Creating Your Product Photography Business, Part II


Tabletop Product Photography


Lesson Info

Creating Your Product Photography Business, Part II

please understand if you go off and you look for a you know a free solution everybody knows that it's a free solution hey I want to I want to charge you a lot of money for my pictures but my website I'm using a free one because I can't afford a good website oh I want to work with somebody who doesn't have enough money to have to buy a ah good website for ninety nine dollars like photograph here some of those other other guy's got a website pretty inexpensive goodwin portfolio ready ok magazine masthead every magazine out there has got a masthead mastheads going to tell you in english who the art director is the photography editor if there's a photo department all the names designations and all of that including the phone number of the magazine where you can use your pocket camera communication device toe actually call the magazine and asked for a chance to show your portfolio they may sail just send us the aura will go up online and look at it okay do that but if you want to send a dir...

ect mail piece like a little postcard thank you for taking time to look at my website and you got those little thing on it you can send it to you know joe smith at this magazine that's the address as pretty cool it's another person in your bucket yeah just by saying that I would assume that setting up like a guest book on your website wouldn't be a bad idea on it is these days a guest book on your websites nothing you need facebook page you wantto like that's that's the norm right now like my facebook page that's taking the place of the guest book yes the names they're out there and let's say jenny smith's an art director for magazine you'd liketo work for how do you know you'd like to work for that magazine because you got into issues there's a bunch of product and still life in it they do this article every month of the new art stuff at different galleries and they sent a photographer out who photographs pots and stuff you want to do that well you know jenny smith jenny smith may have a profile fact jenny smith probably does have a profile are you on linked in is jenny is jenny on lincoln is she in a group art directors of southern minnesota group while your photographer you work in southern minnesota joined the group not only is jenni there but some other people that are there that you didn't know even existed so jenny who works for this magazine her profile just got you into a linked in group where there's other art directors other magazine editors other people that work it at it we're not going to bother jenny over on her personal facebook page don't even go there it's not what we do he start marketing to people in their personal facebook page and you've just pretty much really commited business suicide for that person they're never coming back but there are linked in for a reason why are they on linked in to meet other people in the profession to talk about their business to collaborate what do you chopped liver isn't that why you're in business to meet other people in the business and collaborate and do business and make photographs for people remember if your attitude is o g I hope she hires me but I'm not very good and I can hope I can pull the wool over our eyes and get a job that's terrible but if your attitude is jenny's a great art director she needs to be working with me because I'm a great photographer my work needs to be in that magazine you see the difference that your personal attitude can make otherwise it's all I'm begging for a job because I need the money or I'm begging for a job because you guys would really rock if you had my photography and your port in your magazine I meet too many photographers who think they are the ugly step child of filming blank I don't even know if I don't even know if they thought it through they just think I'm just not worth it yeah you are sure you are if you're not you should be right now does jenny have a blogged about her work she's on linked in you need being lengthened does she have a is she and a group on facebook and open group on facebook you need to be on the group you don't go on the group and say hey jenny diver I won't show you my work you get on the group and you do what you become engaged with the group you offer solutions you offer advice you offer your perspective that's what you do by the way we're down to about fifteen percent of us left I draw these numbers from other online media things were in a top fifteen now you pokes folks living listening in the home audience don't be in at fifteen earned that eighty five percent stay with us do this stuff when you do it works it really does I call it the circle I know we're not going to hold the little buying up and sing the circle of life it's not the circle of life it's the circle of business what do you do who needs what you do where are they how you going to reach him and why they need you why do you do what you do so well that they I need you for their fill in the blank you know if you can't identify why they need to hire you to yourself how in the world are you going to identify that to them if you don't think you're worth getting the job how are you going to convince them you're worth getting the job the answer is you've got to be that person you've got to know you're ready to do that job that you're ready to make it a word about lists there's great list aggregators out there um I I like agency access I think they're fantastic um but if you haven't done