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Old 04-03-2013, 10:23 AM   #1
FakeName OP
Wile E Coyote SuperGenius
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Joined: Jan 2007
Location: San Diego
Oddometer: 1,842
Motorcycle Product Photography

In 1984, I entered the photography business with one goal: Help people sell things.

I've never been a root-and-rock photographer and, armed with a business degree in Marketing a penchant for advertising, and a burning desire to own an advertising agency, I opened a photo studio.

In those days, it was large-format transparency film, Polaroid Type55, giant cameras, tons of lighting and plenty of travel. Catalogs and annual reports drove my business for years, with many small clients and a few large ones now and then. Never shot a wedding, and would prefer to insert hot needles into my eyeballs.

In 2000, I threw the digital switch and never looked back. Hassleblad flogged, view camera gathered dust. Computers bloomed where paste-up tables once sat, and color printers sat in piles of failed prints. Darkroom converted to prop storage and makeup areas. Post-production became a powerful tool. Photo assistants became digital techs and cameras have become connected, on the other end of a very long cable, to retouchers in an adjacent room or another country, all in real-time.

I've downsized a lot now- closed the big studio two years ago, and spend a lot more time as "dad" rather than "boss". But I still do a fair business between school drop-off and pickup, much of which is product photography.

I like product photography- it helps people sell things. I like working solo in a darkened room with lots of lights and music. Some of those things are items over which people sweat, labor design, build, redesign, retool, rebuild, give up, re-energize borrow money, spend money, raid savings accounts, re-purpose and eventually try to sell- I admire that.

Which brings us here to ADVrider. For some time, it's been driving me crazy (not a long ride to get there, mostly smooth pavement) that so many vendors to the motorcycling industry try to sell their products with some of the world's worst photography. Images shot on bedsheets in the backyard, images taken (stolen?) from internet posts. "See larger image" links with images the size of a postage stamp. Out of focus or unfocused images with odd shadows, strange reflections or simply too small. I've seen peer-to-peer forum posts asking for a clearer picture of XYZ's product, because they're considering a purchase but can't see enough details to make a buying decision from XYZ's website.

I'm not arguing my sanity, but this does not contribute to it.

So I'm offering my services. Send me your products, I'll shoot them and send them back. I'll make them look like they're worth the investment you've made. I'll make them look like they're worth the price you're (appropriately) charging. I'll help your customers make their buying decision quickly and easily, putting more money in your pocket. I'll honor the products you sell, give them the love they deserve. And if you sell stuff that fits a 990 Adventure, I'll make it especially attractive!

It started several weeks ago- I was doing a product shoot for another client, and the UPS guy dropped off some parts I'd ordered. Nice parts- beautifully handcrafted, and I almost didn't order it because the online images looked so bad. One in particular was not an inexpensive item, but when it arrived, it was amazing- nice bit of kit. I took it out of the box, walked over to my product setup, cleared off my client's work and set the part lovingly into the beautiful studio light. Looked great- well worth the money.

I did the same thing with a few other items I'd bought- what a difference!

ADVrider rules make me state a price, but I'm not selling a static object. Prices will vary- a lot- based on number of items, complexity, and, frankly, if it's something I want to own. But for ADVrider vendors and friends the type of image shown in the examples below, one can figure right around $125 in fees per final image. That includes the license to publish the image as you wish, except for third-party sales. This also includes knocking out the background and providing a grounding shadow similar to the samples here, as well as a nice bit of retouching. In the business we've called it many things, but I call it widgets-on-white.

Complexity opportunities abound for more money- color changes, on-bike installations, step-by-step instructions etc. Want to send me a prototype and have it "fixed" to look right? No problem- it's just a little more. But for most small products, $125 will get you close. Send me more in a batch? Price gets better- send me a list. Does it fit a 990 Adventure? Let's talk, maybe I need it.

So- here are the samples I've mentioned. Some are from the moto industry, others are from former clients- just to give you an idea of the widgets-on-white aesthetic. I'm not picking on anyone specific here- you might (or might not) recognize a couple of these, and feel free to visit their sites to see what their current images look like- I think these images look much better. Click on them to see the very large view.

ADVriders, PM is your friend- let me know how I can help you.


ADVdiscount Motorcycle Product Photography

2011 White 990 Adv S
2014 500EXC Black
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