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Partner Profile: Flam

Updated: Apr 20

Malhar Patil, the co-founder of Flam, a SPOA Industry AI Partner, is bullish about the future of the volume photography industry. Since last year's SPOA conference, the company has embarked on numerous partnerships, inside and outside the school portrait industry.

Malhar Patil

Flam has a set of AI-powered tools for adding videos, animations, and other content to still images.

Since launching last year, Patil said the company has learned a lot about what digital products customers will buy. Through extensive customer research, the company learned that, while parents like the idea of augmented reality videos with their school pictures, the process is not convenient for them. "A lot of parents still place [school portrait] orders on their laptop, so we realized we were early to the market for that particular product," he said. The company is still devoted to developing the school photography product portfolio.

Another application the company is working on, outside of school photography, is an "instant-app solution," where AR content can be launched without the installation of an app. Flam is offering an SDK solution where brands and marketers can launch video content directly from a print ad or billboard, simply by pointing a mobile phone at an image.

Patil is part of SPOA's initiative to encourage the ethical usage of AI. For example, he recommends, that when looking for an AI development partner, a school portrait company should look at the data sets being used.

"You have to have the confidence that they're using the right model and the right set of images," he said. "If you want to create a model where you want the 'best crop,' this is always a debatable question. 'Best crop' is different for each photographer." Therefore, he recommends using a photographer's data files, which include not only their preferred crops but also those orders that have been purchased. This will inform the AI system which cropped picture styles are more likely to lead to a purchase.

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