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Mastering jewelry photography: Hands on a shooting cone

Mastering jewelry photography: Hands on a shooting cone

In this tutorial I will show you how to use a shooting cone in jewelry photography. In general, the idea of this light modifier is very similar to a shooting box (lighting tent) but have few very major advantages, especially if used to shoot jewelry.  I personally do not like shooting tent (despite the fact I’ve used it recently) , but the cone I’ve made  worked very well for a few test shots I’ve made for this article:

Jewelry photography using a shooting cone: Example 1

jewelry photography by atlanta photographer-using cone
Jewelry photography by Alex Kolsokov

Jewelry photography using white cone: Example 2

using shooting cone in jewelry photography example
example of using shooting cone in jewelry photography

Note the highlights on a clip’s surface: this is a beautiful work of the shooting cone.

The idea to have seamless reflector all around the subject, and use spot or narrow lights  to create  gradients. Something which  is not possible with a shooting tent: because it’s a cube, the edges of it may interfere with a smooth glossy surface we would like to see on our jewelry. The key here is a smooth gradients all around.

Lets take a closer look to that  jewelry piece:

jewelry photography with closed cone by atlanta photographer koloskov
Jewelry photography using a cone. Closer look

Cone is not the best for the gems (light is too soft), but it works great for solid and glossy rounded pieces, like the canvas around stone you see on the photo above. Bright areas falls off to a darker, creating volume of the “ring”  (unfortunately I did not have the thick ring for this shot). Note a black mark on the metal: this is reflection ftom a lens, and bright highlights around it is from a lens-mounted reflector (more details below).



Mouse over to see when I moved it to strike above the lens: This is as-is, unprocessed image from the camera


Using cone in jewelry photography highlights example such ring, positioned the way I have above, reflects everything in front of it. The shooting cone with camera mounted reflector did a great job here. It will work very well for any bare ring, especially for ones with spherical surface. Hope this was useful to you. Thank you!

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   In the Gearbox

Shoot Specification:
Camera gear:

Lighting, light modifiers and accessories:

Exposure specification: shutter speed 1/250 sec, F18, ISO 100

77 responses on "Mastering jewelry photography: Hands on a shooting cone"

  1. Hi Alex,
    I’m from Indonesia
    first of all I wanna say is, Thank you so much for enlightening me (me and my friends) in photography technique :D.
    and I wanna ask how you shoot the ring jewelry, so the ring is stand still not fall
    I hope you know what i’m asking about :) sorry for my english
    thanks again

  2. Hi Alex, what is the material of the cone that you used for this shoot? I have some translucent white plastic that I have tried using for diffusion material but it introduces a very slight warming color shift.

    Thanks in advance, Chad

  3. Hi Alex

    big fan of you work, is there any chance you will publish a book or eBook about “Jewelry photography”or related stereo photography . there is absolutely nothing in the market that goes into slit depth in this field yet. I believe there is a great demand for it since jewelry is the 3rd largest market of luxury product. and the market is market make up by great diversity of suppliers, larger and small

    I my self is armature jewelry photographer, therefore I look forward to see experts like you publish something like that
    Eric Ou

  4. Hi Alex,

    I just want to say with you: You Give All, You Will GET ALL.

    Keep it up Alex, you are on the right way in your life…

    Vu Duc Thao

  5. Hi Alex,

    Thank you for sharing your techniques. I can’t wait to try the cone! I am in the process of setting up an in-house studio for a jewelry manufacturer, and would really appreciate any advice you have. We have a Canon 5D MarkII, Tamron 90mm 2.8 lens, manfrotto tripod and a smith victor 3 light flourescent kit (around 300 watts total) with a diffuser tent. I don’t think the lights are bright enough, and I am not getting a crisp image(I believe it’s from camera shake from using a slow shutter). When I shoot on continuous mode it seems to yield sharper images- but still not good enough. The lens f-stop goes to 32, and I’ve been shooting at f22 or so. I would like to be able to use a faster shutter. Do you have any recommendations as to what type of lights I should buy? Thank you!

    • Laisay,
      brightness of the light is not so important if you shoot in a dark (no other lights) room. you just set longer exposure, this is it.
      Camera won’t shake if you’ll use a remote release (or timer) and a mirror lockup. Tamron 90mm might be good to get a sharp image, but not a f32 for sure. I remember my old sigma 105mm macro (similar price range) was very sharp till F11.. after that contrast was dropping significantly. You can test your lens too see what the best working range.

      Again, for jewelry you can use strobe, LED, halogen.. anything will work, its up to you to find the best solution whihc will work the best.. for you:-)
      Good luck with the setup!

  6. Hi, Alex

    Nice to hear something so crispy. Make your blog a classroom. Wish u good luck.

  7. Hi Alex

    I found your site by chance and I congratulate you for sharing quality information you give in your blog, I take photos for Avon Mexico and did not know about the Manfrotto 454 Micrometric focusing rails, I thank you for this detail so generous of you.

    Greetings my friend.

  8. Hi Alex!!
    Thanks a lot for share your knowledge. It’s really useful for all of those who want to learn studio set-ups.
    I have never seen a “shooting cone” :) it’s works wonderful!!

    Greetings from http://www.mymicrostock.net!!

  9. A great quotation Alex “Money is only one of the tools which can help me to build my life” thanks!

  10. How rich? doing what? even the wealthiest artists in the world can not compete with wall street guys. I like the idea of no money world HaHa! too bad life is short

    btw Alex, did not open any secrets here look http://www.stevesphotoshop.co.uk/cylindrical_suspended_light_tent_100cm.html all lighting techniques was discovered long ago.
    to me Alex’s blog is like reference guide, like clock alarm wake up it is light brush time

    • @Vadim Stain,
      Answering your questions: Rich enough to live like I want, doing what I like:-) I do not want nor need to compete with anyone’s wealth, I know what I want and how much it cost.

      Thank you!

