My friends think I’m nuts, but I usually just laugh them off. Don’t get me wrong; I pay for my arrogance by lugging around 15 lbs. of camera gear just about every time I go outside. The reason? Photography no longer requires a sugar mama or second mortgage, and as a writer also creating web-based content, I never know when a picture I take will come in handy.

Nearly two months ago, Flickr, one of the world’s most popular photo sharing sites, partnered with Getty Images to license photographs through their stock agency. The news sent professional photographers into a frenzy, while amateurs rejoiced. Sure, the chance of getting a photo bought is slim, but the move made one thing very clear: If you’re not shooting photos, the person next to you most likely is, and his shot could eventually wind up well beyond the refrigerator door.

As writers, the added stress of photography sometimes isn’t practical, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the medium altogether. Canon, Sony, Nikon and Pentax (just to name a few) have cameras to fit every application and personality, and unlike the old film behemoth you most likely learned on, they are crisp, quick, and cost effective once the initial purchase has been made.

Need more information? Check out the following websites for camera reviews, industry news, photo essays, forums, tutorials and photo contests. Whether you’re a pro or a newbie, the sites are valuable resources worth keeping tabs on. Because you never know when that shot of an one-eyed monkey scampering across a burned-out forest could be the difference between landing the clip and eating ramen for yet another night.

Luminous Landscapes: High-level technical prowess, deep discussion forums and a low-key pre-web 2.0 layout make the site standout. Think the gold standard of photo sites.

Steves Digicam: In-depth camera reviews, breaking news, great reading recommendations and a killer photo contest.

DP Review: One of the best camera forums on the web, where participants can answer just about any question. Forums are broken down by make, and then model, so the site doesn’t force users to sift through thousands of Nikon queries if they own a Canon. The reviews are solid, and the photo contest is also strong, but it’s the forums that keep folks coming back.

Radiant Vista: Worth a look for the daily critique, in which a professional photographer critiques a selected photo and produces a short video explaining the conclusion. The best part? Videos are made for iPods, which mean anywhere, anytime.

Have one to add? Throw it in the comments section and help make us all better photographers.


  1. Tim- I love Flickr, but I’m wondering if you can recommend any similar sites with creative commons licensed content that editors and writers can use to source images.


  2. @ Julie: I have some ideas but let me check the fine print to make sure everything is legit. If you are interested, I know of a few cheap–$1 a photo–stock agencies that might also foot the bill. I will post my findings this week.

    Hope all is well out there.


  3. Hi, Tim-

    And another question for you (I told you you’d regret offering to answer tech questions)… do you have any idea how to change the format of a video saved in Corel to a .wmv file or something similar that can be read and uploaded by YouTube, TripFilms, etc.?


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