Seattle Dusk, 1/2/2005 - Lens: AF Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 D ED  
  Focal Length: 200mm; Exposure: 1/125 sec - f/8  

Let's face it: we're visual creatures, which is why advertising usually resorts to images to get its message across. Unfortunately, the kind of slick, high-impact pictures so prevalent in the world of glossy magazines tend to be quite expensive; indeed, a single "rights-managed" photograph for use in a print ad or direct mail piece can easily set your company back $500 or more. So for those businesses and organizations on a more limited budget there are really only a couple of options: make do with less expensive fare -- such as the royalty-free collections put out by Comstock or Photodisc -- or simply do without.

I'm not a big fan of "doing without." Yes, effective campaigns have been built around simple graphics or even a few select brushstrokes, but a single great shot of a Cancun sunset will do more to promote business at a travel agency than a dozen abstractions.

I'm also not a huge fan of stock collections: getting fifty or a hundred professional shots at $5/per picture may seem like a bargain, but how many of those shots are actually useful, let alone compelling expressions of the strengths and values of your company? Not many, I'd wager.

As a result, I've had to acquire an additional set of skills for my graphic design work: the skills of the professional photographer. At the end of the day, you can only do so much with generic images; if you want to capture a specific look for a particular ad or ad campaign, sometimes you need custom "building blocks" to work with.

A word about my equipment: I use a Nikon D70 digital SLR together with a range of high-quality Nikkor lenses, lens filters, and a sturdy Manfrotto tripod. Quite frankly, these tools have been some of the best investments I've ever made. The D70 is truly an excellent camera: a light, responsive 6.1 megapixel workhorse with excellent color fidelity and acceptable noise levels at most ISO settings. (Though, like most photographers, I also utilize noise-reduction software to get the best possible results out of every shot.)

If you'd like to learn more about the D70 I recommend the following sites:

(Rockwell's site, in particular, is an amazing repository of photographic knowledge, regularly updated by the veteran professional. If you're ever in the market for an unbiased assessment of different cameras or lenses, written by someone testing the equipment under field conditions, look no further than Ken Rockwell.)

My rate for all photographic work is $30/hr (excluding travel expenses, if applicable). Interested in a low-cost alternative to generic stock photography and expensive "rights-managed" work? Then by all means follow the links above ("Macro," "Prime," "Zoom," "Stock" and "Model") to peruse samples of my work. If you have any questions about the photographs, the equipment, or how I may be able to assist you or your company, please don't hesitate to contact me.

(785) 979-5794 -- M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. CST