Creating Your Product Photography Business, Part I


Tabletop Product Photography


Lesson Info

Creating Your Product Photography Business, Part I

let's make some money that's what we do we're commercial photographers products still life it's money stuff the business side get your pencil sharp and I'm going to show you how to do it this will work for you whether you're in bavaria or in atlanta or in scottsdale or just down the street from from the the creative life place it's all a method it's the method that most businesses use and no one discusses it it's not a secret question what do you do what do you do have you ever been asked what do you do how do you answer him what do you do while I'm a photographer okay my cousin's a photographer he uses ah such insight sure you like my cousin know what do you do you have to determine what you do and you need to determine it in a way in such a way that you can explain it to somebody in about twenty words something people call it an elevator pitch I call it a mission statement what do you do because if you don't know what you do the rest of this segment's going to be a problem what kind ...

of business would use the kind of photography that you do but say oh I'ma I'ma people photographer okay what kind of business would you people photographer use your works what kind of business uses still life and product photography first you got to know what should do then you've got to know who would use it do you know how many photographers I can ask this question to well that's really nice work who would use this and I get crickets they think that the world's gonna beat a path to the door when the when the door opens and you've got your portfolio it's that's it you're done world doesn't work that way where you live are there people that want to hire you to do what you do are there people that use what you do you do know what you do right I'm a product in still life photographer and I specialize in table top okay sounds like a mission statement who uses my work product manufacturers distributors retail outlets advertising agencies design agencies I know who uses my work and I know where to find him big cities by the way there's an if you're not sure there's businesses around you that use your work we need to find out no way geography means a lot to this business I think we can all agree being a fashion photographer in hell abend arizona may not be very lucrative you could own the market and be the on ly fashion photographer in hell a bend but you probably would have any work so it would be meaningless you could be a food shooter in a town of twelve wouldn't really help you so big cities mean more prospects in close proximity and here's your big cities new york chicago dallas minneapolis l a san francisco atlanta miami seattle and then the rest of the world that's where your ad agencies are that's where your big corporations are that's where the big work is does that mean there's no big jobs in omaha no doesn't mean that just means you gotta look for more there's a building in new york that has more ad agencies in the building than in the state of arizona eighty percent of all the jobs given out two photographers are given out in the eastern third of the country eight percent the rest of the country is dealing with refined for twenty maybe the numbers have changed a little bit since uh since I read them and and did the research maybe there was changed a little bit them changed a lot so was that mean means the rest of us have to figure out what we're doing and how we're going to do it because we don't live in new york whom I live close might visit often part time but the rest of us don't live in new york we live here we live here in seattle we live in phoenix we live in connecticut live in ann arbor houston some of us live in chicago finding out who is doing what takes research who's doing what what am I talking about we're talking about what ad agencies air handling what clients what graphic designers air handling what clients what clients am I talking about a number slide one what do you do and who buys what you d'oh if you're a photographer out there in internet land and you can't answer that question do you see now where there might be a big roadblock in your business if you're trying to do business and you can't answer what do you do and who buys it there might be a disconnect we've gotta know it there's no shortcuts it's going to take research and it's going to take some sit on your butt time it's going to take some sitting at the computer time and it's going to take some reading books time and investigating time it's gonna take some time for you to find these answers it's also going to take some guts for you to find these answers because sometimes you just gotta have go up and ask somebody asked the right person you've got to do it as I say there's no easy button there's an abc met a methodology that I like to use which means do this then do this than do this abc we're going to go from a to be to see it's such an important concept for you to build on your base you just don't walk out the door and start getting jobs gotta build that base though cao this's where we could get knitting didi grady pull up your town your area your neighborhood on google maps and then you're gonna put a circle on it depending on your population ten twenty five or fifty obviously if you're in chicago and your downtown ten if you're in manhattan three if you're in an outskirt of sacramento fifty or is my friend nick who chimed in he's in modesto he