New photographers today can buy their first camera, take lessons on how to use it, research photography destinations, order prints and books of their work, and start selling it without ever setting foot in a brick-and-mortar camera store or printing business. It’s hard to imagine how any photo store with an actual sales floor can still survive.
Some definitely aren’t. It’s been more than a year since Ritz and Wolf Camera, one of the larger names in the sector, sold off its remaining physical stores to an asset liquidation firm. Standalone establishments have struggled to hold on as well, and towns from New Jersey to California have witnessed the closing of their local photo shops. That’s a good thing if you like liquidation sales. Otherwise, not so much.
But still some persist, and even flourish, despite tough conditions. In order to understand better how photo shops are competing in today’s turbulent photography market, I spoke with the owners of two different establishments. Read more…
After a couple of months in beta, the photography review site DPReview is finally announcing the official launch of an online store that bears the website’s stamp of approval. Named GearShop, it’s a specialty camera store that will stock its shelves with only DPReview recommended and approved products. Read more…
Check out this photo showing the inside of a camera shop (and pharmacy) from 1910. It’s the image on a postcard that’s currently being auctioned over on eBay (with a starting bid of $100) by a seller named 2raccoons. Here’s the description:
Up for auction is this extraordinary photograph of a woman in standard Gibson dress standing at a store counter purchasing a Kodak folding camera. The store employee is wearing a jacket and bow-tie which adds charm to the photograph. It is uncertain if the woman is actually buying the Kodak camera, or if the scene here is “staged,” but $25 is about what one would have paid for the Kodak folding camera at that time, which can be seen on the cash register.
$25 for a top-of-the-line camera. Not bad. Add a couple zeros to that price and you’ll get what many DSLRs are selling for these days.
Here’s another sign of the changing times: so many camera shoppers are turning to the Internet for deals that some cameras shops are now charging fees for customers who want to test out their cameras. The Daily Telegraph writes,
Camera House Caringbah owner Craig Mackenzie charges a $30 “explanation fee” to customers looking to test out his high-end cameras.”I’ve got to pick the people who won’t screw me over,” Mr Mackenzie said.
“If I pick the wrong one, he’ll waste half an hour of my time and will then ask me to write it all down.”
A survey conducted by the paper of more than 1000 people also revealed that 61% had tried out products in local stores before actually buying them online, and half of those people had done so more than five times.
(via Daily Telegraph via Sydney Morning Herald)
Image credit: Camera Store by Helga’s Lobster Stew