Q&A and Business


Tabletop Product Photography


Lesson Info

Q&A and Business

um a safe uh wondering what about shooting jewelry with daylight oh great um uh uh eh the eyes e thes thank you um disease what I do when I'm outside shooting jewelry is the exact same things you see here except this is the sun I change nothing up if you go to my website uh lighting essentials you'll see some improvisations that I've done I call him improvs and you'll see some improvs I did with some seashells on that's basically shot and just write on my porch one afternoon with a nice sunny day and a five and one the reflector with the diffuser inside I'm just using the diffuser in front of the sun that's it uh nothing changes the son is big it's more of a point source and you could get a little bit more about just like the state light you get more of this kind of thing if you're not if it's a very very bright day but since the sun is so far away it will give you kind of a clean things well on a cloudy day same thing just you know it looks dark when you get it's a cloudy day and you ...

put the diffuser up and you put your jewelry down there and you look at it it looks dark because you're standing in bright looking into dark when you take the photograph correct exposure is always correct exposure right it's going to be just a cz bright as you expose him for yeah and disease there's a lot of photographers who do this same work outside we're going to go outside right after this and do this except well it's raining uh funny that yeah I thought I was bringing some sunshine but well you silly may go silly s o there was a question about I we talked about this yesterday but from fashion tv in singapore in what situations do use great cards instead of white or black card I've never used the great card I've used white I've used black gold and silver and that's pretty much it I've never used any other kind of another kind of cards thank you I'm sure there are people who may do it but that's not me practice but play with it that's your assignment by the way for tonight is to grab some jewelry from your wife or your girlfriend or local jewelry store if you're in and out really fast they'll never know it was you okay but do something grab some jewelry and see if you can do a photograph I should try to get a camera you could get it to go my knife and uh um uh go out and find a piece of jewelry and some shower curtain or whatever and see what you do die on let's see the pictures up on the flicker poll for the contest so great idea uh guitar goddess is wondering if it's more difficult to focus when shooting gold or diamond jewellery against a black background than it is to use a lighter color background when I'm shooting jewelry a zay said earlier today I shoot tethered when I'm shooting jewelry nine times out of ten I manually focusing it as well okay I just really I have depth of field issues all the times like need to take care of those depth of field issues so I'm gonna manually focus it and double check it on the seventeen inch screen that comes up absolutely so a question from uniquely me who says as a wedding photographer I don't always have the kind of time that it takes for these kinds of full setup so what are some quick tip key things to remember when shooting wedding details okay you know that five and one reflector we're just talking about if your wedding shooter you you've got one if you don't get one you need one they're cool oh five one all you let's say you're doing the bride's shoes get him outside on a neat background that the son come over here and grab that reflector and put it in back back like the shoes don't front like him don't front like the rings back light take that little five on one reflector pop it out without the diffuser pop it out put it between you and the sun if you're shooting with uh it's nighttime have your assistant hold that flash gun right behind that diffuser and light the rings up or the bouquet or the shoes and you'll find you have such a much more interesting photograph if you back or backside light it then you would otherwise if you've got that five in one reflector you got your second went up front to bounce it in and you're done and then the reason I say that is I did for a couple of years um actually shoot weddings and the drugs kick in and that whole desire went away but it was and that's what I did I would actually take those things with me because I wanted all the shots toe look as good as possible and look like a like my style of course tyra I wanted that look um and uh when you're running and gunning and doing a wedding full on you don't have time really to stop and do a lot of stuff but you do have time to shoot the shoes and the rings okay on the massages on the uh um the announcement stuff you do have some time to do that you just don't have timeto while you're doing the bridles and you're doing other things in phoenix the last one last weddings at the last but I signed last wedding I did we did on june twenty second it was one hundred twenty two degrees and the bright insisted on doing her portrait's her her group portrait outside at one yes it was a beautiful church absolutely beautiful church it actually had a tree in the parking lot yeah it was like the most hideous building in north scottsdale and it's the church you want to go really trees just black asphalt with one little circle in a like opinion opinion tree coming out of it or something like this is crazy terrible yeah recipe taste is wondering if you have any tips on d I y