Hobbie 2 Business

Workshop Outline –

Part 1 - Business Basics:

  • Setting up Goals;
  • Legal Business Structure – state, licenses and filings;
  • Capital Structure: overhead, operations basics, margins, principal pay;
  • Pricing Structure;
  • Importance of boundaries - separating yourself from the business;

Part 2 – Business Specifics

  • Equipment cost and its depreciation;
  • Equipment Feasibility: Buy, Rent or Lease;
  • Insurances various types and purposes;
  • Working Space: your home studio vs renting by demand or committing to a commercial lease.

Part 3 – Business Planning

  • Road Map to Achieve your Goals;
  • Strategy vs Business Plan;
  • Long term financial planning: salary, retirement account, vacation pay and other benefits.


Part 4 – Contracts and Image Licensing

  • Contracts: How to Bill, How to Hire and How to Up-sale;
  • Copyrights: Privacy Infringements; Licensing, Protection and Image Theft
  • Rate and Term Standards & Negotiations
  • Bad Debt Practices;
  • Long Term Contracts - regular stream of revenue.

 Lunch Break – 1 hour   (Instructor is available for Q&A Session)

Part 5 – Marketing

  • Assessment of Marketing Strategy;
  • Building your Brand;
  • Branding; your persona vs your business brand;
  • Importance of your first presentation
  • Website – purpose and reflection on the brand;
  • Presenting your work for purchase. On-line vs one on one appointment.
  • Advertising: free and paid;
  • The infamous Craigslist and conventional Classified Advertising,
  • Community Engagement;
  • Networking and Professional Associations;
  • Soft Skills vs Photography Skills.

Last 30 minutes will be an an open forum Q&A

 Part 6 – Shared Work / Marketing

  • How to acquire work from a qualified government contractor for regional photography contracts.
  • Becoming a qualified independent regional school photographer and sports team photographer.
  • Pool your allocated budget into a shared network advertising campaign.


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How to shoot a bottle to reflect a narrow & long highlight

bottle photography lesson

The question on how to create a highlight on a bottle is from a LinkedIn member. This question made me take the initiative to begin my tips and tricks section.



"How can I shoot a bottle to reflect a narrow & long highlight?"

Pretty broad question, since there are a variety of techniques.

Today's Tips and Tricks is accompanied by a series of pictures that I shot specifically for the question.

Sorry but I didn't have a wine bottle, I used a bottle of Baileys instead with the following equipment:

  • Foam Board
  • 1 light source and light stand
  • tripod for camera ( a must if no flash is used )
  • 2 Cactus Flash Transceivers
  • bottle and props


This image to the left was taken with no fill light. The following image has fill light bounced back using a foam-board.

A picture tells a thousand words. There are many variables to produce an array of styles but "KISS"  is the motto here.

Begin by setting up your props.  I started this out as a quick tutorial, not bothering to clean the bottle. Wish I had cleaned it. These images are straight from camera, without any post processing of any kind.  I so wanted to clean the bottle in Photoshop but C'est la vie.

It's a tutorial on lighting I gave myself 60 minutes to get my gear out, shoot and put it all away.  I spent more time getting the website set for the tips and tricks section which followed the shoot.

Now Let's Talk Light Placement

For a long vertical light reflection you need a long vertical light source .  I used foam-board (it's what I had handy). I would have used a cardboard box but none were handy. To use a cardboard box, line the inside of the box with white paper. Keep the flaps of the box to replicate the barn doors.  A box would allow to placement of the flash inside it and give better control for an even intensity of light thru-out.  Hey, I said I only had 60 minutes, no time to scavenge for boxes!

In my example, the  main light or key-light is the reflected light off a piece of foam-board.  Here, the length of the foam-board is important just as the length of the box would be: it should be long enough to cast its reflection on the entire  height of the bottle or the desired height wanted.   The further the foam-board is placed from the bottle, the longer the foam-board has to be.

I wanted the light to be thin. The flaps (barn doors) permit me to adjust the thickness.

When illuminating the foam-boards, make sure light doesn't spill on the outside face of the flaps.


Effects of Ambient Light 

Tree elements should be considered next:

  1. Depth of field   - The aperture was set to f/8 which gives just the right amount of depth of field to slightly blur the props.  I adjusted the power setting on my flash to get a proper exposure at f/8.   If you don't have intensity controls on your flash, you can lower it's intensity by covering the flash with either a neutral density filter, or cover a portion of the flash with black tape until you get the proper exposure.
  2. Ambient light - With the flash off: take a sample image at your desired f-stop and shoot at 1/200 sec;   dim the lights in the room if you must, to eliminate ambient exposure on your image.  Avoid being close to any white surface. Use black foam board as flats or use dark cloth/drapes to solve problem spots.  Shoot at a low ISO of 100 or 200.  If the room is brightly lit and you can't dim the lights, use a 0.9 neutral density filter over your lens.  The use of flash is the only solution in bright rooms.
  3. Additional light - I got you this far, the rest is another subject from: Lighting the background; Adding a rim light; Bottom lighting; Wet surface;  Black or colored shiny surfaces; the list goes on...




You can see that I covered the couch with the first thing I came across. It was just enough to block the ambient light reflecting off the couch.  Didn't take much.


The Absolute Vodka bottle was full when I started, 🙂   JK
By all means this is NOT a finished product.  I replaced the Baileys bottle with the Absolute Vodka for the purpose of  showing the reflection of a conventional glass bottle.  Notice how the reflected light is brighter on the top than the bottom. If that's a problem then you should use the cardboard box which will  distribute the light evenly.