Do you have a passion for photography? Do you wish you could capture pictures so beautiful that people would gladly pay you good money for them? With digital photography, just about anyone can. "Photography used to be abstract. You had to imagine how your shots would turn out," explains renown photographer Douglas Kirkland whose claim to fame includes taking intimate photos of Marilyn Monroe.
"These days, digital photography allows you to see your work before it goes to print. It makes learning the art simpler and faster." Of course, it is not necessarily cheaper, but the technology behind it allows for so much more. "In the past, we (professional photographers) would apologise for using digital photography, but now the situation is reversed. Digital photography is the preferred way," adds Kirkland. "With Photoshop, I can come up with even better pictures, like how I combined three shots of Dustin Hoffman into one." And it does not take very long. Thanks to HP's newly launched Photosmart Pro B9180 photo printer priced at US$699 (RM2,586), Kirkland's magical works can be produced in minutes. "It used to take four to five hours to come up with beautiful prints. Now it takes only four to five minutes," Kirkland attests. "I can restore or make duplicates of one-of-a-kind prints," he adds, lending further weight to the photo printer's accurate and consistent colour management abilities. "These include photos of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and John Lennon taken just after the Beatles split-up." It goes without saying that such pictures are nearly priceless. More importantly, Kirkland would not have lent credibility to a photo printer, and a HP printer no less, if it is not worth it. And how does HP come up with a printer with such exacting standards? According to Itsushi Wakabayashi, who is HP's World Wide Future product manager for Digital Photography & Entertainment Marketing, Image & Printing Group, HP has been working closely with the Magnum Group which comprise renown photographers like Kirkland. "To do that, HP has drawn heavily from its experience in scalable architecture for performance printing that covers home photo printing right up to industrial printing," Wakabayashi says. The good thing about HP's scalable printing technology is that it has allowed HP to come up with a slew of home photo printers that cater to the various price points desirable to end users. So, while the aspiring photographer may not be able to afford or may not wish to buy a professional photo printer like the Photosmart Pro B9180 just yet, he or she may settle for cheaper but high-quality HP photo printers. As such, HP has made a name for itself in terms of performance and reliability. It has invested billions to produce long lasting customer- replaceable printheads, high-capacity individual ink cartridges, light- fast Vivera pigment inks as well as advanced photo paper and fine arts paper for professional quality prints. Thanks to HP's scalable printing technology, home photo printing will not cost you a bomb. A four-inch by six-inch photograph can be printed for as low as US$0.25 (RM0.93) with lasting qualities. The process is fast and hassle-free too - just snap and print on the fly (under 15 seconds). This makes home photo printing an interesting and highly rewarding endeavour to hobbyists, aspiring photographers and professionals. Not surprisingly, HP has captured over half of the market share for the above-US$150 inkjet market, that is about 54 per cent of US$12 billion in 2005 and, if HP maintains its lead, more than half of an estimated US$26 billion by 2010. With all of these in mind, does Kirkland wish that he had the photography tools of today's digital generation when he first started out? "Photography is great! It's like throwing your arms wide and flying in the winds. It makes you feel alive. So, you have to go with what you've got. And if digital photography makes the experience better, so be it," answers Kirkland.
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