went a hundred hundred miles in other words he's willing to drive one hundred miles out for a job or four to find work from his little town hundred miles you draw that circle around your town wherever you are if you're at the outskirts of tile of town you might have to skew the circle a little bit if you're dead center in town and all the agencies are located in different different area you may have to go there but draw that circle that's your target right now that's your target I'm talking to starting out photographers I'm not talking to guys who've been in the business for twenty years I'm talking to folks who came on to the workshop now and said I'd like him to photograph product in still life so we could do this fashion that type of works a different kind of a way of finding clients seniors in high schools and stuff those air concentrated areas a different way of finding clients this is products still life commercial photography we need to find people around us because we need to go and meet them and there's got to be some realistic expectations you want to start your your circle small you don't want to be driving thirty five miles to do a portfolio presentation for two hundred dollars job you know you want to keep it realistic so you want to start where you are and start expanding out with your mailings your e mailings in your research all of that stuff begin to find it we now know from the first line what we do because we've sat down and done it you can if you've done it since I started talking you haven't done it you've got to sit down and figure out what you do and then you have to start figuring out who buys what you do who needs it and now we gotta find where they are if you're in manhattan or boston or something of your downtown seattle your circle isn't going to be very big because you're down in the thick of things right um but believe me if you're in fresno it might be a bigger circle the buckets the vertical buckets here we're going to all agree that your work is table top product photography that's what we've talked about in this particular workshop table top product photography what industries and businesses use that kind of work so started the top what do you do the table talk product photographer who buys my stuff business and industries what business and industries manufacturing distribute these magazines pr firms graphic product designers packaging retail ad agencies entrepreneurs artists and a whole bunch more that you've got to add to your list those air now channels verticals buckets earlier we didn't know who we made pictures for now we know who we make pictures for we've identified this so when you sit down to start doing your marketing it's not like oh who do I go after you you're gonna go after manufacturing firms that's a that's a all of a sudden a laser focus right I love to write I'm a writer and I know that when you sit down to write your brains with you know three hundred things you can't write nothing's going to come out you gotta like shake it all out until you get one thing one thing that I can start to spread out think of the power that comes over your business when you all of a sudden identify who wants to buy this stuff you make it becomes at that point implementation right a little bit more work to do look what you have now a list of possible client types that use your work you just identified something that I would say eighty percent of photographers do not know who buys their work they have commercial portfolios and you'll say well who you showed him too easy answer is what ad agencies and magazines low hanging fruit everybody knows about them what about manufacturing what about distributors what about pr firms what about trade publications were about trade associations you know what are the ancillary plate places that may by your work the farther you get away from the two top graphic designers on magazines and ad agencies the farther you get away fewer people are attacking it because everybody wants the low hanging fruit okay so we have our list of types of businesses that made by our photography manufacturing for instance and we've got our circle twenty five miles from our our area now it gets nitty gritty who are they I don't know the names of the companies smith electronics jones distributing charles is what have you I want to know those names google is your friend pull that map up and start looking for manufacturing start looking because the google give you a little pinpoints tell you where they are tell you their phone number tell you what at what their addresses you want to send him a direct mail piece twenty years ago you'd have to go out and try to figure out who they were what their address was good give it to you it's jones manufacturing here is there address there's a zip code postcard in the mail you just reached out to that guy how easy is that how many photographers were still with me at this point less than fifty percent fifty percent people stopped back when they had to do the research sorry it's just a fact you've got the business journal in some big towns will really give you something who gets the business journal here you know but you have a business journal houston right business journal chicago right do you have one in connecticut in your town in the business journal had one in philly when I lived there I wouldn't philly yep absolutely when here in seattle yeah there's one in seattle eastern pia is the other absolutely and I know you got one in an rv with business to do with the business journal does