  11. I was SHOCKED to see 61 comments on this thread. Tom is all about money, that’s for sure! I have met many like him.
    I for one, am very grateful for your blog lessons, and plan to repay you, with your upcoming e-books, by purchasing!
    Thank you

    • Debbie,
      Yeah, I was surprised too:-)
      I like money not less then any of us and I want to be rich. But I believe that more I’ll be giving for free, more I will earn in dollar equivalent. Not instantly, but in a long run. Think about Google: they first started to provide almost everything for free… Do they have any problems with money now?
      This is what some people could be missing to understand.

      thank you:-)

  12. Alex, great tips on this subject. I have photographed a few jewelry pieces but never could capture that “sparkle” in them. Shooting with the cone seems to really do the trick, I will have to try that. I also like the idea of hiding your camera with the white board and only leaving enough space to put your lens through. Looking forward to trying this myself.

    Vicki McLead

    • Thank you, Vicki.
      BTW, you have missed the point: you won’t get sparkles from gems by using the cone, you’ll get the opposite: flat look.
      Like Vadim said, for stones you have to use more sharper lights. Cone is great for rings and other glossy metal rounded surfaces.

      To really highlight both, you can have 2 exposures of the subject: one with cone for smooth stuff, one with snoot for gems.

  13. Ah yes, the glories of the semi-anonymous internet come to the blog. No offense to anyone, but I really don’t care what you call yourself, whether you use a $60,000 camera or a $60 camera, if your pictures are good, that’s all I care about.

    Speaking of pictures, many museums with extensive coin collections get a shooting cone custom made of translucent plastic that screws right on to their macro lens like a lens shade … I’ve never used one so I don’t know how well it works.


    • @J,

      Hmm, never heard of that for coins. We shoot the Canada’s collection coins (Royal Canadian Mint), but use very traditional methods like softboxes. I wonder how the shadows look like, as this is very important for relief details (especially in coins which are quite flat).

      • Like I said I haven’t actually used one, but from what I can tell, they are only 2-6 inches long and the camera is placed directly over the coin and therefore provided a “black” reflection in the body of the coin while one (or two) lights on each side give detail to the relief.

        Another method for coins that, again, I’ve read about but never tried (I don’t shoot many coins!) is again placing the camera directly over the coin, but then your light source equipped with a large umbrella is put above the camera and directed down towards the object. Again the camera itself blocks the direct light.

        I got these tips from this book (http://www.cci-icc.gc.ca/bookstore/viewCategory-e.cfm?id=20) which is super expensive, but provides shooting ideas for art/object conservation photography.


  14. Woah, I opened a huge can of worms I see.

    @ Tom: I agree with some of your points, and some of Alex. I guess I’m in between the two of you :) Hahhahaha, I’m Canadian, we try not taking sides ;) From Alex’s point of view, if you want your website to rank, hence having your keywords for your industry, and the more popular your site, the easier it is for clients to find you. My website doesn’t rank that great still, even though I’m one of the only jewelry photographers in Canada (we do just that). You would think google smart enough…. but it isn’t. It relies on popularity, keyword frequency and relativity amongst many other things. So the more traffic, the better your ranking in general. Google doesn’t care if your followers are amateurs, or professionals. It cares to see you get lots of back-links and bla on twitter, diggit, facebook, etc….. those sites carry weight. So Alex is quite right that in a while he will gain great rank. I think for jewelry photography he ranks better than my own business, EpicMind that is a full service jewelry photography, videography, and graphic design business. In a way, it doesn’t make sense, but in another way, makes full sense as he has much more hits and traffic, and works very VERY hard at gaining it. He’s doing a great job.

    Now, on the other hand, it can be argued that like I said, giving away everything hurts the people earning a full time living from this. Having done exclusively jewelry for 6+ years, I learned by trial and error, having no help outside of my own brain to reverse engineer other people images. Heck, photography is 1 thing in my field, but retouching is just as important, if not more. I’m wiling to help the community by sharing some tips and tricks, but I always have the worry of giving away secrets that I worked hard to learn (even though they appear basic once “exposed”), and losing business to a person who just learned it without sweating at all. Already my rates haven’t kept up with the times generally, and things such as licensing have gone nearly astray…. so many photography do not know, or care to go that route. Just like stock agencies that used to be few but paid well, have morphed into low paying, or micro-stock sites that offer little compensation to the artist. When we do ads for clients, most of my clients was royalty free images these days, and want them for cheap, so I’m stuck buying $40-100 images at those sites…. which the photographer gets maybe 30% commission (I don’t know, never gone that route), so you make $30 on it, sure it can sell many times, but most people aren’t that lucky.

    I appreciate Alex’s work, and I can’t be a hypocrite and say I don’t. We all photograph with a different approach, retouch in a different approach. So even if Alex does something in way, if I copy it, it might be different as well. It’s really fun to see from time to time how people do their “thing”. His water series of tutorials are great, since I’m sure most people didn’t know how those style of images were shot.

    Finally, like you said Tom every family has a person claiming to be a photographer, and it pisses me off. Just like wedding photographers, many of them are simply “cookie cutters”, looking to make money. I left my programming job many years ago to run a design studio. Was it risky? Heck yeah….. do I have regrets, honestly, sometimes yes…. because it’s tougher and tougher to get the rates you want, especially when you get undercut constantly when you already know your prices are competitive, there’s always a person bidding lower (and most often, a lesser product). Lucy above wrote that not everybody is destined to be a Mozart, while true, for many jobs out there in today’s economy, clients cut corners, and will settle with somebody that is a fly-by-night worker and have a photographer that does this as a hobby and simply wants to get “publishing credits” to gloat to his or her friends. I work with jewellers and you would think most want to have their products looking AWESOME, well, many appear to want to pay the least as possible, even though the image isn’t stellar and makes their products ugly, with bad shadows, or plastic like, they still go that route….. It’s beyond me….. but just like why people go overseas for work…. same happens here….. humanity wants everything for free.

    Alrighty, done with this for now!

    • @Vadim Chiline, Unbelievable the voice of reason and excellent business sense. I am forever grateful that you have intervened to bring common sense to this issue. Many here only have 5 of those senses (hahahhah) and you have the unbelievable sixth sense COMMON SENSE no nonsense approach. I bow to your intellect, ingenuity and wisdom. Check out omni jewelcrafters in T.O. He is a freakin millionaire umpteen times over and his budget for photography is the price of a cup of coffee. I am a fan of Alex and his charming wife Genia, they came here with little money and a dream so my hat is off to them. I think he surely knows that I’m pulling for him and his endeavors.