the hard work on your own you need to you need to know what what it's like to go through and build the list you must got to get your hands dirty and this business to get in there and dig through the places the areas the xiahe graffiti of where you are who's out there you've got to go out and shake hands and show the portfolio and b engaged it's a buzz word these days sorry to use it it's only where that comes that comes to mind and fitz you've got to be engaged both in your art and your photography and your commercial business and that means going out and making the connections whether you do it through social media and then show up in person and do things what you've got to get out there and into the world before it happens I I was talking to a photographer right after christmas he is very down in the dumps business not working and I knew is that I know he's a good driver and I said gosh I said uh you know what's going on I says I'm not getting any work it's really hard out there I said well cash what's what's your website I says my website's been down since november well you know why don't you just go outside and take a branch and just beat yourself with it right it's just you know your website's down and you're worried about you don't have any business what about this does not make sense to you it's like how can I how can anyone help you he was want to know if he could get a rep sure call oppa rep and say hi I'm too lazy to get my website fix for the last two and a half months I'd rather sit around and complain about not getting work oh yeah reps are all over people with that kind of motivation yeah you bet you're the guy that's the guy who's not going to show up to do a job because his cat died true story cat can die but can't shop new job the secret is that there isn't one and any time someone tries to sell you the secret to being a successful photographer or the secret two more online sales or the secret they're just lion there's no secret you do as steven press field says you do the work you get your hands dirty you get down to the library you go into burns and noble by a cup of coffee and sit there and start writing down names of art directors of magazines from the book right book rack you know they put the book rack right next to the coffee place right so they got to know I'm going to go in there and start writing down names or you could take a little pocket scanner you could take your camera take a picture of it do whatever you want but you start getting those names of the magazines and the business journal has the book of lists every year the book of list top twenty five industries in your area on what that name top twenty five manufacturers in your area when we got fifty names now all right we'll go through those fifty names and take out the people doesn't that don't belong there but we got those fifty names email's not dead direct mail's not dead phone carol's heir not dead print portfolios aren't dead and I present ipod president ipad presentations they're not dead general here a photographer tell you it's a terrible business to be in and no one should be in it I'm willing to listen to him as soon as he quits as soon as she says well this is a terrible business it sucks you should never be in it soon as you quit I'll sit down with some what you say but it's obviously good enough for you to be in it so you really want to save me who you don't know you trying to protect your turf to prove divers try to protect their turf are you kidding doesn't anyone doesn't mcdonald's come in and try toe make sure burger king doesn't open a burger place across the street from him you bet there's all kinds of little maneuvers they dio to do that absolutely it's business should photographers do that no and I'll tell you why we're in art we're in art where science and was something else we shouldn't try to protect our turf we should try to grow our turf we should try to expand our turf if we think from from a point of of not having enough of scarcity if we live and do our art from a point of scarcity we will always be in scarcity ville but if we realize that we congratulate our turf by getting everybody involved into our turf we can then live in abundance fill they have more fun in abundance bill there's no corona and scarcity ville I've been there I lived in scarcity ville for probably fifteen years I didn't like other photographers they stole my clients from me it was a vicious cut throat and somebody would get a job and I go oh I hate that guy I should have got that job that I go show my book for the job no does the art director that gave him that job even know I'm alive no but somehow I just thought I deserved that job really trust me when somebody hit me upside the head with a bag of nails that day it stuck with me and chuy changed on a dime and realized that scarcity ville sucks abundance feels really fun and they do have corona and abundance ville from social media oh hi aria hi ari that's what you do when you go to the networking meetings that's what you do when you go downtown to the art directors meetings that's what you do when you go to the art directors club awards meetings hey aurea exchange emails let's do this let's do that let's get together let's chat let's become an aggregate of this incredible abundance of art and community we have going on here you'll feel better about it even if you're not working you'll love what you do and you'll start working free and cheap websites the way we always talked about that uh I love constant contact but I love male chimp even more male champions how you manage