every wednesday when it comes out it lists all the brand new business licenses that have been taken out the week before they got a room full of photographers tell me that's not a good list of people who may need photography lets see they're just starting out in business they probably did a brochure they probably need some stuff and they're the business journal is and it gives you that info name business type of business phone number address right there in the business journal is that huge do any of those people fit your buckets oh this guy's a manufacturing well this is a retail clothing store probably not my bucket oh this one does this let's put him in this bucket over here that your bucket's starting to get some stuff and how much have you spent dollar wise no time note no dollars at all sitting on google and a buck and a half or was it two bucks a week for the business journal and you're starting to build not just pie in the sky oh I I would love to work for big business now it's oh I would love with work for jones manufacturing because they do data should data and product sheets the more specific the human mind becomes the mohr riel the outcome is it's like uh saying oh every day we wake up and say oh I certainly would love to be rich okay do you know what your mind does at that point make sure you never going to be rich pretty much does everything it can to fulfill your wish of just hoping for it you just hope for it hoping is worthless you want out you wake up and sell I'm rich or oh I'm a busy photographer today kind of a positive statement I'm a busy photographer your brain will help you become a busy photographer we now have identified absolute riel cos riel folks name's jones distributing bill smith's ah hardware manufacturing the guy down look down the corner who makes fasteners there's a place in phoenix a little nondescript building they make screws and bolts than things and they shoot a catalogue every three months so you know you would never know it going by there you would never think driving by as a photographer go wow I should go into that little nondescript brown building with the two pick up trucks out front and show him my book you'd have no reason to because you don't know what you do and you don't know who buys what you do now you know what you do your table top product photographer and you know these guys by that kind of work and if they don't buy that kind of work they should and they should buy it from you right right you see a clear path does it start to become like riel because you've created a reality that is your area you start to know your area and it's not so much pie in the sky anymore it's not somewhat g I wish I was a photographer now you're a photographer and you have an absolute client list to start to go after we're down to thirty percent of photographers at this point probably thirty percent of any small business everyone's looking for the easy button I don't want you guys to look for the easy button I hope I don't think I want you guys on the internet would change the world there's enough work out there for everybody watching this internet broadcast all over the world and everybody in this room to make a living in photography there's enough work the more work we do the more product people sell the more product people sell them or product people want the more work we get to do we can move thanks don't ever give up who's doing what for whom this is critical information so we've identified jones manufacturing we just go on the internet start looking up jones manufacturing and all of a sudden we google it and it turns out that it's a client it's in the client list of irene liebler design saw on her client list page now we've got jones manufacturing they make widgets and irene's the designer sounds like we have a target it's not stalking folks it's only stalking if you you know stock this's research who's doing their pr work do they do it on their own do they have an inn in house agency how would you find out if jones has an in house agency this would be hard to do what we have pocket cameras that we carry around your pocket cameras they all have these weird communication devices in him that when you're not taking photographs you khun like punching some numbers and someone to talk to you on the other end my god who would have thunk it you call them up and you ask him do you have a p r department yes we dio I'll transfer you over right now hi I'm a photographer is just wondering are you guys have an in house agency or you working with ai rien exclusively oh no we we we subcontract out the eye irene sorry irene I'm using your name because you sit right there we subcontract out to irene but we also have an in house agency oh that's really great would I be able tio send them some marketing the carols well sure here's something to such a such an email dot com we've now left we're now in the twenty percent range how many photographers well we already know how many photographers won't pick up a video camera and go high my name's done and I want to come to seattle's like and sit in the audience and see they won't do that they're not paying the phone and call you're going to pick up the phone and call what's the worst that could happen to you they may be rude to you we don't have we're not taking any calls and you hang up you know what life doesn't end you don't all of us all of a sudden get a bad disease you're not embarrassed people don't point at you in the grocery store in goal the company hung up on him don't happen all those