They may look like nothing more than black and white squares, but QR codes are quickly revolutionising the way we do almost everything! A QR code (short for Quick Response code) is a machine-readable code that consists of black and white squares that can be read in the same way as a barcode. They are typically used to store information or images and can be read by both cameras and smartphones.  This is a process that happens in seconds, meaning that in a newly touch-free world, QR codes are suddenly everywhere. There has been a 94% increase in QR code usage since 2018. But what can QR codes be used for? And how can QR codes be used to access multiple photos in a photo album? Here's everything you need to know:

What Can QR Codes Be Used For? 

The uses available for QR codes are near-endless. Because many smartphones have built-in QR code readers, QR codes are increasingly being used in a wide range of social situations. In a post-Covid-19 world where both tracing and minimising Covid-19 contact is vital, QR codes have been used for location tracking and for reducing the use of multi use items; you can scan a QR code to access a menu in a restaurant, for example. They are also regularly used in marketing and advertising campaigns because potential customers can quickly scan a QR code to access additional information. This can also lead to a reduction in advertising costs, with QR code usage reducing the need to print leaflets and flyers. In all these cases, the QR code will be used to direct to a website URL. 

Other uses for QR codes include, but are not limited to: 

- In retail, so that consumers can access more information about a product. 

- In the travel industry, to share information and simplify processes such as hotel check-in. 

- In the transportation industry, to provide real-time information to passengers e.g. the whereabouts of the bus, the next tram time, etc. 

- In property on 'For Sale' signs.

- To encourage email newsletter sign-ups for your business. 

QR codes can also be used in a non-business context, e.g. at special occasions for sharing wedding photos with guests or between social groups. But what if you want to share more than one image? Can you make a QR code for a photo album? The simple answer is yes. 

Using QR Codes for Photo Albums 

Because a QR code typically directs a user to a specific URL, if you want to share a QR code photo album then you would need to either create a folder in Google Drive or create an album in Photos and then generate a QR code for the link to either of these locations. You can then set up open access permissions so that anyone with access permissions can add their own photos to these albums. Whilst this makes sharing photo albums via QR codes possible, it is also quite a time-consuming and labour-intensive process. 

If you’re time-poor or want to create a shared access photo album via QR code for a special occasion, a much easier way of doing this would be to use a company like EventsAlbum. This is an online album generation website where anyone invited to do so can easily share their photos with you e.g., wedding guests can easily upload photos. You set up the album group, create a QR code and link to your album from their site. The whole process is quick and easy, and doesn't require you to download a photography sharing app (or do anything else time-consuming) to make it work! 

With the onset of social media and the prevalence of the camera-embedded smartphone, everyone’s an influencer, which means that you can’t escape user-generated content. There are 55.5 million smartphone owners in the UK: that’s 87% of all adults. Those cameras are everywhere, and so are the posts to Instagram. 

As a professional photographer, whether you’re attending a wedding or a corporate event, you can be sure that a whole host of attendees will be taking their own photographs of the event at the same time. But what are the pros and cons of this user-generated content? Could it be beneficial to professional photographers to have so much user-generated content from an event? Let’s decide: 

Pro: An Excellent Marketing Strategy

From the point of view of the event host and the marketeer, user-generated content is an excellent tool. It captures the fun of the event from the attendee's perspective, invoking positive emotions, instilling social proof, and creating a social media buzz around the event. The more unique users that share their user-generated content of your event, the bigger the buzz surrounding it and the greater the likelihood of it trending. From a marketeer's point of view then, user-generated content is a dream come true. 

Con: Do Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth?  

From a professional photographer's perspective, this enthusiasm is likely to be a little more tempered. It can be hard to get the shot you want when you have event attendees taking their own photos and creating their own content at the same time. This can be particularly difficult for wedding photographers that have a set list of images they need to secure, but they can’t get the shot because of the sea of other cameras (and camera phones) in the way.  

Pro: Platforms to share photos are a Great Way to Capture Intimate Moments and a New Perspective 

Even the very best photographer can’t be everywhere. If you’re busy capturing photos of the bride and groom with their families, then who is getting those shots of the groomsmen taking shots? User-generated content is a great way to get a new perspective on events. Even the most formal corporate events have moments of fun and joviality that the event organiser is going to want to see! This is one of the main benefits of user-generated content: it ensures that the event is caught on camera from every angle! 

Con: Too Much Can Be Shared 

Many private event hosts (such as a bride and groom) are reluctant to allow their guests to share their own user-generated content from the event, preferring to control which images are released and when. They don’t want to create a social media buzz around their wedding. And they don’t want their colleagues to see those photos of Auntie Beryl falling over after she’s had one too many! One way to avoid this, whilst still enabling guests to take their own photos, is to have an EventsAlbum for the event. This is a QR code-generated album that allows guests to easily and simply share their photos with the event host. That way, the host can see all those great photos, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to. 

User-generated content can be massively beneficial for corporate and public events: It creates a social buzz that can increase brand awareness, ticket sales, and overall event enthusiasm. And the content can raise a smile no matter the event: what bride and groom don’t want to see their flower girls and page boys sneaking a cake under the table? Whilst user-generated content is almost always a good thing, it is the way it is shared and distributed that often needs greater control. As a photographer, finding a way to implement this control could result in happier customers, which means great reviews and more business.