grids you know um the guys are word strongest have something about black straws and they build them out of black straws uh and I think that makes a nice medium grid but these are from speed light pro kitt speed light pro kit and available from uh midwest photo exchange and they're the folks who gave us the loom a pro stand and boom today seeing that these these air really nice because notice how grid comes out so not only do you have a grid you have a grid with a snoot in it you can actually push these far back in and get a bit of a snoot edge to it you can refine your grid is not a great design I just think it's a great design I also use the huddle h o nl stuff because it's fantastically built got that stuff is just rugged and you can get tiny medium and large they're not expensive the amount of work that migrants take the amount of abuse they take they really do need to pay something that's that's made but they do have that that black straw thing seems to work really well and it's kind of a medium grid for speed lights uh another question from anna adams's do you ever shoot jewelry with a tilt chip lens we have a tilt shift lens and we're probably we may shoot a little bit of jewellery tomorrow but we're pulling out till chip linz tomorrow and the answer is yes if that's the kind of shot that the client wants where the front of the jewelry and the back of the jewelry like the necklaces of full rhinestone or diamond necklace all the way back then you may not want those backwards to go out of focus and you'll actually use the tilt on the tilt shift lens the other thing I use a lot of the tilt ship lens was a lot told his shift lens for right sounds like you would it doesn't it I use it a lot for verticals so that I can get my verticals to be straight up without saying my table that's one another thing we're doing tomorrow the neat thing about tilt shift lenses is couldn't read him everywhere they're very expensive lenses they're very inexpensive to rent if you're doing a shot where you needed till shift lens you're making some money you build the rental of the lens into your fee it's part of the deal we have another question or can I roll into some business I roll everything in the business when you shoot with me unless you're a um a a longtime client with a great track record and we're buddies and stuff you shoot me with may I rent you my studio so my fee has a line item my shoot me at the top you shoot me that's how much I want for the photograph do you know how I give that to them that's an ink everything else I could negotiate but that's an ache how would you feel if you walked in and said how much is a haircut today and they said sixty five dollars and he said I'll only got forty I'll do it for forty well why didn't you say forty when I asked him how much a haircut wass you just was the other twenty five just the dumb tax you know I'm too stupid to ask uh if you know if it's forty it should be for my price is right there that price doesn't change that's my feet everything else that's line items out is adjustable and open for negotiation negotiation does not mean capitulation means negotiation so I asked for I asked for top dollar stuff if the client says I want to go to singapore and charge him x amount of thousand dollars ten thousand dollars to go and do the shoot and I put in there that I want to go first class he comes back and says we don't have the money okay well maybe I could do coach but that ten thousand dollars fee at the top has never budget because the moment I start breaking down on that I'm dead I have no credibility and now I'm just another guy who has no idea what I'm worth I'm just worth whatever you'll pay me um no future in that not because the market force will pull you down so you do everything I read a lot of stuff I uh I'm not the guy with the big giant lens drawer very few lenses but I read him all the time I read tilt shift lenses I rent very long tele photos I have a friend who's got a three hundred to eight cannon was a twenty thousand dollar lens I think he's used it four times pull out three hundred two point eight try to tell me where you could use it you know it's very you know they're not shooting fashion what you doing with birds maybe um and you know and everything that is in passed onto the client so you can definitely do this we were talking was it last time or maybe today at lunch I'm talking to somebody and I I've heard you say oh yeah I'm a working pro I'm a pro photographer but I really I don't want to spend twenty dollars on the snoot I can't afford it um you know working professional photographer if you can't afford twenty dollars you're not sorry good hobby um you know you may be doing it on the side but working pro photographer you've got to be making enough money to spend twenty dollars on a tool it's not a toy it's not something just that you thought would be cool it's a product that you use in your business we have to be able to buy the tools of our trade or we're just a hobby just there's a lot of hobbyists out there with uh there's a lot of hobbyists with a studio and a business card and no other job do you know I'm talking about you know who I'm talking about they're out there they're hobbyists they don't know how much money they're making they have no idea what they're worth they're shooting images for some agents some stock agency that charges twenty nine dollars for an image and they get to dollars and fifty cents and they think that's pro that's there's no future in it what happens when somebody else starts