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My Fearless Prognostication About the Future of Resort Marketing Photography

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Following up on last week’s theme on content marketing, I decided to jump right into a very related, very important field: marketing photography. Why it works, how to do it better, and the future of this medium are under the lens all week long.

Photography is in a very unique time for both its history and its relationship with marketing.

A couple decades ago, film cameras created sparse records of a day on the slopes…if they weren’t overexposed, that is. Grainy, poorly framed, “I hope that turned out okay” shots of this and that were the only record.

Now, runs are filmed by skiers wearing multiple, high definition cameras with framerates that allow viewers to see motion not visible to the naked eye.

The Pace
Photos are being taken at, frankly, an astonishing rate. The chart below seems impressive at first glance. Then you realize that the vertical axis isn’t to scale and it blows your mind.

Source: 1000 Memories

According to the chart creators, “every 2 minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s.”

Does it create noise? Yes. Does it create opportunity? I think so.

The Future
Let me prognosticate a bit about where I see the future of resort photography going. Namely, I’ll focus my brush on three areas as I paint this nearly perfect picture of the future: quantity, quality, and source.

Going forward, I think resorts will post fewer and fewer photos…well, to a point. Rather than an album of 25+ pics of the pond skimming event or opening day, I think more resorts will start to pair it down to a few photos, or even just one, that represents the event. Rather than a shotgun approach to imagery, they’ll draw from an intentionally small pool for both social media and print. This will cut down on time, noise, and allow for an increased focus on…

As technology improves, I think we’ll see resorts increase the quality of their photos. In the not too distant future, resorts of all sizes (especially the smaller ones) will connect the dots between how sharp an iPhone photo looks on Instagram and how poor their unedited, DSLR photos look in their Facebook gallery. Again, smaller quantity to make time for increased quality so the same images can be used both online and off.

Not every Loveland has a Dustin Schaefer. Meaning, most resorts with the skier visits Loveland, CO sees don’t have a group sales guy who has solid talent behind the lens. With more insights into who guests really are through social media data, I’d expect more resorts to work with their guests who do have photo skills. In other words, more resort photos will be taken by people other than professionals or resort employees. This will be especially true as photo enhancement software gets more mainstream, one-click, and cloud-based.

The Gist
The gist is this: the number of photos our society takes is growing exponentially. While the growth will inevitably slow, photos will be in more places than every going forward.

For resorts to stand out, I think it will take a massive (and I don’t use that word lightly) focus on quality. To maintain that quality it will mean publishing fewer photos and relying on other, talented people at your resort (not just employees) who can supply the images you need. With high quality that closely aligns with the brand message, resorts will be able to use these images everywhere as a second logo to make their mountain recognizable and memorable.

Ready or not, marketing photography week has begun.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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