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Mobile Phone for product and still life photography
  
 
allan36
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


Hi,

I mostly use a Nikon DSLR for my work. I am mostly a portrait photographer, but would like to do professional product and still life photography.

I use cameras from a mobile phone, my Nikon to 4x5 film. I recently bought a Holga, but have not used it yet.

After reviewing several hundred pictures, I often found that I liked the mobile phone pictures the best. I am
not sure why? It just seemed more natural, easier to use and allowed me to shoot at unusual angles, etc.

I know most product photographers probably use high end cameras and even medium format. Would an
advertising agency or corporation accept a more artistic approach and the lesser technical quality of the
phone pictures or would they think it's unprofessional and not acceptable?

I know a lot of companies use phones for simple shots for instagram, ebay, etc. but I am planning to market
to a higher end audience.

I would especially appreciate comments from anyone who does product shots professionally for advertising and editorial use in bigger magazines.



Jun 02, 2017 at 07:56 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


Magazines want advertising submitted as 300dpi PDF files.

The iPhone 6 is 8Mp, and the iPhone 7 is 12Mp. I did many product shots with an 8Mp Canon 20D and a 10Mp Canon 40D. I've also used some older Canon Full Frame cameras like the 1Ds2 when I needed to use a 90mm TS-E lens—no visible difference in quality for the final ad.

The big problem is that you can't use studio strobes, only continuous light.

Have fun



Jun 02, 2017 at 10:13 PM
glort
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


allan36 wrote:
Would an advertising agency or corporation accept a more artistic approach and the lesser technical quality of the phone pictures or would they think it's unprofessional and not acceptable?

I know a lot of companies use phones for simple shots for instagram, ebay, etc. but I am planning to market to a higher end audience.



I see a conundrum or 2 here that you seem to miss.

You want to market to a High end audience with lesser quality Pics.
How do you see that working?

Then, you want to be hired to take pics that essentially the paying clients could take themselves on their own phones.
WTF you going to do with a phone and available/ constant light that they couldn't do with their own phones in front of a Window or under a sheet outside?

It's a very simple and basic marketing question..... What are you going to do that they couldn't do themselves OR, even more simple, why hire you?

Are the shots you are producing something out of the box that no one else can do and clients will be motivated to pay for because it sells their product or service better than that others can provide them?

As a shooter I'd ask why use a phone instead of a camera? If you have all that gear and still prefer the look of the shots from the phone, I'd suggest you are doing something wrong and may want to brush up on things a bit.

I used to do advertising and promotional work but putting the shoe on the other foot, If I was in an agency and someone came to me saying " Will you accept shots I took on my phone?" they bloody well better have something freaking outstanding to show me or I'd laugh their arse right out the door.
Of course if they did have something that blew me away, the next question would be " why can't you shoot that on a real camera and give us the res and file sizes we want?"

If you replied that shooting on your phone was easier, I'd be pulling my phone out to record the conversation and put it on YT to prove someone really did say that to me.

Have you ever worked for a commercial client agency before?
Seems to me not. Generally you get a brief and they will tell you what the pic is to be used for and their size requirements if it's for an ad or marketing campaign. I have never known that to be Negotiable or anyone even asked about it. News, editorial and SM shots are one thing, campaigns with tens of thousands or more spent on them are quite another.

Seems to me you are trying to market to the most professional and high level with the most basic and amateur equipment.
Unless you are doing something original and incredible the office girl couldn't do on her phone, ( which I'd REALLY like to see) I wouldn't even be thinking of uttering a word about a phone less they take you to be wasting their time and making a laughing stock of yourself.





Jun 06, 2017 at 05:02 AM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


glort wrote:
I see a conundrum or 2 here that you seem to miss.

You want to market to a High end audience with lesser quality Pics.
How do you see that working?



What's Pic quality have to do with it If he can supply 300 dpi files, that's all that's needed.

Here in the US of A some companies are going to either in-house agencies, or sub-contracting the work.



Depending on the client shot on an iPhone could be a plus Some clients want perceived authenticity more than they want absolute IQ.

Do I see the OP being successful using an iPhone I sorta doubt it—if he had to ask, he doesn't have the right mindset. But there are some creatives who will make a lot of money with a iPhone.



