Pros n Cons

revolution themesBill Pennington majored in photography in college before eventually finding himself with a career at an internet startup. While photography was a passion, it didnt become his life’s work. Recently Bill has rediscovered his love, taking photos and submitting them to stock agencies to get a bit of money to cover the cost of new gear.

Bill isn’t an amateur, and he isn’t a pro. He’s part of an exclusive new slice of the market pie, the prosumer.

Prosumers aren’t quite experts in the field, but they know a little more than you average email checker. In the past they would have just been a hobbyist, but in the modern world of technology, hobbyists are more demanding in the tools they use and more professional in the way they use them.

Think of recording. 20 years ago you needed an expensive set up to make an album, now artists are doing discs from hotel rooms and apartments. Yael Naim did it for her self-titled album which features the MacBook Air song New Soul. Bryan Adams recorded his new disc, 11, backstage and in hotel rooms while touring.

With little more than a microphone and a MacBook with with iTunes and GarageBand – you could do the same – if you really understood how to use the software – and prosumers do.

Photography has perhaps the fastest growing segment of prosumers. Pro quality gear has dropped to below $1000 and now the pro quality software to manage the images has dropped in price, and been upped in features.

With the release of Apple’s Aperture 2, the tools previously saved for the professional snapper are now easily accessible for the hobbyist.

For Bill Pennington, bundling Apple’s Aperture 2 with Adobe’s Photoshop Elements gave him the perfect set up for under $300. He can manage, sort, edit and archive his photos easily giving him the perfect system to submit his photos to the stock agencies.

But the difference beween prosumer and consumer requires one vital distinction – just because you can use it, doesn’t mean you should use it. The new Aperture offers a world of possibilities for photo manipulation and sorting, but unless you’re taking hundreds of shots a week, or serious about archiving and tweaking each and every histogram, iPhoto should be enough for you.

That said, at just $199, Aperture 2 will be tempting.

catch the buzz… pass it on.

This article originally appeared in 24hrs on April 2, 2008.



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