All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Business Administration (MBA)


College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program



Business Administration


photography, processing, computer graphics


Custom photographic laboratories flourished with little effort during the early 1980's. A sellers' market existed and technology remained constant. Now this sector of independent business combats intense competition and technological changes. Some labs have sold out, some have tried to administer stability, while still others have pursued continuous change. However, the opportunity stream that once fueled profitability is nearing its finite life. Technology is rapidly changing and custom photo labs may be faced with the critical issue of survival. This thesis focuses on the change from exclusive silver halide technology to one that incorporates electronic imaging technology.

The first chapter begins with a brief historical perspective of the photographic industry. While this industry is in maturity, new and improved products are available because silver halide technology is in the midst of its greatest refinement. Next, the five phases of electronic imaging is presented. Of primary importance is the fact that the electronics revolution has already impacted the consumer market. Second, custom labs have been, as a majority, resistant to change. New competitors are offering substitute products and services that have been generated electronically. As a result, demand is shifting and the labs prior target markets are diminishing.

The nature and purpose of custom photographic laboratories is discussed in Chapter Three. Traditional services and the changes in services offered will be analyzed relative to the competition. Although intangible services are offered, the conversion process outputs tangible products. Therefore, the Product Life Cycle concept will be utilized, in terms of product output, to help assess the changing nature of competition, costs and market opportunity over time.

Last, a number of future directions that a lab could choose is determined. However, this chapter addresses the need for custom labs to successfully manage silver halide technology and electronic imaging technology parallel to one another. Strategic planning is the first issue analyzed. Second, entrepreneurial management of risk is discussed in terms of long term success. Third, the marketing concept is investigated relative to strategic marketing planning process.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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