Tag Archives: commercial

Tuesday Viewsday: Make a Call (Commercial Photography)

It isn’t often that I take on a commercial photography project if it doesn’t relate directly to my passion as a portrait photographer like the set of 50 headshots I recently did for a local accounting firm (more on that later). Last year, I challenged myself to dive headfirst into Project 52, a set of weekly photography challenges and assignments put together by the great @wizwow, Don Giannatti.

Can You Hear Me Now? (2012) - Photographer Michael Vujovich posing with a smartphone against a bright white background for a commerical photography project

Can You Hear Me Now? (2012)

This is a great project for any photographer at any stage of professional development to take on as Don takes you through each assignment, you upload your entry into a Flickr thread along with hundreds of others, and then he holds a live online critique during the week to give you feedback. It really does push your boundaries as a shooter. Unfortunately, life and all that comes with it started to snowball and I had to drop out of the projects shortly after completing the photograph you see here.

In the short time that I was a part of Project 52, I did push the envelope beyond what I was normally used to especially when it came to commercial photography. For the seventh assignment, Don asked us to create a couple of images for a point-of-sale display for a local cellular phone company. Since the height and width were defined for the use on the display, I knew I had to shoot for a tall and skinny layout.

At the time, I was exploring blown-out white backgrounds using only my studio strobes and I decided to try my hand with that look in these commercial photography shots. I also needed someone to model the phone and, since time was short, I went with the only guy I had available at the time: myself.

So, if you’re adding this up now, I have the camera on a tripod, two monolights pointed at the background behind me at full power to blow it out, plus a single speedlight with a softbox in front of me to light my face, as well as a remote control for the camera in one hand and the phone in the other. I can’t juggle to save my life, but I sure can multitask!

It took me about 30 frames to finally end up with the lights and posing the way I wanted them. I wasn’t completely happy with the final result honestly, but I do feel it’s something out of my normal wheelhouse and helped me to explore a new avenue I wouldn’t normally have explored. Next time, I would definitely spend some time securing a separate model so I can keep my focus where it needs to be: behind the camera and working the lighting of the scene.

What do you think? Comments? Critiques? Fire away in the comments below!

Tuesday Viewsday: Modeling in the Warehouse District

For some reason, I just can’t seem to get motivated these days. Do you ever have that? It’s like writer’s block, but with everything you do. I don’t want to clean the house, I don’t want to write blog posts, I don’t want to edit photos or build websites… I just don’t want to do anything. It’s times like these when I just have to force the motivation. Once you get the ball rolling, then it’s hard to stop until the end. I also find it helps to give myself a reward when I do something productive like ice cream or a nap.

This past weekend, I forced the motivation to finish up the hardwood floors and windows in my living room. I’m only a few coats of paint away from being done and finally moving furniture in. The fiancé is beside herself (I surprised her for Valentine’s Day) and is already planning the final layout of the room. I’m just happy to start using my hands for pushing a shutter button and running a Wacom tablet than scraping old varnish and sanding away old paint.

Quick Sidenote: Whitney Houston
While most of us can remember where we were when 9/11 happened or Kennedy was shot, Saturday, February 11, 2012 probably will be just another date that is mentioned in passing. It’s unfortunate that so many great hearts, minds, and voices, like Whitney Houston’s, go so gently into Thomas’s dark night and so early in life.

I am not sure what caused her death and I’m not sure I care to know, but one thing remains true, no matter what: she was a powerful force in music and she was taken too early in life. I hope that she finds peace wherever she ends up; I figure Heaven’s choir just added a new soprano to their ranks. I know there is, and will be, enough said about her over the next few days, but as a musician, I have to say that while the date of her death may be just another day, her voice and her collection of songs will last well beyond my lifetime and many more to come.

Thunderstruck

Amanda modeling a new T-shirt

Thunderstruck

If you told me in high school that one day my best friend will one of the best DJ’s in the United States, I would have said you were crazy. Zoom forward and here I am: the official photographer for one of the most popular DJ websites around, White Folks Get Crunk.

