com/go/graphicarts

     HP Indigo press 5500. Combining high productivity and profitability with photo and offset
     quality, this HP Indigo press delivers 68 4-color letter images per minute (two-up), 136 2-
     color letter images per minute (two-up), 272 full monochrome 8.5” X 11” images per minute.
     www.hp.com/go/graphicarts
Apply the finishing touch

Whether your product line includes photo books, albums, calendars, and/or postcards, you have
numerous options for finishing equipment. The good news is that commercial printers often
already have much of this equipment in place, which can be applied to photo specialty
production.
   Duplo Digital System 5000 Booklet Maker. The Duplo 5000 Booklet Maker produces full-
   bleed, trimmed booklets ready for delivery with JDF workflow in one pass. www.duplo.com

   Duplo DC-645 production color finisher. This near-line JDF enabled solution automatically
   slits, cuts and creases a sheet into fully trimmed documents in one pass. www.duplo.com

   Horizon APC 6111 Guillotine Cutter. A programmable hydraulic guillotine cutter, the
   APC6111 provides highly accurate cutting, durability, and simple operation. User-friendly
   touch-screen display, simple-to-use controls. www.horizon.co.jp

   Morgana AutoCreaser Digifold and CardMaster. Both of these automated creasing and
   creasing and folding solutions use a creasing rule and matrix that creases the substrate
   before feeding it into the folding unit. Eliminates the problem of cracking while folding digitally
   produced output. www.morgana.co.uk

   Morgana DocuMaster. An intelligent document finishing solution, the DocuMaster includes
   fully integrated feeder, creaser and booklet maker for precollated digital print jobs. Each
   element may be used separately for maximum flexibility. www.morgana.co.uk

   Horizon BQ-270 and BQ-470. These fully-automated, JDF compliant, perfect binders
   enable superior-quality short-run book production; up to 1300 cycles per hour.
   www.horizon.co.jp

   Horizon HT-30, HT-70, and HT-101. Three JDF compliant, low to mid volume three-side
   trimmers are designed for book feeding, trimming and stacking with full automation.
   www.horizon.co.jp

   Horizon HCM1/HCP1. Case maker and casing-in solutions, these Horizon tools are tailored
   for on-demand short-run environments. They produce up to 40 hard cover books per hour.
   www.horizon.co.jp

   Kolbus case maker DA-260 and Kolbus Casing-in BF-512. Engineered for high volume
   short-run hard cover book production, these Kolbus tools produce up to 30 cycles per minute.
   www.kolbus.com

   MBO Digifinisher. This highly effective saddle stitcher combines buckle fold and plow fold in
   one unit for high volume production. www.mboamerica.com

   RENZ punching and closing solutions. Ideal for Low to high volume double wire binding
   punching and closing solutions for producing double wire bound documents with RENZ RING
   WIRE®. www.renz-germany.de

   GBC Lamination solutions. Designed for low to high volume lamination solutions.
   www.gbc.com

   Rollem Jetstream. Jetstream is the ideal solution for slitting digitally printed business cards
   post cards and other multiple-up flats. Sheets are edge trimmed, slit and cut in one fully
   automatic system. www.rollemusa.com
    ODM On Demand Machinery. On Demand Machinery offers a range of products to address
    every aspect of casebook binding. www.odmachinery.com

    HP Indigo UV Coater. This advanced near-line or in-line solution is designed to optimize
    production on HP Indigo sheet fed presses, including the HP Indigo press 5500 and HP
    Indigo 7000 Digital Press. www.hp.com/go/graphicarts

Clearly, the tools have had several years to be perfected, the solutions are tightly integrated, the
quality is outstanding, and the market is primed. If you’re ready to give it a go, there’s really no
better time like the present.

				
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