Going Prosumer

By: Tara Baker

Every day life may seem mundane to some, but for amateur photographer Will Highsmith it is the perfect inspiration for a captivating image.

"Most of my pictures aren't planned," Highsmith said. "I just take my camera with me wherever I go. I found that's how you get the best pictures."

Highsmith, who works by day as Operations Director for an Atlanta-area manufacturing company, got his first digital camera in 1999 for an upcoming European vacation. Nearly a decade later, what began as a means of preserving memories overseas has evolved into a hobby that has landed Highsmith's work in show rooms along side the work of more established professional photographers.

"Nowhere is the technological gap between amateurs and professionals smaller than in photography," said Highsmith. "Today's amateur photographers have a lot of choices for affordable equipment that - up until recently - were available only to professionals with big budgets. Equipment is no longer the difference between an amateur and a pro - now it just comes down to talent.

The revolution in the photography market may have started with cameras, but change is spreading throughout the photography landscape.

Low-cost ink-jet printers from manufacturers such as Epson and Canon have made traditional development services ancient history in just a few years, and other creative options have also become available.

"There are a lot more things you can do with your digital photos these days," Highsmith said. "I don't just print out my pictures and hang them on the wall anymore, I use a PhotoBook Creator (www.MyPhotoBookCreator.com) to make very small photo books to hand out instead of business cards. Other people's business cards get thrown away, mine end up on the coffee table!"

Highsmith's book of choice for personal promotions is the 4x6 black-linen photo book. Small enough to carry and distribute in multiples, they are also easy to assemble at home.

"The 4x6 books are perfect for souvenirs," Highsmith said. "I also showcase my images by putting them up on Flicker, which gets a good number of people viewing and posting comments," he said. "These things got me into the photo shows at Eastside Lounge in Atlanta. I've got several of my photos hanging up there now."

Of course, Highsmith attributes his burgeoning success to his artistic talent, "but no one would have ever seen my work if it weren't for the Internet and the PhotoBook Creator. These technologies have enabled me to share my work with lots of people, and that is what has been key to getting my work into shows."

You can see Will Highsmith's work by visiting his website at WillHighsmith.com. Learn more about the PhotoBook Creator at www.MyPhotoBookCreator.com.

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