      As for Ranking, Google is changing the game and you will now have to pay dearly for it. The agency that I do work for is fully entrenched in getting those ratings for their client but it costs them a lot of dough. They are a multi-national corporation that has tentacles around the world. So we are the small fry in the game. You can get as much as 13,000,000 hits on youtube but will it sell your business and would you even be able to keep up with the demand. We should be so fortunate.

      I believe that we as a community of photographers have to stop getting our butts kicked and start kicking butt. But the economy dictates much of what is happening and it’s not good. As I stated earlier in my comments many photographers shot themselves in the foot entering into this arena of cheap stock. So for the average schmo it’s a penny here a penny there.

      I think we are in an era of being controlled and big business is calling the shots, that was not the case a number of years ago. Many years ago in time I used to run a photo Lab, quantity prints, E6 processing C41 processing, the whole nine yards then bang canon color copiers came on the scene. Guess what bye bye birdie. It’s harvest time for manufacturers, capital equipment is where it’s at. We just have to keep buying the latest greatest thing. I remember my first Hasselblad over 30 years ago, my first nikon over 30 years ago still works the same, loved fuji and kodachrome, My Sinar still works the same. The emphasis was on talent and creative ability now it’s on auto pilot and photoshop.

      Although I do love not going to the lab and having control of my final images. Well I digress, back to the issue at hand we could all use a little break regardless of what business we are in. Now if photographers could unionize WOW would that be a hoot. Anyway thanks for jumping in and the best to you Vadim, Alex, Genia and the whole blogging community who visits here regularly to contribute, so I say lets all be friends. I vowed not to comment on this anymore but could not resist the voice of reason. Thank you VADIM and ALEX it’s been a pleasure.

      Now it’s a D40, D50, D60, D700 how long before we run the alphabet, it will never end.

    • @Vadim Chiline,
      Hm, yeah, as i said, I understand your point, but you shouldn’t underestimate clients. They are not idiots and not everyone is looking for the cheapest photographer. If a company is happy with a low-standard photo, probably you should look for someone who is more business like. Go further, find those who pay more. Communicate! I doubt if Vogue would high an amateur. If there are too many people around, start changing, become unique and no one will beat you. The competition is only when you are one of many (they are a bit better or bit worse but actually not very much different from each other), as soon as you are unique, people will pay (you would be surprised how much money people are ready to pay for something special). I’m not an idealist. I always think money. An ambitious company that has a future will never waste money on someone who is unable to provide a high-end quality product. It’s always not about trying to change the world, but about changing yourself and being different. Currently, the situation on photographic market is tough but the prize is worth the fight. Definitely, I’m not talking about wedding photography, family portraits and so on. It’s quite a different story, but if we are talking about glossy magazines, food chains, serious business guys. Sorry, no amateurs! They sell dreams, not stock photos. So as soon as you hone your skills to an extent your photos look like a dream come true, no tough competition. Not many people can sell a dream. There is nothing wrong with Alex’ tutorials. Yes, they are free. But the question is if those who will use the trick later can master the skill to such an extent as to make clients believe its their own invention. Imitation is cheap, but as soon as you change the approach and make it your own style, that’s where Pro- photography starts. In other words, make my dream come true, make it breathe and I’ll hire you. Price doesn’t matter.
      PS Just talked to a guy whose been a successful commercial photographer for about 40 years now. Asked him what he thinks about all that. The answer, “Heh, if they (amateur photographers) want, I can even give them my clients’ phone numbers, and contacts. Nobody (clients) will ever call back, trust me”. That’s what I’m talking about, don’t waste time on clients who are stupid enough not to bother about their business promotion. Find those who look for the quality not quantity. And if an amateur can make a good quality photo, well, then find your unique way to do the same thing.Personally, I love competition and hard times, it shows whose the best in the industry (not only photography).

      • @Lucy,

        Hey Lucy, you are VERY right. The problem I’m facing is that here in Canada, there isn’t anywhere near the amount of clients (jewellers). The big brands there are few, and they have their select photographers (which I’m lucky to be part of in a way). My big clients are dedicated, but the smaller mom and pop ones are the majority, at least here in Canada. If everybody would work for the biggest fish (say for Vogue), it would great for us all. Sadly, I’m trying to make headway in my industry here, and let me tell you, there’s aren’t many big payers in general.

        To say price doesn’t matter is too blunt in my opinion – right now, for some companies nope it is not, look at the superbowl ads for a quick example :). But for certain, yes it is. The diamond and gold industries are suffering lots in Canada and the USA (this is why there’s a flood of silver jewelry now, because gold is at an all time high). Unless you are David Yurman, you cannot sell silver for the price of gold, so profit margins are smaller; people are cutting everywhere, including marketing budgets (including your everyday Joe). Cosmetics, electronics, etc, are still doing great, but luxury as I said, is not (this is my problem hehehe, explaining my point of view). Luxury goods are just that, luxury, and while most of America isn’t filled with the rich, the average seller must cater to his market, and with that comes their pricing scheme. :( I don’t know if I made any sense here :)

        Anyways, like I said, I’m not bashing Alex (duh!), I’m just saying that there is good and bad, and not everything is black and white.

        @ Alex: your blogs are creating tons of buzz! hehehehe, nice!!!!