things that you think can go wrong there nothing there nothing wait wait a week and call again maybe if you call the third time they'll say ok tidy calling here's hui hers here's who we use okay thank you very much always be nice always be professional you confined it out but you could also find out from google too call the company right here where it says you can ask that person who answers the phone who does their advertising oh we have an in house department let me connect you you're never going to get right through generally because they're busy people and so there's always gatekeepers but at least you've got a name he got the name jenny smith that there's a jenny smith watching I'm just making that up jenny smith okay so what do we do now we have to identify to ourselves why jenny smith who works for the jones company needs to hire us and I used tucker jones picture of beer which may be a great aid at the end of a day of trying to figure this stuff out we have to know this stuff and you have to know that you're ready to do it you have tto be so absolutely convinced that you're the right person for the job and that's that confidence thing I can't help you with you have to do it yourself all I can say is if you've made it this far if the six of you in this room you I made a video you got on an airplane you flew out here to a ah place you came in tow place where they're going to put you on camera and do all toe learn something you're head of the pack you are ahead of the pack by the way if you return a phone call within twenty four hours in your business you're ahead of the pack was it woody allen said ninety percent is showing up ninety percent of success is just showing up just kind of be there do we all know friends and relatives and acquaintances that never show up not to anything they're just sort of drifting by with life that kind of personality doesn't make it in this business you've got to push we're going to get into your town now that we understand where jenny smith works and we understand that she works for this department and they do tech sheets and they do brochures three times a year and stuff we've got to know who's our competition who's the competitors you can read the second bullet on your own every time you get up in the morning there's your biggest competitors you know why they're going to tell you that guy in the mirror that gallon amir oh there's other things to do the day you know I've got to get the dog in for the dog grooming and we've got this going on and that going on steven press field calls it the little what's called the divergence caesar the can't think of the name someone on the internet will say it resistance resistance thank you it's called resistance our brain will do everything it can to provide something for us to go oh yeah we should do that instead of work I'm busy working my novel but I've got to sharpen all the pencils first and then I've got a stack my paper first and then of course I'm not in the mood so I should probably sit down and watching a rerun of you know deep space nine first something anything from but to do the work to do the work when you meet really successful people guess what they do the work all of every one of them I met a young man who does a blogger very successful bloggin phoenix he called that woman feelings let's let's you know get together so I showed up at the the place we got together had a had a couple beers talk business and everything in eighty eight o'clock he said you know what I love to stay and talk but I've got two blog's I've got to block post got to write tonight because I'm teaching this weekend he could have sat there for another two hours and you acted up with may but he had to block post to write because he does the work that's why his blog's his block became so successful does the work never finds an excuse not to do it we can all find excuses and if you need any I got plenty to spare I can send some over I like to find out what magazines are being published in my area magazines tell me a lot about where I am what type of people are around me if you're just starting out magazines are really important you've got your little circle are there magazines within your circle how do you find out your competitors remember that google circle type in commercial photographers and google give you little red pins here's all the other commercial photographers of people were listed as commercial photographers what do you do it instantly then first thing you do is you click on the pen you go see their website and you go see their bio page and there about me paige do they have fees set up if you're a consumer photographer like a wedding or portrait you you know hopefully they have feast that see kind of know what they're charging what if they what if you're in a place that there's four commercial photographers in your area and none of them have you have no idea what they're charging what do you do your column on the phone and you ask him and you tell him the truth I'm a new photographer in town I'm gonna be going after work I'd like to know what the going rate is so I don't undercut anyone I don't want to undercut you I don't want to be the cheapest guy in town I want to I want to win on my merit get the jobs on my merit what's the going rate I've had those calls I'm happy too I'm happy to go out and have a pepsi and have a beer with the guy and tell him what's going on and give them the ranges um and you can tell something if somebody's smoking you're not you can tell your gut will tell you you know