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Image Design Fine Art

Where the only limitation is one's imagination


About Me

Image Design:

a full photographic studio operated by fine art and commercial photographer Michael J. Traynor

Image Design has been in the commercial photography business for over 35 years, recently returning to Frederick, MD. Michale's other studio is located just outside Washington, DC, where he has long served corporate clientele with high quality, professional product photography, corporate portraiture, and event photography.


Michael has been an active photographer for 50+ years and has experienced the transition from film to digital. Long before digital became available to the general public, he worked with large commercial clients, learning the benefits and limitations of digital photography. Michael has continued to expand his knowledge base, staying abreast of the latest technology and printing.


Part of what drew Michael to photography was that he could create images as fast as he could picture them in his mind. While he started in painting and sculpture, these two art forms required far less technical knowledge than photography. It has taken Michael most of his career to learn the technical and artistic subtleties of photography. Over the years Michael has amassed a fantastic library of books on photography, detailing advances and long lost photographic techniques. Pouring over his collection has enabled him to continuously refine his own photographic skills.


Michael J. Traynor

Michael J. Traynor

Michael in the Dancing Tree

Self-Portrait in Dancing Tree

An enthusiastic fine art black and white photographer, Michael meticulously studied the work of Ansel Adam, wanting to achieve the same tonal scale depicted in Ansel's books. It was only when the National Gallery in Washington, DC put on a large retrospective of Ansel's work that Michael realized this master photographer was unable to print two photographs with the same tonal scale. The Ansel Adam's images reproduced in books, posters and calendars are not photographic prints and have been manipulated to produce pure white and dark black, both of which are lacking in the original works.


Yet while striving to follow in Ansel Adams' footsteps, Michael discovered his own black and white photographic process, which he calls the Print Zone Control System.


Using this unique process, Michael is able to create photographic black and white images of an extended tonal scale so that the photographs burst off the paper appearing almost three-dimensional. When the head of National Geographic's photography lab for over 38 years attended one of Michael's solo exhibitions, he apologized to the artist, explaining photographers had been telling him about Michael's work for years, but he had told them it was impossible. Yet seeing the astounding tonal range of Michael's black and white prints, he realized he had been wrong.

Sadly many astute photographers did not transition well into digital photography, and much technical knowledge of light manipulation, flash photography and composition were lost. Michael, on the other hand,is fluent in digital photography, viewing the technology as just another available tool. But unlike young photographers, who have only worked in digital, Michael carried over his unique skill set from film photography. He understands what a scene should look like and can then work with any given situation to create the desired effect, both for his own fine art photographs and for his commercial clients.


When asked why Michael doesn't retire from photography, he responds with a hearty laugh. "For me, photography isn't work. It's fun. It's what I love to do," he says, his blue eyes sparkling with childish mirth. "In photography, there is always room for innovation. I never get bored, because I simply expand my expertise into another area."


Although Michael started in fashion photography (see his sister site: Model with Michael), over the years he delved into many other photographic fields, from commercial product photography to corporate events, from macro photography to landscape. He excels in corporate portraiture, capturing architectural design, showcasing elegant homes and product photography from the smallest micro screw to large objects.




Image Design Gallery

Image Design Fine Art Gallery

Model with Michael

Michael still enjoys working with female models. He taught many women who had never modeled before how to succeed in a modeling career, providing them with model portfolios and insight into how to land their first modeling gig. Unlike most other model photographers, who expect the model to strike all the appropriate poses, Michael designs the image to suit highlight a model's assets and minimize her negatives. From make-up and hairstyling, to designing outfits and the right lighting, Michael orchestrates it all. To view a selection of his model photographs, please visit our sister site Model with Michael.


With his intimate boudoir photographs Michael makes women look better than they ever imagined-- the images are a perennial favorite as gifts for Valentine's Day.


He enjoys working with artists, one of the most challenging areas for a photographer. "You're not there to interpret the work, but to capture the brushstrokes of a painting, the sheer beauty of glass work, the patina of a bronze. There is no room for errors, because the artist is being judged by the quality of my photograph."


While most people are restricted to seeing the world through their own two eyes, Michael has the extraordinary ability to see the world as if through a lens. "I don't need to pick up a camera. I know how a scene is going to record before the camera is in my hands. The image I see in my mind, I capture with my camera."

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