As an amateur photographer considering how to best break into a field already full of creative experts, I know that creativity is a must to get any kind of recognition. I have to do something to make my work stand out above the other work that is being promoted in this field. Obviously, buying quality equipment to work with is a must. A digital SLR, a variety of lenses from telephoto to wide-angle, a tripod, and adjustable flashes all help to make pictures look sharp and colorful.
It’s also essential to own a computer that’s built for photo viewing and editing. A large screen (20 inches or more is great) with a high resolution and adjustable color balance lets you view your pictures in the best possible light while editing and preparing to print them. A picture won’t look exactly the same on the printed page as it will on the screen, but a low-budget monitor could keep you from seeing anything close to the final printed product and ruin your chances at getting good color balance in your prints.
Memory speed also affects how quickly you can sort through and edit pictures. A processor close to the cutting-edge speed of the time should do you for a couple of years. As to RAM, the amount that can be crammed into a tiny memory stick increases every year. It’s good to get as much as you can, especially for running advanced image editing programs like Photoshop that use complex algorithms.
Speaking of Photoshop, consider the software needed for editing and storing photos. Several image editing programs are available, but it’s good to spend the money for a professional program if you are planning to produce a decent number of pictures for commercial use. You also need to consider how you will store, organize, and back up the photos. Commercial software is available to keep track of the hundreds and thousands of pictures that will clog your hard drive.
I need an easy way to take some pictures and show them to a potential client. Maybe a way that he could see them at home but not be able to copy them for his own use. I considered using custom flash drives, sorted by category (wedding portrait, family, scenery, etc.) so I could give them to people based on what type of photography they are looking for. I can choose from a variety of layouts to display the photos and even have a custom one design that prevents a user from taking picture files from the flash drive.
CFGear.com sells flash drives in bulk and can pre-load them with the images I want. I can also have the logo for my studio printed on every flash drive (and I can choose from a variety of physical designs for the drives). They can certainly offer me the tools for the competitive edge I want for my company.