your gut will tell you more things than you think if you just let it every time I've ever met somebody and I thought this isn't going to go well it's never gone well and I should have listened to that little voice should listen to my gut at the time um turning it off turn the gut off is when you get in trouble are there graphic designers google it in here's your here's your map in fact bookmark that map you're gonna be coming back to that map all the time are their graphic designers in your area if there are um you click on the little button um we can't do that in creative life for lots of reasons but I will tell you we did an exercise in project fifty two with a photographer lives and reno remember that cave with uh with daniel and daniel said dan he said there's not very many graphic designers in my area and we were talking on the on the little broadcast and I said really that's you know it seems odd to me so I went on my attack did graphic design in reno and they just started popping up on page and dance I I didn't know about it didn't know it did know and all of a sudden we identified thirty graphic designers in his area what else does that tell us what does that give us it gives us a link to their website the graphic designer's website where if you click on the website you're going to see examples of what the graphic designer does and if the graphic designer does nothing but note cards and christmas cards and illustrations move on but if the graphic designer's got brochures that they did for this this casino and a brochure for this golf club and here's a physician's brochure and they're all chock full of photography I'm going to go out on a limb and say they buy photographs our product and tabletop photographs in those brochures there are okay not only do they buy photography they buy product and still life photography and their two and a half miles away from you does this guarantee you're going to work for him no but you didn't even know they existed three minutes ago you don't even know they were there they certainly don't know you're there but it's your job now toe let him know right but you've now identified this and you do this over and over and over again until you've got about one hundred or one hundred fifty names in your buckets you're going to market to this hundred one hundred fifty names in your bucket over and over until one of two things happens aye they hire you or be they send a cease and desist letter never sent me another email or will hunt you down like dogs and then you send him one more saying you're sorry but you still could bring the portfolio y for a review you see I'm saying persistence are there any pr firms pr firms click google there's your listing there's your name's on the listing the don jeanette e ad agency art director don genetic because because now you know who they are and how they work we're going to jump back to that in a minute we'll talk a little bit about magazines we jump back to how we get into those those areas by going through magazines first magazines in your area magazines in your town magazines in your region if you're a small town you have to reach out to the region are going to be your first points of contact so as you're going through your bucket list you've got pr firms in your design agent season etcetera and you've got your magazines magazines first magazines first why because they're the fastest turnaround you shoot for him hopefully get tear sheets in a month or two months if you've done work that's worthy of a terror she uh they pay a little bit faster especially if you can work that into your contract and they're more likely to give you a job when you're just starting out the budgets art as big there's you know if you have to go down and shoot uh uh cactus a party at a cactus museum or something and it doesn't work out and you blow the job they'll get another photographer over there they won't pay you get another photographer over there they'll get it and they'll get it in the magazine and they'll be you know no harm no foul in most cases sometimes it can be a real screwup but in most cases you know you're not going to work for the magazine again you just you done um this this business doesn't allow for base hits it's not a base hit business that's a home run business every time you go out the door with your camera for a job you can hit a home run why would you strive for anything else I can't imagine I'm going out I'm going to go shoot this job but you know I'll be happy with a base hit I don't care if it's any good would you ever say that here so would you say I want to go out and do this job I'm gonna do a bang up job really bang up job so you taking stock of magazines you'll find out in those magazines what kind of photography they do so you were analyzing the pr firms we're analyzing the graphic design firms and now we're analyzing the magazines what stuff is in him do they have tabletop in product and do they have people shots and lifestyle is it something you can do is in an area that you're interested in were product and table talk photographers and we worked from manufacturing businesses and product makers and pr firms in ad agencies magazines is there food in there well food is still life does it look like something you could do a does it look like something you could do cool beat is it looked like something you could do better is it can you bring something to that table could you walk in with your portfolio and say you know I'd like to show you and and have some confidence they're going to