What is the next step??

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by Matt Jones, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. Matt Jones

    Matt Jones TPF Noob!

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    I have been updating my portfolio lately with all of my product images. I am new to product photography and have never done a paid shoot. To start here are some of my photos:

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    I would love some feedback on the photos.

    So my question is: What is the most effective way to pick up shoots for online/print catalogs?

    I am new to the forum, finally found one that discusses product photography!

    Thanks!

    -Matt
     
  2. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  3. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Bummer this thread is such a dud. Anyone out their interested in commercial work?

    Love & Bass
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well... ya know I'm here, buddy. It's what keeps me afloat.

    I wonder where Fred went.

    -Pete
     
  5. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I knew you would come through Pete. Have you ever paid for ad lists anything? Seems you are pretty established. Was it word of mouth in the beginning? I just moved to a new area. Work is quickly picking up, but I need to be contacting more people. Are you always sending your book around?

    Love & Bass
     
  6. dmassphoto

    dmassphoto TPF Noob!

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    Matt,
    Today, it isn't enough to be just a good photographer, you have to know your business as well. First thing's first: Get your portfolio up to snuff, about 15 well thought out images will do the trick. Find a way of shooting that will set you apart from the crowd, showing your particular style. Then, learn the business inside and out. Joining a professional photographer's organization will help and will pay for itself instantly. I believe cutting corners when it comes to this will not only hurt you, but other photographers out there trying to make a living. Then, read some books and get your marketing skills ready and go out and get some clients.
    It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. I'm in my fourth year and am just now starting to kick off. But, in those four years, I had a crash course in bad business practices and I'm still trying to recover. Make a good start and you'll be set, then build on that.

    Books to try: ASMP Professional Business Practices, 7th Edition
    The Photographer's Guide to Marketing & Self Promotion - Maria Piscopo
    And plenty of others out there if you do your research. Good Luck!
     
  7. Michael P. Harker

    Michael P. Harker TPF Noob!

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    Matt,

    I spent 25 years as a professional commercial/industrial photographer and have a little advice that might help you.

    All of these photos are called "high key" because of the white background and amount of light you're using. This "style" of product photography has always been a small percentage of the market. Most product photography is done with the product on more complimentary backgrounds (color compatiblilty). The light is more controlled so that the object has more modeling (contour/tecture/color saturation).

    Try using silver umbrellas with black backing and feather your light across the product. This is only learned by experimenting with your lights and observing closely how the light changes as you move them.

    If you want to see some good advertising photography, check out Communications Arts magazine; top commercial photographers from around the world showcase their "book" in the magazine (a "book" is a portfolio/sample of their Best images).

    If you want to give it a go professionally, there are some basic things to do:

    1. You need business cards and stationary that match ( A $30 desktop publishing software will give you the tools to design these pieces).

    2. Set your rates for what the market expects from a professional, usually $75-85 per hour and a $500 day rate

    3. Create a "book" of your best work (not more than 10 images) in print and digital format (CD). Mount the prints on 4-ply board and have a white 2-ply window matt professionall cut to frame the image. Buy a good presentation box to store/display them in (Light Impressions is an excellent source).

    4. Always dress professionally when you get an interview. Try starting with advertising agencies. If your car is old, park it some where that the client can't see.

    Mainly, be positive, courteous and friendly - that will at least give you a fighting chance to start your career.

    Good luck to you!

    Michael P. Harker
     
  8. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Craigslist is always an option. I have made a couple of clients from there. Keep in mind that it is not a place for serious photography buyers. You are much better off contacting art directors and magazines.

    Love & Bass
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No. I've never bought a list. But, marketing is not one of my strong points.
    Referals have been the biggest part for me.
    As for a portfolio, I've never really had one. When I call on a new client, I bring finished samples of work that I've done for others... the actual printed pieces. I've found this carrys a lot more weight than images shot solely for promotion. I bring samples that are somewhat "related." If the prospective client makes water heaters, I'm sure to bring work of painted, metal products that are about the same size.

    But (for the record), I need more work too. Things are slow for me lately. My goal for the new year is to get just two more clients... ones that have an ongoing need for photography. I'm not sure yet just how I'm going to do it. I'm condisering making some cold calls saying, "I'd really like to work for you. I think I can be of help." I will shoot one job on spec for a new client to prove myself IF there's a chance I can get the account.

    It's hard to get an account away from another source unless there's a change in their maketing department personel. I'm more inclined to look for an up-start company with some promise... one that's ready to do more with marketing than they have in the past, with a new appetite for photography.

    -Pete
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Umm.... I haven't billed at $500/day for more than 20 years. Better to double this, at the very least.

    Also consider working out a per image rate. Many times, the client is thinking this way when they get your invoice. I've witnessed my clients taking the invoice and dividing the total $ by the number of shots to decide if I met their cost projection.


    Image is very important.... especially when first meeting with a prospect. When you get right down to it, you're asking them to trust you with their image.

    Always nice!! One agency can bring you many opportunities. And, when they find they like working with you, and your work makes them look good, they call again and again.

    -Pete
     
  11. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Absolutely good advice.

    I fell away from this years ago. Ya know.... miss one or two meetings, and it's so easy to just stop.

    I'm suffering from it still. One day I'll get back. I know I NEED to... so, one day... soon.

    -Pete
     

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