Everytime I paint a portrait I lose a friend. (John Singer Sargent)

Photography is an excellent skill. Not as important as your drawing and computer art skills, but still quite useful in any job. Just don’t start thinking that mastering photography will get you a raise; in itself, it won’t. These days, most people have a digital camera, and think they are good photographers. They may not know bupkus about apertures or shutter speeds, but so what? Even inexpensive little cameras now have highly sophisticated auto-exposure settings. Box Brownies on steroids!

At work, all your manager needs is a good, simple, clear photo of a part, a location, or an assembly procedure. These are easy pictures that anyone can take poorly. You can learn to take them well. Sometimes a photo of a workgroup, celebrating the end of a project. You might think this is a stupid waste of your time, but corporate managers greatly value anything that builds employee morale. Try to see it their way, and help them out any chance you can get.

Secret – Even though your cell phone can take a good picture if there’s enough light, you might want to get a ‘real’ camera. I recommend an older Pentax K-5 IIs with a Pentax 16-85mm lens, for starters. Easy to use, just put it on Program and take your pictures. Best of all, like any DSLR, it looks ‘professional’. Which definitely helps when you sell a new client, or want to impress your boss.

Perfect for quick workplace technical photography... and adding value to your job.

Lastly, all your pictures will go into PowerPoint presentations, intranet web pages, elearning modules, marketing data sheets, reports, and so on. You just don’t need a ‘better’ camera for that, because most screen output resolution is only 100 ppi, with the exceptional iPhone resolution at 326 ppi. Brochures for office printers and Xerox Docucolors? Make your artwork 300 ppi at most. If in doubt, it’s safe to use 300 ppi for artwork that will display perfectly on any device or printer.

Photographs themselves? You’ll never make prints larger than 8” x 10”. At 300 ppi, that’s 2400 px by 3000 px, or 7.2 MP – well within the capability of any 10 MP inexpensive camera. Actually, at work, you’ll probably never make regular photo prints at all! What for? It’s a digital world these days... and the photos you take only have value when used as part of something else.

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