your email marketing is fantastic create something really nice someone asked me how many pictures you put in your email marketing thing so they sent he sent me one of his examples and he had twenty six pictures in his email marketing thing I said this was absolutely perfect except for the other twenty five absolutely dead on just get rid of twenty five and someone if you send him twenty five first of all they're never going to open the e mail again ever ever ever number two what do you send him two months from now when it's coming come around twenty more twenty five more great shots you maiden in the next six weeks well good on you for that that's some real positive thinking now send one and if you don't have a block or a tumbler or linked into facebook or twitter that's great problem probably didn't like digital either movies that talk black and white was fine sorry things change they just do you can choose not to adapt to change and by a little shotgun shack up in colorado you can chase all the people away I don't want change I'll stay with my typewriter and I'll be angry that I have to have a twitter I'm not ever gonna twitter okay don't twitter I don't care probably uh gonna be around much longer have a nice day I don't care what you do just be involved you don't have to have a facebook page you don't have tohave a block you don't have to have any of those things except you do at least one or two here's something interesting ah that I've tried and it's worked really well my email signature up until two weeks ago had all the little social media things at the bottom you know it was just you know hey thanks for taking my e mail by the way I've got books for sale of amazon and you can follow me on twitter linkedin facebook didn't even tell you about me about I got rid of everything left my facebook on there that's it they've got no choice why people hate choice they don't want choice I would say no look you could fall beyond all those screw it now it's facebook guess what I'm getting more facebook likes from my email then I ever got before in two weeks I've noticed the huge change little tip stay motivated by staying positive you got naysayers in your life downers around you family and friends e se ho you'll never survive as a photographer oh it's hard no being the present of gm is hard being the maestro for the philadelphia orchestra that's hard being a photographer jesus thousands of the tires so only one maestro for the philadelphia that's a hard job to get try being president secretary of state that's a hard job to get you gotta work really hard to get that job I just wanna be a photographer there's lots of photographers stay focused on that in fact there's probably more photographers than anything else in the world right sorry stay focused on letting every personal in planet no you were retired for you have something to say uh nick duncan is someone that I follow a lot delightful young man great photographer but he says the secret to being a successful photographers take really really good pictures and show them to everybody in the world it's right secret being really good photographers takes really good pictures and show them to everybody remember the guy I was telling you about whose website was down that's probably not a good plan I take really good pictures but I really don't want to show him to anyone I used to get crazy when people say I'm so angry my pictures are showing up on google pictures google images you don't want people to see your pictures is that your plan but so great master plan everybody loves a busy person stable business stay busy they love it and treat your life like a business it is dealing with discouragement will you get discouraged are you kidding sure you will absolutely just gonna have to deal with it you just have to deal with it everybody gets discouraged whether you are in photography business or you just opened up a pizza place down on the on the corner of fifth and sixth you could be an insurance salesman you could be an accountant you khun b a stay at home and mom are you going to deal with discouragement yes how do you deal with it that's the secret you just move on you keep going you can't be discouraged if you're busy you can't feel discouraged if you're out making photographs you wanna build deal with being down go shoot human brain can't be down and doing something else at the same time you cannot be depressed and be active at the same time start feeling down go make more pictures go make more phone calls show more people your work always build on your successes learned from the screwups l gosh you learned so much from the screw ups just don't do it again you know was it first time's a mistake second times something I can't remember what it is and third time's a habit you know stop it you made a mistake learn fix it move on always looked forward never behind and embrace your competition that more photographers there are the more work their eyes for photographers there will always be people who call themselves photographers but aren't they've got all the cameras you got all the lenses they get all the lights and they've got nothing what we've talked about the last hour they've never found out who hires them they've never shot a portfolio they've never had a portfolio review they've never taken the time to find out who the names of the art directors in their town are they have it I'm telling you yeah the people who do are way up here the people who think they want to be what we do there's vast majorities of those people it falls off real fast how about landscape