Shooting Furniture

(and other large products)

At one point in my life I considered being a furniture maker. I had the woodworking bug. I read books and magazines on the subject. I built really, really bad tables with drawers that didn’t work quite right — all of the things we do when we first start a new endeavor, we screw up. After a close call between my finger and a table saw I rethought things. I’m fine with that. But I still really like good furniture. Having tried to do this myself, I have a great respect for those who do it well. Over the years I’ve had several furniture clients, some of whom make great stuff, others not so much. The clients who make great furniture are still around. (more…)

Continue Reading

Traveling with Equipment

One requirement of being a corporate photographer is travel. Fortunately most of my travel is fairly local, or at least what I consider local, Philadelphia to Washington DC and on occasion, New York. I tend to be in DC a couple times a month, sometimes a couple times a week. Most of my trips are by train so I try to travel light, and by light I mean two Nikon bodies, four lenses, three speed lights, Pocket Wizards and batteries, so not really light. I needed to find an easier way to carry my gear. (more…)

Continue Reading

A simple cheat to direct a viewer’s eye

We can’t always control the shoot as much as we’d like. One of my regular gigs is shooting real food prepared by real kitchen staff at real restaurants. The shots are more about the cooks and the restaurants than about my photographic prowess. Many times food comes out of the kitchen looking perfect, other times … not so much.  On these assignments I’m also usually restricted to available light, or minimal supplemental lighting. Immediately I’ve lost control over two key aspects of the shot. It’s on assignments like these that I’ll often employ a trick that’s so simple I’m almost   embarrassed–vignetting.

By artificially darkening the corners and edges of images we can direct the viewer’s eye toward the center. The trick is to not overdo it, but to have it be subtle. If you look at an image and think, ‘Oh, darkened corners,’ you’ve most likely gone too far. There are several points along the way where you can employ this trick, but my preference is in Photoshop, after the image has been cropped and the contrast adjusted.

My personal method involved the Quickmask tool and an Adjustment layer. On you image, enter Quickmask mode (Q key command) and select a round paint brush of appropriate size. Then simply mask the majority of the image. Remember this is a mask, not a selection, so the areas you paint will not be affected by the next step.

Quickmask mode
Quickmask mode


Continue Reading

Working for the Man, Part 2

Back in March I posted an article entitled, Working for the Man about what life is like as a corporate shooter. Well I thought it was time for an update. We just survived a corporate-wide rumor that the Hatchet Man cometh, but as with most corporate chatter it was nothing but a rumor. So I live to shoot another day, (more…)

Continue Reading

Book Review: Tell the World You Don’t Suck

Tell the World You Don’t Suck: Modern Marketing for Commercial Photographers by Leslie Burns Dell’Acqua

I’m a big fan of marketing and advertising my business. I really try hard to put my work, my business and my name out there as much as possible. With that said, sometimes I get stuck. Getting stuck in your marketing is no different from getting stuck creatively. It happens to all of us and learning how to break out of that rut and into more productive areas is important for any business owner.  It’s at times like these that books like this one come in very handy indeed.  Sometimes we need a creative kick in the pants, sometimes the foot is more business oriented. (more…)

Continue Reading

Working for “The Man”

I’ll be the first to admit, I see photographers do shoots in exotic locations, shooting beautiful models or covering major sporting events and yes I get a little envious but there is something to be said for being a corporate photographer. First – the steady paycheck and benefits are nice, tuition reimbursement, paid time off is also nice and now and then an interesting assignment comes your way, like flying in a helicopter with the Army or freezing my butt off in the second largest wind tunnel in the country – NASA tops the list. But with all the nice things about being a corporate shooter there are as many downsides to this type of photography.
Where do I begin”¦. (more…)

Continue Reading

Shooting ice cream…

…and other frozen treats is delicate and very technically challenging. It’s also a lot of fun. Working with real food is always my preference when possible. I’ve found that the time spent in creating fake food is often better spent by making real food look better. Frozen and very cold items is one of my exceptions to this rule. (more…)

Continue Reading

Splash and pour shots

One of the most fun types of shoots we get asked to do regularly is the pour shot. I personally like the pour shot because it’s technically challenging, visually arresting and sometimes unpredictable. (more…)

Continue Reading

What clients want.

Photography from the clients’ point of view.
by Jen Buchanan, Design Partner of Buchanan Studios, Inc.

I’m not a photographer, but I do work with them. I’m a Graphic Designer and I occasionally get the chance to hire photographers. It doesn’t happen very often, usually due to budgets. In my time as a designer I’ve learned several things about creative professionals and how they work. I’ve got a few tips for photographers on how to make the whole process run more smoothly and help ensure repeat business. True, I’ve dealt mostly with commercial photographers, but I think these tips will work for most anyone. (more…)

Continue Reading

Putting together your corporate team

Now don’t let the term “corporate” scare you. I understand that most of us don’t want to live in the corporate world, myself included. I have no desire to work in a cubicle, make decisions by committee or wear a suit every day. But a big part of our business is reminding our clients and customers that we are expert at what we do. (more…)

Continue Reading
Close Menu