Reproduced with permission from: Photo Marketing, Vol. 72, No. 8., August 1998

Cover Story
Tales from the Web

Photographer's Web sites produce rich flow of assignments.

 Free-lance photographer Frank McMahon is an Internet pioneer. He has promoted his photography business on the Web since 1995. Today, he has two separate Web sites featuring his photography, with links to each other and links and to the Web site of the American Society of Media Photographer's National Web Page (an organization in which he is a member) and to the ASMP Chicago/Midwest Chapter Web page.

Tips for designing your Web site.

 Web site developer and professional photographer Frank McMahon has had years of experience in Web page design and content development, particularly in the creation of sites with heavy use of photographs.

 Digimage McMahon's Web site development company, offers many pertinent on-line suggestions for Web site creation and more effective communication. For more advice, visit the Digimage Web consulting site at Here are a few of McMahon's tips on creating successful Web sites.
  1. The most important factor is to determine the main message or purpose of the site.
  2. Before a company starts actually planning its own Web site it is a good idea to see what competitors in similar kinds of business activities are already doing.
  3. Remember: Web site page design is always a balance between content and technology. What you want to do with a Web page is often limited by the available technology.
  4. An important factor in building a Web page is the decision of how to place it online - in other words, how to select the hosting service provider.
  5. There are two costs associated with a Web site. The first is the investment in building the site. The second is the expense of maintaining the site.

 The Internet exposure means increased business for McMahon and he estimates 20 percent of his income is now derived from Web-generated assignments. The successful photojournalist and corporate photographer believes he has a national marketing presence for his business on the Web, even though he divides his time between his Chicago-based operation and a home near picturesque Galena, Illinois, a resort area that hugs the Mississippi River on the western shoulder of the state, and is most famous as the home-town General Ulysses S. Grant left for the Presidency.

 McMahon's journey from a degree holding anthropologist to Time-Life photographer to Web site guru wasn't a direct-line evolution over his 25-year career. He graduated from Chicago's Loyola University with a degree in anthropology, and joined a major prehistoric archaeological dig in down-state Illinois as the staff photographer. Photography had been his boyhood hobby; and his family's background is rich in creative professions, including sculptors, artists, writers and actors.

 "The photographs I made at the Illinois excavations produced a cover story for the Chicago Tribune Magazine, were published in related stories appearing in Time and Smithsonian magazines, several encyclopedias and other publications. Therefore, I always felt my anthropology education was instrumental to my successful photojournalist and corporate career as a photographer," McMahon recalls.

 Soon after these successes, McMahon visited the New York offices of Time magazine, where he met with Time Photo Editor John Durniak, who recognized McMahon's talent and started a steady stream of assignments from Time Inc. publications. The years of documenting top news assignments for the Luce publications (what McMahon calls photographing "Presidents, Princes, and Popes"), later became the cornerstone of one of his Web sites.

 Today, McMahon is still a Time-Life shooter, but has also expanded his photography business into the corporate world, with clients that include IBM, Rand McNally & Co., Stone Container Corp., International Harvester, and the Boy Scouts of America. His newest venture (operating along with his photographic business) is Digimage, a Web site development company that provides digital design, content and technical expertise for a wide range of clients, corporations and individual corporate photographers.

 Currently, McMahon displays some of his most recent photographs, including some that exhibit creative use of digital manipulation at, a Web site supported by the ASMP Chicago Chapter that promotes ASMP members' work. At this site McMahon, Web visitors will find some of McMahon's most contemporary images from both photojournalism and corporate assignments.

In addition, McMahon also created a unique 120-photo Web site that chronicles the photographic images he made over the past two decades. This extensive visual site is titled "21 Years of Photographic Postings: An Autobiography in Photography" (and includes a wide spectrum of work from black and white photojournalism to colorful photographic illustrations and scenic vistas. Web surfers will find a remarkable collection of celebrity portraits and news photos that include former President Jimmy Carter, Pope John Paul, Prince Charles, and boxing champion Muhammad Ali. These and others of many newsworthy personalities, as well as documentary images of America's everyday citizens are found at

 Some of these images were originally part of a frequent direct-mail postcard promotion campaign (hence, the word "Postings" in the title) McMahon conducted for his business includes several Time magazine covers. A visit to the Postings Web site is a education on the latest use of multiple-image layouts with text, that permit visitors to tap the mouse curser on some photographs to produce a sequenced change of images, or have significant images enlarged on screen for more detailed inspection. For example, one scenic image will shift through the seasons, displaying the same view as seen in each season of the year.

 McMahon's self-education in Web page design techniques has made him a highly sought-out Internet consultant ; and he also provides pro-bono expertise as the volunteer Web Master for the ASMP Chicago/Midwest Chapter and co-moderator for the National ASMP Internet Forum.

 "My Web activities are channeling my career in entirely new directions, clients call on me to provide effective, entertaining, and enthralling content and visual techniques for the Web sites. This is an entirely new promotional medium, and many companies have no idea how to send their messages and make an effective statement to advertise and market their products and services," McMahon comments.

 McMahon advises companies to develop Web sites with up-to-date page designs and innovative graphics in order to bring their marketing efforts into the next millennium. "If you don't you'll be missing a golden opportunity for expanding your business," he recommends.

-By Alfred Debat

reproduced with permission from Photo Marketing "Official Publication of the Photo Marketing Association International"

You can E-Mail Digimage at, go to Digimage front page or E-mail Frank McMahon at

updated 8/12/98