        • @Vadim Chiline,
          Yeaaah, I know about Canada. You industry is very specific, but let me think. Portraits, right? You do them, then, again more communication, talk, meetings with local communities, galleries, agent which are quite a lot in Canada. I know it’s tough. And it’s damn difficult to photograph and look for clients. I know a guy who has a specific budget only for dinners with important guys. There is always a way. It would take me ages to write all the details, but I know a guy who charges 1015 K per wedding and people pay, because he managed to attract so many fans on facebook. He spends almost no money on advertising at all. But yes, it’s tough.
          Looked through your site, impressive. I don’t have info right at hand, but I guess there are other ways to reach more clients in Canada (I’m in USA which is a bit different). just don’t have charts and contacts at the moment, but there is always a way. Are there any jewelry, gold, etc conferences in Canada? I just know that’s the way some fashion photographers work… Ugh, ok don’t listen to me, it’s just me. I don’t believe in ‘No’, ‘Yes’ is the only answer in my job and I start looking for solutions straight away.
          Good luck! I don’t believe in Pro or not Pro approach. I believe in portfolio and ability and desire to win. You and Alex are winners fro sure ;)

        • @Vadim,
          oh yeas.. never expected such wave form such little and peaceful article:-)

      • @Lucy,

        I used to do weddings, portraits, and I have no intentions of going back into that stuff :) I’m now saying we’re lacking business, just that the general market isn’t as upscale with the US markets. I left my programming job for this, and it has been much more lucrative financially. Also, I get to explore various ideas. I don’t just manage photography, we also work with CGI/3D, Video, and graphic design, so this makes life great. What makes it less “fun” is seeing people low-balling, and strangely, getting contracts even though their abilities aren’t stellar. Makes no sense to me….. but beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess?

        Cheers to you and everybody who posted here! It’s been a good time ;) Good luck to all in your photography endeavours!

        • @Vadim Chiline,
          Got it, just visited the blog. It’s all very itneresting.
          As for people getting contracts, as I said, sales and photographic skills/talent are not the same thing, unfortunately. (Here of course, we assume that we are talking about a wise client who is not looking for some cheap pic). But yeah, the discussion is getting too long.
          so cheers, hope everyone in the thread will get what they are looking for.

      • @Lucy,

        100% agreed, just so much you can beat a dead horse! :) Back to work we go!

    • @Vadim Chiline, “humanity wants everything for free” here we go Communism is by the door!

  15. Lucy, spelling mistakes!! carefull now :) :),

    It’s been a learning experience and somewhat fun for me as I never comment on blogs or forums. Alex, as your clients are saying photography nowadays it’s all about being out there, and above all, the clients feel comfortable in dealing with you.
    Just hope you continue sharing your work with all of us Amateurs, you are Great.


    • @Manuel Correia,

      It has really been fun and stimulating so take no offense to my comments I promise not to continue in this topic any further.
      I never thought in a million years I could cause such a ruckus by my comments. Oh well back to the grindstone. Alex knows this
      is all in good fun and has probably given him a more devoted membership. Alex I want 10% of your next months earnings I think
      the controversy I started is well deserving of it.

    • @Manuel Correia,
      you know, even a PhD in linguistics can make mistakes sometimes :p But, shhhh, don’t tell my students :0

  16. Ugh, I am a little bit baffled by this argue about money, promotion and amateurs. (I’m talking about Tom’s ideas here). I was actually so shocked that decided to answer, though I am usually a peaceful reader of Alex’ blog.
    Yes, time is tough for pros, they need to be more communicative, more open minded, and yet keep high rates. The problem is not in the number of people with cameras, the problem is that the approach of commercial photographers needs to be changed. It’s already not enough to have a brilliant portfolio, you need to communicate and be amiable, and be a PR manager, and it’s damn hard to shoot and be your own agent.
    I came from the world of PR, headhunting and sales, and I want to tell that what Alex is doing is the right thing. I used to ‘sell’ musicians, IT pros and such like human commodities )) The best start (if you don’t have enough money to survive 3-4 years without any extra job) is to make your name known as wide as possible, that’s why a lot of professionals go to facebook, blogs, etc. They share their ideas and beliefs for free to make people interested in what they are doing and then to bring new clients. In our days (trust me, in this matter I am much more experienced than all of you guys, no offense) a lot of managers (including ART directors) try to study photography themselves, they try to learn from guys like Alex and then they come to guys like Alex to hire them for the company, because it’s easier to hire someone whose work and style of communication you know, than some guy who never shares and think only about money. Money is great, but first you sell yourself and your style, then you sell your portfolio. It’s all about communication, about approach and making friends, not exactly clients. Trust me, that’s the way it works, weather you want it or not.

    Seminars? workshops? Book? But whose going to buy it unless Alex is a well-known media person? After all top-notch photographers also teach amateurs, not pros. So, Tom, if you came to read the blog, it probably means, that even a pro like you became interested? There is probably something you still don’t know, something that brought you here ;)
    Let’s analyze it. 50 people last year, 2000 this year, one more year, and when there is a regular base Alex can switch to paid accounts, options, seminars, etc. Who whant to hire you if your name is not known? And when you have your audience, you automatically get potential clients. E.g. I’ve already signed half of my photographic department to read the blog, and very soon they will become so addicted to it, that they will be ready to pay. Step, by step and it will pay back. If you are too impatient with your money greed, finally you’ll end up as some typical commercial photographer with a good client data base to support your family, but not enough skills to push the envelope.
    So, Alex, I totally support you, and want to say thank you-thank you for doing this for free right now. In fact, more activity on facebook, including some ‘spamming’ of photographers and local communities and you’ll get not only enough clients for assignments and workshops but also your name will become monetized enough to sell a book (in case you decide to write any). Personal communication is becoming more and more important. I’ve seen so many cases when people hired photographers for a shoot not because they were creme-de-la-creme on the market, but because they did an outstanding promotion and they were so amiable to work with , that Art directors didn’t want to hear about anybody else. That’s how a human being was born, the more you hear about someone the more you believe that this might be someone who deserves more attention. It’s like in beauty industry (sorry for switching :) the more a woman hears about some cream, the more buzz around it, the more she wants to get it, she might understand that the ingredients are good for nothing, but the buzz, the buzz pushes her to the counter.
    PS Oh, and about a competition. I wouldn’t bother. It’s like in music. You can go to music schools, academies, play lots of musical instruments, and yet, not many people become Mozarts. If we speak about photography, there are tons of good photographers but only one Leibovitz. If you are really good and if you embrace new technologies (I know it’s hard, but rigidity is not the answer) I know for sure the client will choose you, not some amateur with an expensive camera. After all a good clients needs the best pictures, he/she can get, and if they agree for some mediocre stuff, who needs such stupid clients? :)

