Shooting to Layout: A Point of Purchase Display

Shooting to Layout: A Point of Purchase Display

One of the most difficult parts of commercial photography is shooting to layout. A designer or art director has an approved layout, and your shot must work within the elements on the page. We see it a lot in catalog, advertising, collateral, and web oriented assignments.

For this particular assignment, the image had to be crafted to fit in the pre-approved design of the point of purchase (POP) display. Designed to go in hundreds of mom ‘n pop hardware stores and nurseries the goal of the shot is grab some attention and get the viewer to take a brochure. There would be three brochure racks hanging below the lower band and hide most of the image.


A WordPress Plugin for Photographers

A Kickstarter for Photographers to LOVE.

My friend Jon Mathers is a photographer / programmer down in Perth, Australia. He and I were chatting about some new and better tools for photographers using WordPress, and Jon decided to build a small suite of tools that I thought were missing. We started with a mosaic gallery, and a horizontal scrolling gallery that are quite hard to find in a lot of themes.

(Demo Site) – and as one of the beta testers, I can say there is a LOT more coming than is visible here. This Plugin is amazing and filled with little gems that will be exciting for commercial AND consumer shooters.

We then thought it would be cool to add a document area for keeping track of items we may want to keep together for projects.

BAM… he was off to the races and this plugin has been growing and growing and will be an amazing tool for photographers. The Project 52 members are beta testing it and so far loving it. There are few – if any – similar plugins out there.

Here is what it has in the suite as of this morning. I am running it and will attest that it all runs great.

Masonry (mosaic) gallery.
Horizontal scrolling gallery. (Editorial shooters love them)
Before / After tool for showing images comparison (one over the top with a reveal slider)
Panoramic Viewer for ultrawide photographs
Print Gallery: Create a selection of images that can all be printed on one sheet for a client. Also allows the client to take out images they don’t want. Great for proofing or providing a prospective client with a take-away.
Projects: Gather notes, documents, images and links for all sorts of assignments and personal projects.
Contacts: Create contacts and label them for jobs/leads/prospects as well as what kind of contact they are (Art Director, Designer, Editor etc…)
Products: These can be hard products (prints, framing) or virtual fees (day rate, per shot rates) that are created and maintained by you. Perfect for creating quick quotes when you need something fast.
Quotes (Bids): Import the contacts, attach the products, add as many vendors/suppliers/rentals as needed and out comes a quote ready to print.

With this arsenal of tools, a photographer can become real serious about their business and work my suggested “Three Contacts Per Day” method easily and effectively.

Jon is working quite hard on this Plugin to get it ready for full implementation. I know he has spent some out of pocket and will incur some additional costs when he brings in some PHP pros to make sure the whole thing works perfectly and meshes together well. (It does now, bu he wants to make sure his code is up to snuff… he is a perfectionist in this stuff.)

I know you will love this WordPress Plugin, and his Kickstarter is quite modest in what he is seeking (enough to pay the PHP crew).

PLEASE take a look and help him – and yourself – with this great plugin.


New Portrait Workshop: Environmental Portraiture (SECTION 2)



Technical Approaches To Portraiture

We examine environmental portrait lighting techniques from seven of the world’s best photographers. From natural light to blended natural and artificial light, students explore each technique as they apply it to the weekly location/environmental portrait assignment. 

Posing Techniques for Portraiture

Learning about how the world’s top environmental portraitists work with their subjects help photographers find and develop their own methods. Studying the images, re-engineering them and finding out how to present the subjects as they do adds more tools to the process.

Photoshop Integration for Environmental Portraiture

Each assignment also includes appropriate Photoshop techniques for the student to explore – from Frequency Separation to creating ethereal and emotional lighting effects, we have gathered the best tutorials available for each weeks workshop.

Explore the Work of 8 Environmental Portraitists

Each assignment features the work of a contemporary or modern photographer and provides the direction for the shooting assignment for that week.


8 Week Portrait Workshop III: Environmental Portraiture



8 Week Portrait Workshop III: Environmental Portraiture

Jake Stangel on Starting Out as a Professional Photographer

Jake Stangel on Starting Out as a Professional Photographer

Jake Stangel is one of my favorite photographers. I love the fresh way he shoots, and his no-nonsense approach to making images that reveal more than what may meet the eye in the real world.

First: here is an hour talk he gave at CCA, and it is really good.
(Below is embedded talk from above link.


He had no gear starting out.

He lived in a small town in Oregon after college.

He had nearly no knowledge on lighting, commercial photography, shooting to layout, working with clients, bidding, billing, and finding work than you do. He realized it, and began to learn. From the photographers he assisted, to the photographers he hung with.

So don’t think it can’t be done.

It is not easy, but if you have a fresh eye, a thirst for knowledge, and some guts. It can most certainly be done.

Enjoy his many portfolios here.