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Getting a Visual

Pictures show the world you mean business, so be sure your camera is up to the task.

After the 2007 launch of Delight.com, a website for shopping enthusiasts interested in everything from jewelry to home furnishings, co-founders Lynda Keeler and Tracey Tee bought themselves new digital cameras as rewards. However, the toys turned out to be essential business tools for the e-commerce site, which specializes in the new and exciting. "Everybody wants more images," says Keeler, who projects Delight.com's 2008 sales will reach $1.5 million. "[Customers] want to get a good sense of what each product is like."

In addition to product shots, the two use the cameras to communicate. Keeler, 46, lives in Los Angeles, and 31-year-old Tee in Denver. They frequently e-mail each other pictures of great finds at wholesale markets, trade shows and even fun happenings around their respective offices.

The communication aspect of digital cameras is something Nikon has fostered. Many of its digital cameras, including the new CoolPix S51c, feature Wi-Fi connectivity. Push a button and the lightweight, 8.1-megapixel camera will e-mail your pictures to friends and family, a Flickr account, or your own My Picturetown album. Other features of the $330 camera include a 3-inch LCD viewing screen, 1600 ISO light sensitivity, compensation for a shaky hand and Pictmotion for creating audiovisual slideshows.

Hewlett-Packard's Photosmart R937 is useful for entrepreneurs who need fast photo editing more than fast photo transfer. Its 3.6-inch touchscreen and in-camera design gallery let you crop and organize photos; add borders, colors and effects; and eliminate red eye and minor image distortions. For only $300, the R937 packs 8 megapixels, 1600 ISO speed, and exposure correction technology into 6.6 ounces.

But if you need to get the shot regardless of the weather, the waterproof and shockproof SeaLife Ecoshot works great in the rugged conditions you might find on construction sites or in other outdoor situations. A rubber exterior protects the $230 camera's innards but brings its weight up to 10.4 ounces. A somewhat conservative 6-megapixel resolution is compensated for by a 4x digital zoom, video mode and spy mode, which automatically takes pictures at continuous intervals for up to a five-minute time lapse.

Digital cameras are quickly becoming must-have tools in the information-based workplace in which entrepreneurs like the Delight.com duo operate. From visual communication to easy photo editing to all-weather photography, there's a camera for every job and every entrepreneur.

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This article was originally published in the February 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Getting a Visual.

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