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Thread: How does one become a product photographer?

  1. #1
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    How does one become a product photographer?

    The question is simple. How does one become a product photographer?

  2. #2
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    Re: How does one become a product photographer?

    I don't know. I still want to know what happened to me and how I ended up there...

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    Re: How does one become a product photographer?

    I am sure it is not easy to answer but how much is the general price range for product photography? Just a general idea...

  4. #4
    rpb
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    Re: How does one become a product photographer?

    I am sure it is not easy to answer
    You thought right, it is almost impossible to answer, first you need to know what product is being photographed, how complex is the image, lighting, studio, file size, post production, what is the image going to be used for and how long and finally what kind of budget does the client have.
    Once you have answered these question will probably have a general idea of how much to charge.

    rpb

  5. #5
    rpb
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    Re: How does one become a product photographer?

    p.s

    beautiful wedding photography.

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    Re: How does one become a product photographer?

    I can give you a perspective from a buyer of product photography ... which is what I did for 40 years before retiring from the advertising and communications business. In addition to wedding and portraits, I still also do product photography part time. Wheels and fabrics for Cadillac, Corvette, Buick and Chevy ... I just shot the GM 2012 product line.

    The following applies to ad works or collateral communications for bigger companies that pay decently ... not Mom & Pop businesses (which are viable, but makes it tough to support any kind of an infrastructure needed for the more high-paying ad work).

    Product work can fall into any number of specialty areas: Food ... Smaller table top work: Jewelry, watches, etc./packages (including Fragrances, Beverages, etc.), /industrial parts, etc., ... and Larger product work like cars, trucks, planes, boats, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and larger industrial machines.

    Art Directors and photography buyers tend to look for photographers that specialize in specific types of work. I didn't look for a Food shooter amongst Industrial shooters. This is because it requires a special infrastructure and relationship with Food oriented support people, and a studio equipped with a kitchen (which can be rented). Industrial shooters may well have a totally different infrastructure and support resources ... including portable lighting and beefy grips to move all the stuff around. Car/Vehicle shooters are a whole other category which has been heavily impacted by CGI.

    So, to get into Product Work, it is best to start with a specialty ... the easiest of which is table top ... and develop a unique approach. ADs are always on the outlook for something to distinguish their product photography from others in order to cut through the media clutter. However, it is not as easy as it seems on the surface. You really have to study what is out there and find your own creative niche.

    Once you have a style and look, keep refining it and put together enough samples to prove that you are consistent at providing a unique look and feel for various types of table top products. This doesn't mean that you cannot branch out into other types of commercial work eventually to provide a more diverse base of income ... but its better to start with a manageable goal at first.

    Then comes the hard part ... getting the paying work

    Depending on your area, you'll need to embark on a selling strategy ... ranging from a website, social sites, portfolio presentation to make one-on-one with art directors or communication managers of companies, which means sweet-talking the gate keepers to even make an appointment ... and if you are REALLY, REALLY good, a rep firm will take you on and do the promotional work, get the jobs and negotiate the fees ... for a substantial %.

    One of my earliest product photography influences was Phil Marco (whom I hired many times once I became a Executive Art Director for a big Ad agency) ... google him and take a peek. Perhaps not earth shattering any more, but once upon a time he set the drum beat for product shooters ... and he still has it.

    Now, all that said ... why Product Photography? Why not people work?

    -Marc

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    Re: How does one become a product photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpb View Post
    You thought right, it is almost impossible to answer, first you need to know what product is being photographed, how complex is the image, lighting, studio, file size, post production, what is the image going to be used for and how long and finally what kind of budget does the client have.
    Once you have answered these question will probably have a general idea of how much to charge.

    rpb

    Thanks a lot!

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    Re: How does one become a product photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    ... Phil Marco (whom I hired many times once I became a Executive Art Director for a big Ad agency) ... google him and take a peek. Perhaps not earth shattering any more, but once upon a time he set the drum beat for product shooters ... and he still has it.

    Now, all that said ... why Product Photography? Why not people work?

    -Marc
    Thanks for your answer Marc, even though I did not ask the question. Phil Marco, ..... quite intense imaging I would say. Certainly not a regular catalogue shooter, LOL.

  9. #9
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    Re: How does one become a product photographer?

    I think that one of the basic questions is:

    Are you going to use the equipment you have (perhaps with the DOF merge technique) or are you going to invest in additional equipment?

    ...also what manufacturers are there in your area?

    Where are you, and what kit have you got?

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