As technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s crucial that card offices keep up with the current technological trends. Cameras are no exception.
When purchasing a camera for the card office, there are more factors to consider than just the camera’s price alone. And while it may be tempting to spring for the most expensive, feature-laden hardware, high-end cameras may not always be the best option. Instead, card offices should seek a camera that best fits the needs of the office.
Framing the issue
There are two important factors that should be considered when choosing a camera. First and foremost, card offices need to consider how far their students will be from the camera.
If a card office has students stand more than several feet away from the camera when snapping the ID photo, then it might be necessary to find a high-quality camera that produces a clear image of the student at greater distances.
“Not all cameras are made equally,” says Mark Degan, the director of Corporate Marketing at ColorID. “If you only need to take a picture of a student who is standing two feet away, you likely won’t need a high-power camera.”
The second factor that card offices should take into consideration is how much natural and artificial lighting is available in the office. “If you’re in a place with ample lighting and residual lights from the outdoors, that’s a good environment for capturing an ID photo,” says Degan. “Those campuses can often get away with just using a webcam.”
But not all offices benefit from natural lighting. “We see some card offices that are located in the basement of a student union, or have only florescent lighting. These environments aren’t as conducive to capturing a good image,” Degan explains. “These office will often have to counter that with additional sub-lighting, like a flash. And even then, every camera is going to act differently depending on the lighting you have.”
Coming into focus
When choosing a card office camera it’s also important to take the manufacturer into account, as some companies offer better quality cameras than others.
“The web cameras we recommend are from Logitech. They have nice HD cameras that offer a good range,” Degan suggests. “We also recommend hardware from Canon. Their point-and-shoot Canon Powershot takes very good mid-range photos at anywhere from two to twelve feet.”
Card offices should additionally consider the camera’s warranty before making a purchase. For ColorID’s Pro Image Series cameras, the company offers campuses a wide range of additional services including overnight shipping in the event that a camera suddenly burns out or breaks down, while even camera hardware at the more cost-effective end of the Pro Image Series spectrum carries a one-year warranty on parts.
Some products may also require customers to pay to send back their product. However, Degan says that those enrolled in ColorID’s CHOICE program can opt for overnight replacements for those models, as well.
“If you’re a school that needs one of the lower-end models, you can always roll the camera package into our CHOICE program,” Degan says. “If you have the ColorID CHOICE support program for your printers, you can add camera hardware to it and dictate if you want an overnight replacement in the event of a product issue.”
Looking down the lens
Remote cameras are an exciting tool that can ease the photo-taking process for both the card office and the customer. Depending on the chosen hardware, an office can mount the camera unit on a wall and can take pictures from longer distances of up to thirty feet away.
“Remote cameras have the capability of zooming in while still taking HD quality images, with features that enable you to pan up, down, left and right, so you’re not constantly telling the student to move,” Degan says.
Of course, it’s worth noting that the rise of online photo submission in recent years has changed some of the traffic habits at card offices with regards to camera equipment and snapping photos. These third-party cloud solutions offer several benefits, including eliminating long lines of students waiting to have their photo taken at the card office.
“There’s a multitude of companies that offer cloud solutions where students can take a selfie on their phone and send it straight to the card office,” Degan says. “We’re seeing some campuses now taking that to the next level by leveraging more mobile devices, like phones and tablets, on site as well.”
But regardless of the number of students participating in online photo submission, reissuance will always be a reality, along with the need for quality in-house camera hardware. “There’s a full range of camera options that can benefit a campus card office,” says Degan. “As long as you assess your office’s needs before making a purchase, there’s a right fit for everyone.”