    • @Lucy,
      hm, lots of grammar mistakes, sorry, for that, was in a hurry :p

    • Thank you Luci.
      It very cool to know that people like you read my blog. Once again it tells me that I am on the right track:-)

      • @Alex Koloskov,
        Sure :) Be more pushy, and very soon you can become something like Kelby training (lower scale, of course) )) There is a demand in this sort of tutorials, and if I were you, i would also contact some local school of photography to find out if they need some workshops, etc. Studio lighting is not the subject which is well taught at most schools, outside major photographic meccas. Actually, i see a lot of ways for your promotion, just as i said, be more pushy and communicate more. If not with clients, then with students you can get the dough. and Pobeditley ne sudyat, right? ;)

        • @Lucy,
          ohhh, and galleries, they have sort of auditions, you have some stuff (water) that can be exhibited (it’s already my recent experience of working with a brand new studio who asked for help with promotion and surprisingly we found a gallery for them, though they were more about fashion photography). Church communities (for clients), facebook small business’ communities of your state, join in, and find they are not bad, meet small local manufactures. So on and so forth. I see so many ways how you can sell you :p Just do what you think is right!!!!

          • Lucy,
            Thank you for the advice, but I am going a little bit different path in my promotion. I know it sounds ambition, but here it is: I do not want to seek for a clients, I want client to find me and want to work only with me.
            I do not want to work more for less, I better do opposite:-)

            Our prices are quite high for locals, and it looks like 95% of local business can’t afford my services (truly speaking, I feel like they do not even need that quality I provide). I am getting a lot of calls every day form local guys, and only 5% from them are mine: people like Stacy, who knows why they need quality images.

            P.S how do you know Russian?
            EDIT: Ok, I’ve got you. rad znakomstvu. ;-)

        • @Lucy,
          ‘sell yourSELF’, of course )

    • Yeah hey pros get out of here this is for guys like me who took half decent camera a few month ago and would rather prefer to get all pro secrets from Alex and start capturing good enough to be sold pic than spend too much time for learning how to use it.
      I actually believe in the power of an image. It should be enough to have portfolio.

  17. Alex,
    I happened to be on facebook and saw your blog. After reading some of the post I felt compelled to comment. First, I have been a customer of Alex for quite some time now. I am a business owner but also started photography in the late 70s  . I emphasize this because I feel I’ve watched the industry evolve over the years and know my limits. I’m a pretty demanding person know the kind of photo’s I was looking for wasn’t something I could produce. Basically, I interviewed numerous photographers here in Atlanta and spoke to at least that many over the phone. I finally meet with Alex and looked at his body of work across the spectrum. He is a true “professional” in every sense of the word. His work has met and exceeded my requirements. I have numerous customers ask me about my photos and the photographer. The bottom line is Alex gets it done! He doesn’t worry about sharing his knowledge because he’s that good. If you can compete than compete. That’s the beauty of our society and free market. There are a lot of people who think they can but then there are those who deliver results. This blog should be about positive helpful and useful information and not criticizing the industry, who, what, when, ect. If you have time to do that your not making the money you keep referring to and potentially stay in a victim mode. At the end of the day we all have unique ways of driving our business. Respect that of others. Alex, keep up the great work!! You have definitely impacted my business and my $$’s.

    • @Stacy, Thank you for your involvement in this discussion. I’m glad you are happy with the work Alex has provided you with. The discussion is not about Alex per se it’s about an amateur undercutting a professional doing work for free or on the cheap. Alex does not need to even have this blog he makes his money in another area which provides him the opportunity to do this and so be it. My point has been made many times in the comments above. Here it is again -the crux of the matter -You are a professional ONLY IF IT’S ONE’S MAIN PAID OCCUPATION.

      I’m talking about the designated term of professional photographer, now go back up and read the dictionary meaning I copied over in a previous comment. I mean no disrespect to you, Alex is a good guy. I have in the recent past had conversations with him in private email sessions so at least HE knows where I’m coming from. This debate and semantics can go on forever.

      Alex has samples of my work I sent more to another doubting Thomas in a private email so there is plenty of proof as to my legitimacy as stated. I earn my living 95% from providing the service of Professional commercial product photography. It’s not about the bottom line that Alex gets it done, it’s about Alex doing what he loves and is evolving into a professional but not there yet. I think he will agree with that statement. It’s just that Alex knows more than you about the process and many of the bloggers on this site so obviously that would be impressive. It’s interesting that ‘great photography’ has now been reduced to ‘good enough photography’ and given the label of Professional photography.

      I actually find it humorous how non professionals (amateur photographers) are coming to the aid of another non professional (Alex). No insult Alex you know I love your work. I’m saying that Alex is still in the ‘I’m getting there stage’. So another year from now I expect great things from Alex. By the way I challenged him to reproduce a photo of mine very simple product shot and he has not taken me up on it. It is a test of skill. I took up his challenge and reproduced a photo of his His comment to me was that it was the best of all submissions he had. That’s why I can call myself a professional photographer because I earn 95% of my income from photography and I deliver the goods. If I sound egotistical you need to listen to Charlie Sheen he’s like over the top.

      I believe I am good at what I do… no, I’ll rephrase that, great at what I do. Alex is good at what he does and will be great in the not to distant future. We need to have respect for our industry first and then prove we deserve the respect of others by proving our ability on the battlefield of commerce with our peers. Ditto to Lucy. It’s not about teaching amateurs, it’s about ‘professional amateurs’ CAUTION – Beware of the ‘professional Amateur’ who uses flash, music and stock photos on their websites and sells their work cheap.

      Finally I mean no offense in a personal way to all you dedicated bloggers but like Richard a (blogger) once said ‘Alex is a big boy and he can defend himself’. Alex fight the good fight rise above the crowd and do what you do best. Until next time, May God richly bless you. God Bless America. By the way why are you all spending your time here and not out there earning the big bucks?

