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Camera Chronicles

Kodak now tempts consumers with memory books and wedding albums

Kodak now tempts consumers with memory books and wedding albums

Spotlight

Canon EOS 650D

This camera has an 18-megapixel sensor,improved auto focus and an ISO range of 100-12,800. Its auto focus system focuses even before the shutter button is pressed,an improvement on older models.

It’s World Photography Day today,so let’s look at the return of yesteryear’s camera giant — Kodak. It recently launched two photography services — Kodak Collections and Wonder Years. After a long time,the company has returned to the consumer side of the business,shifting its focus from making cameras and films to helping people get the best possible “Kodak moments”.

Seldom does one find well-produced wedding albums. Photographers usually re-use templates for every wedding,and customers have to accept what is given. Kodak’s album (weddingcollections.kodak.com) offer different templates for the engagement and wedding ceremonies to the reception and other events. The company aims to lure the younger generation by closely studying the wedding decor and other aspects of the function that will be part of the wedding album composition.

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It has tied up with several photographers in Mumbai,Aurangabad,Chennai,Bangalore and Delhi. So what’s in it for the photographers? “A wedding photographer clicks about 800 pictures from morning to night. We approached some of them and told them to focus on photography,while we make high-quality albums for them. We sell the albums to photographers,improve their end product and reduce their workload,” says Prabhala Raghuvir,Kodak’s vice president (marketing),India.

The service will range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh. The company has set up retail outlets for photographers,but does not deal directly with customers. “Our website is open to all. People can choose from over 40 templates and choose customised albums to suit their personalities. Once that is done,they can request for a photographer and we ensure the photographer gets in touch,” says Raghuvir,who has worked for Kodak since 1994.

Once the world’s largest camera manufacturer,off late,the company has been through several ups and downs. In January,Kodak had filed for bankruptcy and decided to sell thousands of its imaging patents. In India,it’s a different story. “We have been present in the corporate/entrepreneur sector and actively deal with the government too. Kodak scanners were used during the 2011 Census and our printers are being used at many Unique ID (UID) centres. We have also been selling products for newspaper printing,photographic paper,instant photographs at amusement parks such as Essel World in Mumbai. Our camera and film business has shut down on the consumer end,but everything else has been growing,” says Raghuvir. Kodak also sells films to filmmakers. Movie buffs who saw the last of the credits roll of Dark Knight Rises would have noticed ‘Kodak Motion Pictures Ltd’.

At the consumer end,Kodak’s other photo album service,Wonder Years,hopes to change school photo albums,which have been a dull group photo for as long as one can remember. Wonder Years (wonderyears.kodak.com) offers schools a memory book instead of a group photo. This means every child will get a personalised album every year,with messages from teachers.

“We went to Datta Meghe School in Airoli,Navi Mumbai and introduced our product to parents at the school. We told them each album will have a large photo of a child,with photos of classmates and teachers on separate pages and personalised messages to complete the memory book. Parents liked the idea though they have to pay four to 10 times more. We knew then,that we had an exciting product,” says Raghuvir.

Though the idea for Kodak Collections and Wonder Years took shape in March 2011,Wonder Years came into the market only in January this year and Wedding Collections in May. The company also plans to sell yearbooks. “We plan to target places such as the National Defence Academy (NDA) where pictures comprise the cadets training throughout the year. It is likely to appeal to them,” says Raghuvir. From capturing Kodak moments,the company has moved to telling our stories. Only time will tell whether these photo album services will prevail in the market.