Jun 06, 2017 at 06:54 AM
kdphotography
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


Once you start post processing, retouching, and yes---cropping into an image, you'll really start to understand the benefits of high resolution camera systems. Colors? Medium format. Sometimes the requirements for color fidelity are very exacting. And printing requirements can push the files also. Tons of other reasons why a professional camera and lighting system is a better choice.

Leave the camera phone for snapshots and behind the scenes shots. That's where they excel.



Jun 06, 2017 at 12:59 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


kdphotography wrote:
Once you start post processing, retouching, and yes---cropping into an image, you'll really start to understand the benefits of high resolution camera systems. Colors? Medium format. Sometimes the requirements for color fidelity are very exacting. And printing requirements can push the files also. Tons of other reasons why a professional camera and lighting system is a better choice.










Jun 06, 2017 at 09:03 PM
kdphotography
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


Wow---imagine that. Trying to sell their own product.

Besides being a "hasty generalization"---can you tell me how to sync my Profoto strobes to an iPhone?

I'm just not ready to give up my Phase digital back and strobes yet. Or even my DSLR.

You first.



Jun 06, 2017 at 10:01 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


kdphotography wrote:
Besides being a "hasty generalization"---can you tell me how to sync my Profoto strobes to an iPhone?



The sync speed is in the range of 1/30-1/45, not really useful http://www.tricflash.com

Have you ever used HMIs? I have, nice light.

I'm just not ready to give up my Phase digital back and strobes yet. Or even my DSLR.


You aren't the OP—no-one is asking you to give up any thing.

Just because you think iPhone photography is a loser, doesn't mean that it is. I'm sure that you think that Juergen Teller turns out dreck—but he's been successful for twenty plus years. There is no reason that the next Juergen Teller can't use an iPhone, instead of a snap-shot camera.

BTW I've sold all my Profoto gear.


Edited on Jun 07, 2017 at 12:08 AM · View previous versions



Jun 07, 2017 at 12:00 AM
glort
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography



If I start taking pics with my phone, how the heck am I going to make and take calls on my camera?



Jun 07, 2017 at 12:04 AM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


glort wrote:
If I start taking pics with my phone, how the heck am I going to make and take calls on my camera?


Not a problem, I have an unlisted number



Jun 07, 2017 at 12:26 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



kdphotography
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


The OP states he wants to market to a higher end audience/market.

Um, yeah---good luck with that iPhone.

Now what do you do when the Marketing and Advertising Director whips out a better iPhone than you have?



Jun 07, 2017 at 12:48 AM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


kdphotography wrote:
The OP states he wants to market to a higher end audience/market.


I mentioned Juergen Teller. He shoots for Marc Jacobs and the NYTimes magazines. In the 1990s he switched from a Hasselblad to a Contax P&S. Since then he's used several systems. He's even gave up film—but he still uses hot-shoe flash. Oh the horror of it all.







Um, yeah---good luck with that iPhone. Now what do you do when the Marketing and Advertising Director whips out a better iPhone than you have?

Most people have better cameras than Juergen Teller, so gear isn't the reason he gets hired.

kdphotography wrote:
Besides being a "hasty generalization"---can you tell me how to sync my Profoto strobes to an iPhone?



And I provided this video as an answer. Why hasn't kdphotography made a comment about this

BTW I'm going to risk the $58.00 plus shipping and handling to get a Tric. A friend has a 2400Ws Profoto D4, that I'll use to do some testing.



Jun 07, 2017 at 02:36 AM
kdphotography
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


Really? You need me to make a comment about everything? You certainly are the argumentative type.

You sorta answered your own question when you wrote: "The sync speed is in the range of 1/30-1/45, not really useful." (supra)

Um, okay. Knock your socks off. I've been involved in photography for many years and have no desire to get into a pissing contest with you. If you think the iPhone is a viable solution for a professional photographer, more power to you. I'm simply not going to be one of your converts.

Just simply imho.



Jun 07, 2017 at 03:25 AM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


kdphotography wrote:
Um, okay. Knock your socks off. I've been involved in photography for many years and have no desire to get into a pissing contest with you. If you think the iPhone is a viable solution for a professional photographer, more power to you. I'm simply not going to be one of your converts.

Just simply imho.