      • Tom,
        I think most of the participants of the conversation here got the idea that you are GREAT PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER. Below I’ve posted the images you send me, hope it will be a good start for your online portfolio :-) I also think that we all understood what word “professional” means by dictionary definition. Now you can stop to repeat this, please, please!

        Sorry Tom, I am not your student to reproduce anything you’ve asked. I have other things to do for my amateur photography.
        Wish you good luck.

        Tom Bako:

        • @Alex Koloskov, You are a GEM of a guy and I did not expect you to do this. I hope you truly know that even from our private conversations I WANT you to succeed at this your dream. Thank you again for your kindness and thoughtfulness. If there is anything I can do to help you out you know I will. You are a statesman, your metal has been tested and you have survived. Is that too gooey? The best is yet to come for you. So I agree let’s get on with the show. You can now take these images down, I don’t want to distract attention away from your followers and fans. Much appreciated, You are one Heck of a Guy. I hope we all had a little bit of fun here while it lasted. This is your show not mine.

          Take care and much success. Tom

    • Stacy,
      Glad to hear from you here! Thank you for what you’ve said, such feedback from my customers is the best reward for me, I value it more than the money.


  18. @Alla Koval, Nice to meet you. I do not understand what you are trying to say here, please rephrase so I can properly answer you. This is confusing you said this, “Well, I agree with Alex, that count itself professional probably can afford just a Lord… In case,”

    Thank you I will address the photos aspect of your request shortly – It will be up to Alex I will send him some photos and he can upload it’s his blog and his choice, if you want to see my work.

    Also, Alex does a good job because he wants to achieve greatness in the realm of photography. So he works hard at it and will progress. Commercial product photography is what I do for a living, no weddings, no sports,no kids, no fashion some editorial portrait work but 95% is commercial product photography. I am a Professional Commercial Product Photographer which means I earn 95% of my income from photography. I did fashion and weddings many, many years ago but my comfort zone is product photography. Hope this helps you to understand where I’m coming from.

    The discussion is only to come to a resolution about semantics. I am not a photographic artist, I am not an artist, it is not about the art of photography it is about calling yourself a professional photographer when you are not, very simple. Alex said he ‘gets it’ now and I believe that. Remember that the discussion was based about a true statement that Vadim made and here it is again so please focus on this when you are replying.

    VADIM said – Showing techniques is a great thing, but can increase competition in the long run, but what hurts the industry more are being under-charging, or doing jobs for free from us career photographers who have employees and overhead to pay. Does a Nikond3x camera make you a professional photographer, no it does not, does owning a hasselblad make you a professional photographer, no it does not. So nikon and Canon are labeling and designating cameras by attributing a certain pro model to you which in turn makes you a pro, I think not. You are a professional ONLY IF IT’S ONE’S MAIN PAID OCCUPATION. Is that clearly understood Alla?

    Thanks, Tom

  19. What a great idea – thank you for sharing

  20. The shooting cone is a great tip. I do the photos and content for an annual online charity auction (www.eafauction.com) and shoot hundreds of pieces of jewelry, trinkets, small electronics. I’ve been using a tent, but I’m never happy with the results. I’ll try this method. Thanks so much for the tip.

  21. Who is calling themselves a professional photographer? Have any of you heard of a professional doctor, professional dentist, or professional lawyer. Get over it, I’m just a photographer. I take photos, some are good, some are bad.

    • @Bill, Take a little time to read, start with the dictionary then have someone explain what the word professional means so that you have a clear understanding of it. Bill you are not a professional you are an amateur so get over it.

      professional |prəˈfe sh ənl|
      1 [ attrib. ] of, relating to, or connected with a profession : young professional people | the professional schools of Yale and Harvard.
      2 (of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime : a professional boxer.
      • having or showing the skill appropriate to a professional person; competent or skillful : their music is both memorable and professional.
      • worthy of or appropriate to a professional person : his professional expertise.
      • informal derogatory denoting a person who persistently makes a feature of a particular activity or attribute : a professional naysayer.
      a person engaged or qualified in a profession : professionals such as lawyers and surveyors.
      • a person engaged in a specified activity, esp. a sport or branch of the performing arts, as a main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
      • a person competent or skilled in a particular activity : she was a real professional on stage.
      professionally |- sh ənl-ē| |prəˈfɛʃənli| |proʊˈfɛʃənli| |prəˈfɛʃnəli| |proʊˈfɛʃnəli| adverb

  22. Such a discussion is going on, but honestly I am not sure I understand what exactly we are debating here:
    Who can be called a professional? I know what the term means, but lets say one owe a photography business which covers 40% his life expenses, has few internet projects (blogs, portals, etc) which adds another 40% of income, and the rest 20% comes from real estate rent and stock trading.. Who is this guy: pro photographer? writer/blogger? or may be a businessman?
    I do not even do ask myself this question: it so irrelevant to what person really does for a leaving. (Tim Ferris as an example)

    BTW, Tom, just came in mind:
    Regarding our previous private conversation about the role of versatility in the photography as a way to make it less vulnerable during hard economic times: I think the best thing is to have a completely different, other than the photography, source of income is much stronger point to survive.
    Selling books, having e-business or/and real estate income can accompany a good photographer (or businessman?).

    • @Alex Koloskov, To answer ‘A businessman’. Alex, have you ever heard the term “Jack of all trades and master of none” As for Manuel you can verify to him that I am a professional by some of the work I submitted to you privately. I can also provide him with my work if he needs proof that I know what I’m talking about. And you know Alex that I have a very high regard of you and Genia and wish you nothing but the best, so, Manuel is way off base with his comment I think Richard made the same dumb A#@ comment. by the way Manuel – Jealous is spelled with a J.

      I don’t really want to ruffle too many feathers here but ‘truth is truth’ some people just don’t like it. Manuel is a Hairdresser not a professional photographer, a professional photographer derives the majority 95% of his income from photography. There are various levels of professionals in every business that’s what drives the market. Manuel is NOT a professional photographer he is by his own words a professional Hairdresser.

