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Photography Question 
Ibiyomi Jegede

Taking Pictures of Products

Hello Everyone,
I have a huge desire to be a really good photographer. I've done two weddings in the past four years and many events. A friend owns an upscale infant and children's boutique and wants me to shoot everything from cribs to bibs. My first questions is: What do I charge? I anticipate this taking four to five hours. Next question: What kind of inexpensive lighting would be appropriate? I purchased a Smith Victor studio kit for $200.00 (three lamps). I haven't used it yet, but I wanted to know if I wasted my money. The wattage is 1500. Please advise!

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11/16/2006 8:43:21 AM

John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  The first question you should ask yourself is whether you ever do this again. This has a big effect on your willingness to invest in lighting. Strobes are much better for this work. I would suggest used Norman lights from eBay as a good and inexpensive way to go. The 900 series equipment, 800 or 1250 watt-second power packs, and the LH2000 or LH2400 heads are the best way to go. You could get the Smith-Victor units, but keep in mind you must have almost no other light in the room including daylight. Otherwise you will have trouble controlling your color. The Smith-Victor lights will have limited utility in other sorts of photography, and you get what you pay for.
I charge $125 an hour for this work, but I am very efficient, 20 or more usable shots per hour. This used to be a better business area but digital has made it easier, and cheaper. Also a lot of people do tolerable product photography and then charge to make it better in Photoshop. Good luck! John

Editor's note: Check out John Siskin's related PhotoCourses here at BetterPhoto: Introduction to Product Photography and Understanding Professional Lighting.

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11/16/2006 9:54:34 AM

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