I've never taken a photo with an iPhone, so why would I want to convert someone to something I don't myself do

I was never an advocate of compact P&S film cameras, but Juergen Teller built a career around their use. Different strokes for different folks

The OP asked, and I simply told him what publishers expect to get from an agency—a 300dpi PDF file containing the ad. With this info he could have ran his own tests. He could have made a fake ad and given the PDF file to a printer. Then he would have some answers that apply to him.

BTW I've never considered "because I said you can't to be a helpful answer. YMMV.

BTW2 I think that I can make some useful iPhone photos—but until I run some tests, I will not have a definitive answer.



Jun 07, 2017 at 04:39 AM
AceCo55
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


Probably because I'm old and cynical ... but ...

I always wonder how legit an OP's post is when
1) it is their first post to a forum
2) it "appears" to have major contradictions, or seemingly very basic misunderstandings

But I'm sometimes completely wrong ... and I sincerely apologise to the OP if this IS a serious post.
My cynicism sometimes clouds my judgement.



Jun 07, 2017 at 09:13 AM
mdude85
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


Terry Richardson and Juergen Teller are not the norm -- they are exceptions. It's two people who have built a career out of the "snapshot-style" look but think about the many thousands of working photographers who cannot do that.

It's the same thing with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. It's technically possible to drop out of college and become a billionaire, but really, how many college dropouts end up as billionaires? Very few.

If you can sell a specific style to an agency then have at it. Otherwise, if you are not a well-known photographer with a remarkable style, your gear and your knowledge of using it is a huge part of your value as a photographer.



Jun 07, 2017 at 01:56 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


AceCo55 wrote:
Probably because I'm old and cynical ... but ...

I always wonder how legit an OP's post is when ...
(


Legit, or not, s/he was smart enough to keep out of the action

My suggestion to make a test, was a good one. But next time I'll just say buy my book




Jun 07, 2017 at 02:52 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


mdude85 wrote:
Terry Richardson and Juergen Teller are not the norm -- they are exceptions.


Anyone who rises to the top is an exception—in any field, not just photography.

There are a lot of people looking for the magic bullet. They are looking to master that one technique that will make them a star, but it ain't gonna happen. All you need lies between your ears‚ or it doesn't.

Richardson and Teller get hired for their people skills, not their photographic skills. They know how to schmooze.




Could you have gotten Lady Gaga into that trash can



Jun 07, 2017 at 03:34 PM
story_teller
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


There's a difference between possible and practical. Still life photography is possible and maybe practical with an iPhone. Product photography is possible, but is it practical? I just took a photo of a wine bottle on a table. It's a private label wine and tonight I'll go over to the owner's restaurant and sell her the photo for $1. Technically, I'll be a product photographer and a professional since I got paid for it. Now to the practical.....

If I could find a niche market that was highly repetitive in nature with products that were easy to photograph and the pay was reasonable, there might be a living to be had. Finding that market is one of the bigger challenges.

Other challenges include:
- lighting, although you could possibly get away with continuous lighting.
- different lenses. This could be a problem with controlling depth of field, environmental product shots and longer distance shots. Rather than pick a lens out of the bag and start shooting you would need to improvise.
- Low light shots. The physically smaller sensor will have limitations.

It's possible that all these challenges can be overcome with one-off solutions, but that takes time and money so your efficiency and effectiveness goes way down. You would need to charge more to make a profit.

The larger ad agencies want quality. They are putting significant written and visual psychology into each ad to make it the most appealing in a competitive market to the customer. Do you really think they want sub-par visuals? If they want something "artsy" they hire a graphic artist.

I'm not saying that it can't be done. It's simply not going to be the "next big thing".




Jun 07, 2017 at 05:46 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Mobile Phone for product and still life photography


story_teller wrote:
The larger ad agencies want quality. They are putting significant written and visual psychology into each ad to make it the most appealing in a competitive market to the customer. Do you really think they want sub-par visuals? If they want something "artsy" they hire a graphic artist.



The people who get ahead in the photo-world are problem-solvers. The ones who look at problems as opportunities to set themselves apart from the crowd. Now on to an answer for your artsy statement.

Ever hear of social media influencers? Amateurs hired by ad agencies, to influence their peer group. They don't get hired for their photographic ability to produce pristine images. They get hired because they can schmooze.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-kim-kardashian-logan-paul-social-media-influencers/




Jun 07, 2017 at 08:31 PM
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