      If times are hard and you have to supplement your income by doing something else it does not make you any less a professional photographer, just a poor one. To illustrate my point – There are many very rich, accomplished amateurs who do great work and they can afford the luxury of expensive equipment and trips around the world to take photographs of there choice, they can hang in galleries or sell them as limited edition prints or whatever.

      That does NOT make them a professional, it makes them what they are the elite, rich people who can pay and play. They do not derive their main source of income solely from photography (shooting) which in my opinion makes them a non-professional photographer. Key word here is PRO-PHOTOGRAPHER. I will finish with what the main point of my conversation is re; VADIM – Showing techniques is a great thing, but can increase competition in the long run, but what hurts the industry more are being under-charging, or doing jobs for free from us career photographers who have employees and overhead to pay. Can we focus on that statement and address it properly. PLEASE and THANK YOU. It’s not that hard to understand the obvious or is it? As for blogs, portals, real estate, stock trading, just don’t call yourself a Professional Photographer – your not. Well not yet anyway. Your a Jack of all trades.

      Okay I’m done, Tom

      • @Tom Bako,
        Thank you, Tom. I’ve got it:-)

        I would never be a pro photographer how you have described it. We’ll have a studio with people working with me, true pro-photographers, stylists, retouches and other TRUE professionals.
        Most likely we’ll have variety of other income sources beside the photography business: education courses, online projects, production of custom-build photography related supplies and who know what else.

        The one thing I know for sure: whatever I’ll be doing will be my true passion, not a hard work to earn money.

        Wish you all the best and sorry if this discussion spoiled your day: we all so different to be on the same page all the time:-)

        • Oh my, Alex,

          so I’ve spent almost 1/2 hour of my life, to find that you are not a professional photographer, posted by Tom Bako?!!(Tom, could you please post a sample of your work – it’s should be definitely a piece of art and I’ve bet you hooked most readers here ;) Well, I agree with Alex, that count itself professional probably can afford just a Lord… In case, I’m Knitwear and Crochet designs gal and must to admit – I NEVER had such amazing presentation of my designs as Alex, Genia and their wonderful twins did for me, I LOVE their work so much

  23. Tom,
    If you are such a great photographer, should you not be busy earning lots of money with your high end clients. Or you are just so gealous that Alex is doing so well, so you hijack is blog by saying so much old nonsense. On this day and age the best or highly paid photographers are doing exactly what Alex does. It promotes their love for photography and gets their name outhere.
    I should not have bothered to answer but the way I see business is completely diferent to your way Tom, Yes someone hopened next door to us,charged even 50% less, but we are so good in what we do, so we are still there 20 yrs on, they could not last, See my point Tom. Yes I don’t call myself a Pro, because I respect a profession, but I have had probably more work published over the past 20 yrs then most Pros might have in their intire live, so I probably know a tiny bit about your profession.

    I said It, now.

    Cheers, be happy times are hard :)

    • @Manuel Correia, You can read my comments to Alex below which include you. I never said I was a great photographer what I am is a Professional photographer. I am an average run of the mill pro-photographer, your bread and butter kind of pro-photographer. At times I make very good money and other times not so good.

      It may be nonsense to you but try to understand where I’m coming from as one who makes his daily living from SHOOTING that’s what I mean by being a Professional photographer. I’m not a hairdresser although it sounds like a worthy profession, so take a chill pill and take out your hostility on someone you really don’t like. JUST KIDDING! WOW I never thought my comments would create such a fuss.

      Cheers, Tom

  24. @Alex Koloskov, Thank you for your answer, but you have side-stepped the point I was trying to make but reinforced it by throwing in Yuri. I’ve known about yuri for a long time and he is a millionaire from microstock. There is Only one Yuri, One Bill Gates, One Steve Jobs, One Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook. But there are millions who will never ever get there, but God bless them for trying.

    Many photographers who once embraced stock are now questioning the sanity of their decision. Many pro photographers have lost thousands of dollars of revenue to stock. In other words they shot themselves in the foot and just found out it hurts. In the U.S. you have copyright for your images it’s entrenched by law, if you created it the image you own it. In Canada if you do ‘assignment photography’ for a client they own all rights to the images and you can no longer collect revenue for your images unless you have a contract to state otherwise. Clients won’t sign it and they will go to another ‘hungry pro’ who will turn over his rights without blinking an eye. Sad isn’t it.

    Photographers and the photographic community when it comes down to the nitty gritty of business will unfortunately and I really hate to say this but it’s true ‘will stab each other in the back’ to get that job to keep them floating. Not all of them but it happens and it’s a sad commentary on this business.

    What you are doing is hurting no one and I commend you for it. It’s not what you teach or how you teach it that’s the problem, it’s the flood of semi-pro amateurs that will do work for nothing or very little that are hurting the marketplace.

    In the end if they do make a go of it they face the same issues that many other pros face today of too many photographers and too little work. Everyone has to find out where they fit and if they can truly succeed in this business. For the hobbyist it’s a blast for the pro who has to make a living and support a family it’s a hard grind at the best of times. By the way there are many teaching blogs, sites on the internet and that is the way of the future. Survival of the fittest the law of the jungle.

    Alex Thank you for posting my comments and you keep on keeping on. Do a Good work and rewards will follow.

    I will comment from time to time, give my best to Genia and live happy.


  25. Alex,
    Sorry for opening a debate that obviously is hurting the feelings to so many so called professional Photographers. As you said,you also realise is that by sharing you gain alot more exposure and in the long run Money. Photography is an art, if someone doesn’t have the eye, the final result will be bad, no matter what equipment or lessons they take.
    In relation to the Amateurs taking the PRO’s jobs that is always mentioned, well a professional portfolio has to be alot better so the client will see the diference, if the clients are going for cheaper alternatives, that is a good thing, it’s called choice. I run a hairdressing business and do all the photoshoots, most are published in magazines UK and US. If I was not doing the shoots the business would not be able to pay over £1500. for a shoot. By learning from photographers like Alex, everyone benefits. I would not be able to do a Nike or Adidas shoot, leave that to the Pro’s.
    Sorry Alex, this seems to be a hot topic.
    You are doing a great job, I’m looking forward to some beauty photoshoots and tutorials.


