When the pandemic halted in-person gatherings, Stephen Marshall saw firsthand how photographers got creative.
“[Photographers] had to pivot and do a lot of different types of shoots. Someone who was a wedding photographer now pivoted to doing family shoots,” Marshall told Hypepotamus. Family preserved moments through porch photo shoots and other creative setups. And as social distancing made family gatherings harder, people started looking for new ways to preserve memories.
Atlanta-based Foreground is bringing together several brands to help photographers and customers alike better capture memories. Marshall, Foreground’s CEO, says the pandemic helped Foreground better understand the customers who use the brands under this new umbrella: ShootProof, collage.com, Táve, Cole’s Classroom, and Design Aglow.
“People really have gone back to not just valuing memories but memorializing those memories…people have gotten back to things they can feel and they can touch,” like physical prints and other unique keepsakes.
ShootProof, Design Aglow, Cole’s Classroom, and Táve help photographers scale their businesses, while collage.com brings new consumer options to those looking for creative ways to display photos. For Marshall, the new umbrella entity is helping small business photographers scale and serves as a type of one-stop shop for photography needs.
“We believe Foreground is revolutionizing the highly fragmented market for photography industry solutions and making it easier than ever for photographers to access the tools they need to start, run and grow their businesses,” noted Matt Stone, Managing Director at PSG, the Boston-based growth equity firm behind Foreground.
For Marshall, the pandemic offered a unique opportunity to better understand customers and photographers alike. “One of the interesting things that we learned is that 50% of our photographers, even prior to the pandemic, were part-time. And as we delved deeper we found that it was a high percentage of women…many were mothers who had really learned how to shoot families, their own first, maybe friends after that, and then got into the world of professional photography,” Marshall added. “We really see our platforms enabling those photographers to focus on their shoots and not on running the business.”
These five brands are joining forces to bring technology solutions to the $4 billion consumer and professional photography industry. Part of what has helped this growth, Marshall mentioned, was improved printing technology.
“In the world of Amazon, where people expect things to get delivered pretty quickly, personalized products are now to the point where you can order a very product and get it delivered in days, not weeks not months. And that’s really a combination of logistics and the advancements in printer technologies being able to put photos on nearly any substance you want.”
Marshall told Hypepotamus that while the lack of in-person events definitely changed the nature of the photography industry, the brands behind Foreground were able to scale operations both in Atlanta and across the world over the last year and a half.
“People want to walk around and see memories…they don’t want to see them sitting in a Google Drive or Google Photos,” Marshall added.