go wow this is really unique because everybody likes unique everybody wants to be the next you know the finder prepare for your first contact this is your gut check on your portfolio I keep hearing that print portfolios are dead uh they're not believe me they're not um I I even heard recently that ipad portfolios were dead that all our directors I just want to go online and see websites well that may be true for some art directors especially ones who like to have big names on the blog's and or go to the trade shows but in phoenix people like to see your work ambition sacramento people like to see your work I bet in quickly in connecticut people like to see your work and so I don't think print portfolios are dead I don't think they get uses often as they were before because we have multiple ways of doing it but I would say to you that any time a client calls you for a print portfolio showing that's a big job that's not a two hundred dollar dropping pop that's a big job they're calling your book in do you have a solid website do you have additional images in your area of specialization let's say oh by the way have a number of twenty four to thirty six that's kind of my number I know sometimes have eighty eight I've seen one one tyra I really like his work he's got two hundred pictures in his portfolio section of his website I like his work and I bail after one hundred I just want to show twenty four to thirty six pictures that that that rock this is the portfolio section this means I've got let's say I do people in uh people and food I'm sorry people in tabletop okay this is the best twenty four people and table top shots I've I've shot this is my portfolio as in the old days my best work two genres all mixed in together I also have a people button and a stand a product button people buttons all people product buttons all all product and some of those product shots are in my portfolio and some of those people shots are in my portfolio so I'd show twenty four to thirty six in the portfolio twenty four to thirty six in the people and twenty four to thirty six and product some of the products stuff that's in your product some of the best stuff you've ever shot right it's also in the portfolio and some of the stuff in the portfolio is not in either one of them because you want it to be really special you know I believe in three genres no more than three two is great three's great for pushing it you know if you've ever been to a website that button list down the side says babies people maternity air air air planes motorcycles cars boats blah blah blah you know don't you have a feeling like you know my friend no one does all that well what do you do well you know he does well or she does well first one first one first one or two everything else is an afterthought everything else is I better put boats in there in case a boat guy looks at my website I wanted to know I can do both I better put in lawnmowers I shoot lawnmowers too so I don't lose any longmore gigs get this big neon sign that says that as bread do what you do do you solve problems with it with your website you problem solve problems and offer visual solutions we've seen I've seen so many portfolios like I said of just people staring off at the camera I've seen so many portfolios fashion shots where there's it's just a girl in fashion on a white seamless that's great in fashion that's fine but as an art director I'd like to see what you do a little more because I'm just you know maybe I'm not that impressed by that dress I don't know what kind of dress it is could be blunts iago could be target I don't know I don't care it's a girl in white seamless did you solve a problem I don't think so because everybody in this room can shoot a girl in white seamless it's just not that hard show me something that you've solved a problem and idea something you may get hired to shoot a girl in a white dress on harming on white seamless they may go out while you're here's stuff so creative we got this job for you we want you to shoot this girl in white seamless that's fine that's the job but you showed him you khun you can solve problems it's the number one thing that most photographers don't do in their portfolio is show how they can solve problem where do you have a print electronic uh website or facebook I'm not sure I would be record recommending you have your portfolio or I'm sorry your business on facebook but she also noticed I said yet I think there might be a time coming when your facebook page maybe just as important as your website if you're a consumer shooter I imagine that time is here already if you're shooting weddings and babies and and well paternity and those things I'll put your facebook is a big part of your business if it isnt it sure as heck should be absolutely and do you have demonstrate your ability to deal with the challenges of an assignment that's part of the deal of the of the uh making the shots that have the solution to him that you've created something that's solved problem solved visual challenge does your portfolio show that

Class Description

Don Giannatti returns for a special workshop on tabletop product photography. Don starts with an introduction to tabletop lighting - tools, scrims, DIY gear - and how to organize your shoot around a tabletop to bring everyone up to speed. Then Don will teach you the basic concepts of Tabletop Product Photography. Finally Don will ramp up to more advanced topics adding extras such as kicker lights, snoots, and grids that can bring your work up a notch.