shooting the same kind images you were shooting but there one percent better now you're not even getting two dollars anymore it's not worth it you gotta be in business so do not hesitate to pass on all your expenses to your clients I don't shoot a lot of scene was paper anymore but I used to shoot a lot of seamless paper when I shot seamless paper the client paid for the role period which is why the back of the studio has pink and purple sky blue turquoise aqua marine seamless aquamarine seamless that's the color seamless you use I don't know once and you never use it again they pay for the role piece of white seem I'm gonna use white seamless they're paying for the role by a roll and put it up there and then we have this at this point we got three rolls of white samos we're just not in the business of being somebody else's bank they want you to be you're not this's product and still life photography has a very interesting um reality you can make a lot of money without a lot of cash outlay travel photographer a travels all over the world shooting has a great lifestyle at the end of the year has taxable income uh sixty thousand dollars out of three hundred thousand dollars in the stables okay b studio table top shooter makes three hundred thousand dollars taxable income two hundred twenty thousand dollars you don't have the right offs if you're building stuff and you're doing stuff you're not traveling you don'thave airline tickets and all that stuff so you have you know gross incomes of both gross incomes are there the studio still like petar was making a hell of a lot more money than the gross guy who's also got airline tickets and assistance that everything else built into it and so there's there's a great changes in our differences in the type of work that you do in how much money you make make two thousand dollars on now if you're building if you're budgeting the right way it's it's different but still we're talking roast too gross you know uh travel harbor should make the same amount of money as anybody else they're gross is going to be higher are there I'm sorry they're gross is higher their nets less make sense this is a great business to be in photography is a great business to be in its not dead yet and digital for tires do indeed know what they're doing it's not a uh it's not on life support as we've seen all the time it's a great and vibrant industry look at the amount of people who are watching this show today to learn how to do table top photography company people watch jared platt last week and learn how to do light room it's not a dying industry otherwise you guys we'd be all standing here talking about souffles you know this would be a cooking show um crude creative live is exploding right now not because they're in involved in a dead industry right does that make sense to anyone now so I'm a big believer in this a big believer in this kind of work as faras building your cash flow even if you want to shoot fashion great way to build cash flow even if you want to shoot landscape great way to build cash flow okay could you explain in detail how you come to your chute fading charge pushups teo charge time to have a dartboard e live and die by the throw no um I have basically um most most of jobs that come to me or jobs that I've done before or types of jobs I've done before if I was right now in your position and somebody came to me with a really big job you know something we're talking multiple days big corporate job and you knew you could do it I might well not might I would definitely hire consultants wonderful machine has guys um um oh gosh you uh sleep betrayal will help you you know you pay let you pay some some money for it but you'll learn at the same time but they're people that will help you put some bids together like that for really big clients other clients you just gotta kind of know your mom you know your business and know the area that you're in a single day of jewelry shooting off two shots in new york maybe muchmore or much less than cincinnati depending on the photographer every time we talk about new york we always talk about how much money new york tires make I also know I can go to new york and get this kind of shot down fifty bucks apiece so suspect different fees with different working you have less advertising it's advertising it's charged more because the value to the end user is more my shots goingto bring in more bottom line uh pr shots probably in the middle of the group and then direct to consumer it's really hard to walk into a pizza place who just needs six pictures for the wall they start whipping out your two thousand dollars a piece for you know the shots because of usage you know he's just gonna go really twelve thousand dollar that's like my payroll you know for the three people working for me I can't do that so you have to be sensible about it you really do what I'm I can hear the internet buzzing there too but you did you have to be sensible about it yes rights are important a picture of a pizza pie on the wall for luigi down the street you really want to fight rights with this guy you really want it because when you buy luigi's pizza it's yours you can do anything you want to it I'll try to explain to him how you're just gonna rent him that picture for three months that agencies get it because that's their business luigi maybe not so much well it's that time unless you know what we still have two more days don but I had a song prepared maybe next time

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.