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article imageOp-Ed: Shutterstock adapting to changes in digital photography

By Elizabeth Brown     Mar 7, 2016 in Business
In December, Shutterstock launched a beta version of Shutterstock Editor, a free tool for editing photos that incorporates quick ways of adjusting images even before they are downloaded.
Perhaps more importantly, the move shows how the New York-based multimedia company is adapting its tools in an age when its audiences are leveraging social media and mobile technology.
Digital cameras are arguably becoming a thing of the past. It's estimated that people will take 1.3 trillion photos worldwide by 2017, with most of those (75 percent) being snapped up by smartphones. Digital cameras—which was regarded as a cool gizmo just a decade ago—will snap just 13 percent of photos by 2017, according to InfoTrends. Mobile devices—such as today's smartphones and iPads—are well-positioned to upload photos on social networking sites.
Shutterstock Editor is an attempt at appealing to the younger, social-savvy crowd by adding social components to its features. It matches the capabilities of an evolving imaging technology landscape, where selfies posted on Facebook can generate hundreds of likes, shares, and comments—audience engagement that leads to viral responses. Shutterstock's move also nearly coincides with Google's decision to abandon its Picasa editor tool in favor of Google Photos, a new app- and Web-friendly application.
With Shutterstock's new editing tool, users can find pictures through a more advanced search functionality. For example, you can find a photo and customize it without leaving your browser. Also, users can select a preset size for the most popular social media sites.
It seems many photo editing providers are running a race to capture as much market share in today's socially-connected world of multimedia. People around the world upload a whopping 1.8 billion digital images per day—equivalent to 657 billion photos annually. Much of today's digital images go to Facebook: In 2013, users uploaded 350 million photos per day on Mark Zuckerberg's social networking site, according to Internet.org. Given the trends in photography, metadata, big data, analytics, and other image-based technologies, what can we expect in the near future? Consumers may be increasingly pulled into the debate of convenience versus the ongoing concerns of privacy and data security.
That's because facial recognition software is becoming much more advanced than what many photo experts could have imaged just a decade ago. For instance, Facebook can recognize you in a photo just by knowing your intimate features, such as body type, clothes, posture, and location. In addition, technology is being developed where software can determine the location of where a photo was taken just by analyzing pixels on a screen. While we're not there yet, you may want to brace yourself for astounding advances in digital photography that may give you pause on where you want to share your photos online.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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