Smartphone beats studio business


Smart cell phones have now become ubiquitous and basic communications tools, capturing the market of camera.

As a result, many shop owners have already switched their businesses as people are not coming to them to purchase those items or hire photographers for taking photo.

According to Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) statistics, cell phone users in Bangladesh hit 162.920 million at the end of April.

Mahfuzur Rahman Liton, proprietor of Mitali Studio in Jurain area of Dhaka, said “People who come here prefer to take pictures while standing on the verandah of my studio. However, with the passage of time, due to digital technology, any picture can be added to the background.”

As a result, the value of these scenes painted on the wall is decreasing day by day. These backgrounds are not very useful with the advent of digital technology. Any picture can be downloaded from the net and applied to the customers’ want.

Another studio from Lalbagh area ‘Saikat Color Photo Studio’ owner said, “Technology has changed everything with time. Even just seven years ago people used to hire photographers before capturing photo. Nowadays, only few people especially only for official purposes come.”

“Other studios had competition with our studio, those are now old stories. I plan to wrap up my studio business”, he added. Mentioning the technological impact on photo studio business he said, it happened only because of mobile phone. They can capture high quality images with a handy phone.

Babu Pankaj Kumar Mondol, owner of Deepti-Sathi Digital Studio, said that those who come to the studio now come to take pictures for various official works, otherwise only on special or big events they hire photographers. Many university-going youths have chosen photography as their part-time job which also left an impact on our business.

Referring to the nineties he termed that it was the golden age of the studio business. At that time people used to come to the studio to take pictures as a hobby apart from the necessary work. 

Citing current reality of business, he said many have shut down their businesses due to the downturn in the studio industry. As a result, photographers are finding different ways to earn a living.

Sanaur Rahman Patwary, president of the Bangladesh Photographic Association (BPA), said the studio business is now in a plunge. This business is now grabbed by mobile camera. Amid the corona it is also struggling. People don’t want to come to the studio in fear of infection.

These days they are staying at home, printing them on his mobile phone. In the age of selfies and Digital Single-lens Reflex Camera (DSLR), the state of the studio business is absolutely chaotic, he added.

According to BPA, there are about one thousand studios and four hundred digital labs in the capital Dhaka. This number was higher earlier, it is decreasing day by day. And now one-third customers come in a day for the studio pictures.

Former economics professor at the University of Dhaka (DU) Nazrul Islam said, “Once upon a time, many people used to go to the studio to take pictures regularly. On special days like: Eid, Puja, Pahela Baishakh, Birthday, Wedding Anniversary, 16th December or 21st February, many people used to go to the studio. Now that trend has subsided.”

He also said, people save the PDF file of the photo while taking photo at studio. Later when he need pictures, they do not have to go to the studio. Having a PDF file makes it easy to print pictures.

Highlighting the current business trend he said, smart phone has grabbed everything inside, but technological improvement won’t bring any solution. So, studio owners will have to find some alternative ways to survive in this transition period.