shooters uh lots of landscape shooters how many guys get a pit four o'clock in the morning and hike across the snow toe haven't a chance of getting a sunrise on that mountain a chance frozen hands frozen feet for the morning hiking and it's cloudy what do they do the next day they get put four o'clock they put snowshoes on and they hike out to that thing to get that shot how many landscape shooters in quotation marks do that not very many live your life I've said it before life and photography is a life built around possibilities photography is possibilities photography is the possibility for travel the possibility to make a once in a lifetime photograph the possibility to change someone's life the possibility to do amazing things with your talent that's what photography is you live in abundance world off possibilities I always ask my friends who don't want to embrace change what's your plan b you don't change okay what's plan b I'm always always think of it like you're on the freeway and says bridge out you've got a plan b because you don't change like I don't care if the bridge out I'm doing sixty on the freeway by god I'm going bridges out do you have a plan b now is the time love the adventure it's a great great adventure it's a place to be go it's a way to live your life product photography is amazing find out those clients get your marketing plan together and you'll have work I guarantee it if you've stuck with me this far and you've done all the little things I've asked you to do make the circle identify the graphic design clients you are in the top ten percent of people who start small businesses now bank on it push yourself and to thy known self be true I can't even say it any better now that's yourself this is what we do this is how we do it and just got it embrace it love it so here we go everybody got their plan gonna make some pictures get some money all right that's good you gotta know what you don't know what you do yeah you've identified your one hundred one hundred fifty possible target clive's aside from magazines is that should you be prioritizing yeah your buckets are you're going you're going you're going to engage each group and each bucket a little bit differently you're gonna handle marketing in house marketing for cos little bit different than magazines you may even have to change your your port filly up a little bit but I always say started one hundred fifty not at fifteen hundred or not at fifteen thousand started a manageable hundred fifty names it'll grow and shrink from there you're going to have people who are on that list who are never gonna work with you you dropped them off by your adding new people but yeah trample if you've got the choice between going for interesting brand names or interesting products to shoot or the nuts and bolts manufacturer you might be a bit more you do all of it you have to do you do it just for you all you market your marketing all the time it's kind of a numbers game in a way you're you have as many fires in the tire irons in the fire as you possibly can you got to get out there so you might do it a little bit differently to each bucket but you've got your you're actively out there one hundred fifty I'm not sure how any photographer one photographer could market to more than six or seven hundred people I mean I'm just not a shotgun guy I want to know who I'm talking about I know one great a tyrant and arizona john running he just he only marketed one hundred people every year he just would choose his hundred people and he would just go after him you know just get after him it was a magnificent plan that he did and I know people who print up twenty five thousand postcards and send about as shotgun that's wasted its last century anything else anything on the internet that my internet face glory glory size question of what what's today size of print portfolio that you would recommend you know they're uh yeah I used fourteen by eleven I think a lot of people do I think it's a nice size that I use a landscape fourteen eleven I'm trying to shoot more landscape images because the webs landscape and a lot of stuff I'm shooting for now is really going straight to webb so yeah that's that's a good that's a good comfortable size and you can get a great one right across the street over there at lost luggage I love their stuff isat um sleeves plastic sleeps my portfolio one of them is plastic sleeves but the other one is not it's actually the princess are printed and then they're glued back to back punched and put in there see actually have the prince and I'm using this arches paper and so it doesn't really it's really nice fingers don't mess it up so they're removable there and you could take him out and re customize if you're going to go and show a food client you might stack and full of food you're going to show a lifestyle you can stack in full lifestyle yeah and I have boxes of those things so I can actually customize it because I don't show a print portfolio that often it's usually webb was going to say I do do your clients do they look at something that's a sleeve portfolio is less professional as a fully printed portfolio some people would have you believe that I would I think to myself anybody who wouldn't hire me because my beautiful photograph was in a plaque to sleeve I probably don't want to work from anyway that's just beyond anal for mei this is a picture good great sort of plastic sleeve and you don't like it sorry you probably got mork works to deal with him that I need to deal with

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.