THere are some courses in CL i think of as not covering a to z but covering -z to z. THis is one of those courses. The value proposition is over the top. The instricutor: Don Giannatti is so experienced he's a relaxed in his knowledge and practiced in cutting to the chase to provide answers to really good questions about set ups for product photos (vs. art/ still-life). The topics: complete workflow from first principles in order to understand what we're trying to achieve with table top work, Don Giannatti makes it clear that we're using light deliberately to give shape to an object. Example insight: using a white card (or black) reflector is not the same as using a silver/gold reflector. The latter create a new light source; the former shape the light that's there. Can imagine the arguments but the demo brings the points home. Or how about NOT using umbrellas for product shots. Or for "drop and pop" product shots, how to do that without umbrellas and tents "that's 50 dollars a shot right there" says Giannatti. Example tool demo: one of the joys of this course is that such an expert does most of the class using readily makable tools like scrims from shower curtains and baking paper. The specialist tools like a modifier on a flash is well within the range of an aspiring commerial table top photographer. And Meaningful Demos LIGHTING/composition what are some of the most challenging and compelling things to shoot when building a portfolio/photographic experience? Can you shoot shiny stuff - like bottles and jewlery. PHOTOSHOP making photoshop unpretencious and accessible, Giannatti presents examples of how to fix bits of a shot, as well as - and this one is worth the price of admission - how to put together a composite of a guitar product shot if you only have one limited sized light to light the whole thing. We also see where highlights can be added - and how. Some basic knowledge of Photoshop layering, masking and brushes would be good to have, but one can work back from seeing it applied into those basic skills. BUSINESS We start with light giving shape to objects as a demonstrable principle, move into how to use light structurally for bringing out something fantastic about that product - that as Giannatti points out - puts bread on someone's table, so respect. From these demos we go from light and camera to post to produce the finished image. Now what? or how have a product that needs shooting? That's the business of product photography. In these excellent sections on Business, Giannatti details the heuristics of hard graft to get gigs: where to look for contacts, frequency of approach, engaging with social media (you don't have to, he says, but effectively, it's gonna cost ya). "Doing just these few things you're already way ahead of your competition." I can believe it: they are many of them tedious, but can also well believe they are what pay off. COURSE BONUSES JUST FOR SIGNING UP - for those who subscribed to a live broadcast, all the slides were provided in advance (you can see this offer on class materials) Now that's classy. What other CL courses have done that: given something to participants who just show an interest to sign up? (It's that gift thing kevin kubota talks about in his workshop on photography business - makes one want to work with that person: pay them for the value they create, eh?) TRUST/VALUE Instructor Personality Throughout each part what's delightful is just the EXPERIENCE of this instructor. He's put together a thoughtful course from light to lighting to parts to gear to post to business. There's immediate trust: plainly this man has made a living from what he's talking about, and has addressed almost any immaginable scenario. There's a great demo towards the end of the course of working with students to take shots. The value to folks watching is to see how he helps us all think about how to problem solve (the mantra for the course) to find the shot - to use light card after lightcard to wrap the light to bring out the countours of the material. Even when he says "that's just not working" - there's not a sense of the people shooting having failed - but an opportunity to think about what's been learned - to keep working the problem. There's a whole lot of HOW in that interaction that is highly valuable. Thanks to the participants in the workshop to be so willing too to do that work. This is the kind of course you leave feeling like ok, i can do this - or at least i have the tools and some knowhow now about them to start to work these problems, to start to create value in these kinds of shots. I am already just from being here a better photographer now. Related CL Course: This course feels like a terrific complement to Andrew Scrivani's Food Photography. And no wonder: both take place in small areas and use light in similar ways. A contrast is that in editorial food photography - scrivani's domain - there's a focus on skills to work with what's there; in table top/product, one can enhane - knowing how to do that effectively/believably is where the skills - learning to see that - come in for this kind of work in partiular . If tabletop/product photography is a space you wish to explore, or you just want to be able to practice working with light in the small, and see how to bring you will be delighted with this -z to z deep dive introduction.