This little music blog, started by my college roommate, DJ Real Juicy, in our small house on Bradley Avenue, has blown up in the DJ world over the past few years as has Juice’s career.

His résumé includes playing sets with Mighty Mi, opening for Steve Aoki and Flo Ride, and playing gigs all over including Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Las Vegas, and even Finland!

As friends, Juice and I support each other in both of our crafts, music and photography, so I love trying out new techniques when working on WFGC projects. One of the main areas of the WFGC website is the online merchandise store, but I felt that the images of the shirts hanging on hangers or laying on a floor weren’t really compelling and wouldn’t draw the user in.

I’ve only had a little commercial photography experience, but I wanted to try my hand at shooting some more “action” shots of girls modeling the merchandise. In the midst of developing the Crunk Girl of the Month feature on the website (that story is for another time), I was also able to shoot some great images for Juice’s online web store.

I shot this image of one of my favorite models, Amanda, who has been modeling for less than a year, as the first Crunk Girl and we featured her in the brand new Thunderstruck T-shirt that Juice was promoting. I own one of these bad boys myself; I love this shirt because, unlike most of the WFGC merchandise, the design is very “rock n’ roll” and not as “DJ/club.”

With the T-shirt design as my guide, I decided to go with a location that was a little more urban so we headed into the Warehouse District in Peoria and found a little alley off the beaten path. The golden hour was upon us and I had Amanda try a number of poses, but this one quickly became my favorite.

The bokeh on this image is really nice; the focus is still on Amanda, but we have some industrial, rusted elements in the background, which adds a nice touch to the overall feeling. The colors in the background are also contrasting compared to the black of the shirt and they tie in well with Amanda’s blue jeans as well. I also love the way she is posing – nothing says “badass/sexy” like hands on the hips, weight on the back foot, hips shifted, and looking out like she doesn’t care about anything or anyone. Now that’s some great modeling!

For the photographers out there, here’s a quick posing tip: placing weight on the back leg/foot will make models slimmer in frame.

So what do you think? Got a comment or critique? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

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Commercial Photography – Elkat Inc.

Cut Mats (Elkat Inc.)

Cut Mats

It isn’t often that I find myself in the position to shoot photos for a commercial photography project or company other than portraits. I’m more of a people person and so I shoot photos of people. I shoot the occasional fine art landscape, whether rural or urban, but people is where my passion and my heart is for photography.

However, in addition to my abilities as a photographer, I am also a freelance graphic/web designer and web marketing consultant. I work with smaller businesses who often can’t afford the luxuries of a large Internet development and marketing firm, but still provide to them those opportunities to grow their business through the use of their website, social media, and general Internet marketing. And because I happen to do both services, I often find myself shooting photos for smaller businesses that I design websites for.

Well, a couple of good friends of the family run a company called Elkat Inc. Elkat specializes in selling mat-boards cut to specific sizes. Since I am a photographer and I find the need for mats comes up from time to time, we decided to trade some services and I wanted to help these friends of mine out by working on their website. The site is almost up and running, but one of the last pieces of the puzzle was the photography. During my design and build of the site, I was using placeholder images, but now it was time to put in unique images from the shop itself.

I headed on down to their shop last weekend and shot a wide range of photos from some of their cut mats to the different cutting machines and some wide angles of the shop itself. While it might not look like much, they walked me through their process and I was totally in awe. It was a lot of fun hanging out with the good folks at Elkat and I’ll definitely let everyone know when their site is up and running.

For photographers who may be wondering, the new website will allow you to place orders with Elkat and, let me tell you, you can’t find better prices around. If you work with a lot of mats or have the need for matted prints, please feel free to swing by their site when it is live (I’ll keep you posted – I promise!) and let them know you are interested.

Edit: The new Elkat Inc. website is now live. Check it out here.

For any smaller businesses out there looking for reasonably priced commercial photography services or wanting some advice on Internet marketing strategies including social media, search engine ranking, etc. please fill out my contact form.

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