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Commericlaphoto
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4.1 The Commercial Assignment

In this lesson we'll take a look at some common commercial assignments: portraits, product photography, and architecture. You'll learn how an assignment works and what to expect on the job.

4.1 The Commercial Assignment

In the last lesson, we talked about finding your ideal client. In this lesson, I'm gonna cover some of the common assignments that you'll come across as a commercial photographer. There are three main areas that I get asked to do on a consistent basis. The first is portraiture, the second is real estate, and the third is product. In portraiture, the most asked-for thing is, of course, the headshot. Everyone needs a good headshot, whether it's for their website, or their bio section, or their business card, or even their social media profiles. Everyone needs a great headshot. Most of my time spent on a headshot is not doing lighting or camera settings or trying to find a creative angle. It's spent getting that emotion out of your client and getting them to look their absolute best. Of course, there's other kinds of portraiture as well. You could be shooting catalog work for clothing, or you could be shooting a PR booster for a magazine. Either way, working with people is a really, really important skill to learn, and you'll do a lot of portraiture inside the commercial world. The second thing I get asked to do a lot is real estate. Usually for real estate, because of the way I set up my pricing structure, I don't get asked a lot of realtors to shoot low end real estate. There's two different ways that you can position your business and your brand, you can either be boutique, or volume. I'm not going to diss either one, they're both great ways of running a profitable business. I chose to be boutique because I can shoot less clients, spend more time with each client, and deliver a higher quality of product. If you choose to go the volume route, that's a great way to have a profitable business model. You'll be spending less time with each clients, have a lot more clients to work with, and be able to give them a very consistent product. In the boutique realm, every shoot is very different. In the volume realm, every shoot is very the same, and you have to come up with a formula so that you can run them through the production line, and that's how you run a profitable volume business. So, if you're shooting low-end real estate, such as any house that the realtor says, I need to sell this house, but I don't wanna shoot it with my own point and shoot. You go in. You do the shoot for them. These are generally on the lower end, and you can shoot several houses in a single day. But if you're doing the higher end, a lot of times I'm not actually getting asked to shoot for a real estate to sell something, although that is a great commercial option as well, for the real estate photographers, but a lot of times I'm getting asked to shoot office lobbies. Can you show people what our building looks like so they can find it from the street? Can you show people that we have a warm inviting environment when they come step into our office? This is a really important skill set, and it's stuff that they do need for their website, so it's great to have that on-hand, even though I don't shoot the traditional real estate in that sense. The third thing that I get asked to do a lot is products. If you are doing a catalog, then the catalog will be one after another, and chances are, you want to pop it. So you put it down. [SOUND] Pop. Next item, pop. When you're running a volume business like this, it's very good to have a formula and being able to get a lot of products out. Catalog work is very much this volume business. The other side of it is getting one product to look the absolute best that it can. This would be an example of Apple. When you look at Apple's photography, they don't run through every single item, and then just pop it here you go. They take a lot of time, and a lot of effort to make every single phone or product looks as sexy as an electronic absolutely can. So that is the high end where you're spending a lot of time in work to get one photo for products you can sell many times. For products, a lot of what I get asked to shoot is these products. I want something simple on white so I can sell it. But some of the other things I get asked to shoot, is I've been asked to shoot food for a chef. They want to show, these are the things that we've done. Now, food photography, again, is another niche inside product photography that is more specialized than just products, and there's a lot of tricks and techniques to shooting food as well. Sometimes as a commercial photographer, you'll be asked to do more editorial style assignments. This is very common, but you can approach them the same way as you would a commercial shoot. Yes, editorial is slightly different, as you're trying to tell a story versus strictly selling a product. But even in selling a product, you want to tell a story that makes the viewer connect with them. With this photo, it's humanizing the firm's partners, so that you can more easily connect with the person you are going to hire. Now you've seen some common commercial assignments that you'll be asked to do as a commercial photographer. In the next section, we're gonna talk about how to find your look and niche down your style so that you can become instantly recognizable on the market.

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