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Shutterbug: going digital

Digital technology could give you an edge in the photography business. Shutterbug: going digital Digital technology could give you an edge in the photography business.

Dear Molly: Photography has always been a fun hobby of mine and recently I bought my first digital camera. It’s been such a great new toy that I am thinking I should really go ahead and open my own part-time business photographing weddings, family reunions, and so forth. How can I learn more about digital photography as a business?

Molly says: Digital cameras have been around for about 10 years and most–maybe all–of the images you see in newspapers are now taken with digital cameras. Newspapers aren’t shy about spending lots of money to get photographs to press as soon as possible, but small-business owners have been. In the last few years, digital photography technology has gotten good enough, cheap enough, and easy enough to make it more attractive for companies on limited budgets. So, you’re right on top of the technology curve given your objectives.

You could just run around with your digital camera and take pictures, but you need to learn more about digital photography and find ways of adding value to your services to rise above the film-based competition. For example, since your shots are digital, you could offer to put together Web-based photo albums for clients. Instead of waiting weeks to share wedding photos with friends, you could have a Web-site album ready in days or even hours. That way family and friends around the world could share in the excitement.

Going further with the idea, you could use a digital video camera to capture the event and post snippets of video and audio on the site. You could even arrange for a Web cam to carry the event live via your Web site!

There are lots of good resources out there for amateur photographers interested in digital photography, but not so many for professional photographers. Here are a few of the sites I recommend to professional photographers interested in switching to digital photography or incorporating it into their film-based business: The Photo Marketing Association, Imaging Insider, and the American Communications Institute.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at

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