    • @Manuel Correia, Sorry to disagree Manuel but photography for the pro is a PROFESSION just like hair dressing is to the hairdresser like yourself.

      You are not even qualified to present a case on behalf of professional photographers just like I’m not qualified to tell you ‘a professional hairdresser’ what the right way is to run their business. What if someone opened up next door to your business and did work for free or 25% of what you charged, I think it would make you very unhappy. Would you then consider to do it free and/or match their price, I think not.

      You value what you do because you put a $$$ value on your expertise and so do I. Let’s be realistic and not wear rose colored glasses when looking at the business side of photography or Hairdressing.

      By the way I have absolutely no objection to you shooting for yourself, I think it’s a smart move on your part if you can do it and it works for you, THEN I SAY GREAT!

      Thanks for hearing me out, well by for now, Tom

  26. I will be trying this out straight away! Thank you for such a great blog. Its so simple and I think it’ll be perfect for what I’m doing. I’m guessing this will work well for spoons and in fact anything with that hard to get rid of 360 family of reflections!

    If i had a hat, and you could see me, i’d be taking it off right now.

    Thank you.

  27. @Alex Koloskov

    Help for those who think photography is an easy go for it business because they own a dslr and a couple of lenses and lighting equipment. Again it’s all about money. Keeping it real!

    Good Advise from Seth Resnick;

    One of my first rules about providing a quote or a bid is to know how many other quotes the client is getting and ideally who am I bidding against. If there are more than 3 or 4 other photographers I decline to give an estimate because clearly it is not about the aesthetic perception of the work but rather purely about price. As I know my overhead is high there is no point in wasting my time and the clients time if the bottom line is price. Knowing who I am competing against is also important to me. It helps me to figure out if the job is really about creativity or just about price.

    Once we get past that scenario the key is to look at what my overhead is and figure a base rate that includes profit. I then examine the usage and the total fee includes a fee that is based on my overhead plus usage. Most certainly I look at the client and what is involved. Working with a big agencies means higher pricing and sometimes that is simply do to the fact that they want a show. Producer, catering, trailers may be required more to impress the client than to actually accomplish the job but it is important nonetheless. On the other hand a corporate client may only be interested in the best images without all the hoopla. Every client and every job is different.

    I remember working with a friend who was a very well known art director and we gave an audience specs for a job and asked them to bid it as part of the presentation. It was a real job and the job was simple. It called for a beach umbrella and a kid underneath it with a blue sky and an empty beach. Many of the students bid $1000 or less but the actual bid from the photographer that got the job was over $100,000. The photographer that won the real job realized that they needed a guaranteed blue sky so the shoot would have to take place in the Caribbean and not New Jersey.. The beach would need to be released and empty which took security and a large location fee. The umbrella could not be trademarked or a brand so one was custom made for the shoot.

    The list went on and on and the AD explained that the photographer got the job because every scenario was covered and most of the bids never came close to covering all these details…

  28. Hi Akel:
    I have learned with your tips a lot. But what it really counts for me is the fact that you are an opened mind person with an impressive sense of creativity, showing also you are a very special human being, living beyond of our time.
    Thank you for all doses of pure pleasure.

      • @Alex Koloskov, Mark Gambo said I am a freelance commercial, editorial and fine art photographer who specializes in Action, Adventure, Travel, Sports, Underwater and Environmental images. I have recently expanded my business and repertoire into: fine art nudes, boudoir, glamour and pin-up photography for the general public.

        I’ve shot cover stories for magazines ranging from National Geographic Adventure to Sunset Magazine and ad campaigns ranging from adidas to Salem. I’ve won national and international awards. I mentor a several young photographers and am happy to do so. 10 years ago, I would have been able to give you pricing structures for most jobs and stock usages, today’s world is significantly different and prices are all over the ballpark.

        This is what I mean photography has been reduced to a junk bond commodity. If Mark was still earning $$$ he wouldn’t be shooting fine art nudes, boudoir, glamour and pin-up photography for the general public.

        Well I guess some wouldn’t mind but that’s not my point. Amateur photographers hurt the market with crappy photography and passing it off as professional to the unsuspecting small to medium size business. The only area that they absolutely cannot compete in is high end ad agency work and high end clients which for the most part are tied in to studios for the long term.

  29. Hey Alex, yeah, the cone works better than your average light tent on the metallic portions of jewelry. But like you said, because of the the all-round softness and “gradients”, the gemstones/crystals lack the punch. You almost need to do a double exposure or add some black cards within the cone to gain additional contrast. As we both know (but many don’t realize including clients sometimes) contrast is what makes metals appear satin finished vs high gloss with full shine – black is needed. Keep up the great work!

    Replying to Manuel: Some photographers aren’t pleased by revealing all tips and tricks, it’s like a magician revealing their tricks. They earn their money from it. But like a magician, they are great because they can do these tricks without a 2nd of thought. I have clients who often ask me to teach them the in’s and out’s of jewelry photography and retouching, or think “they” or an “employee” can do it for a cost savings to them… in the end…. this doesn’t work out. Showing techniques is a great thing, but can increase competition in the long run, but what hurts the industry more are being under-charging, or doing jobs for free from us career photographers who have employees and overhead to pay.


    • @Vadim Chiline, Revealing how you shoot may get the attention you want but it doesn’t pay the bills.

      As a professional photographer myself I have seen the quality of photography go down the drain and the true professional does charge for his secrets because it cost him years of experience to learn and a truckload of equipment to buy.

      I say to the amateur PAY YOUR DUES just like every other hard working pro. Alex is getting the attention but not the income that he should be from this. In the end it’s all about money. Want to learn, go to school, want to learn more, get a job as an assistant in a studio. Otherwise, I say Tough Luck -the market has been watered down enough with bad photography.

      • Tom,
        I think we are living in a different world. It is so different than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. The attention is much more valuable than THE MONEY. Now this blog being seen by 2000+ visitors every day, and most of them spend at least 30 minutes reading it. Less than a year ago I had about 50 visitors per day. I know in a year I’ll have hundreds of thousands readers.
        If you think this is just an “attention” and it won’t help me to pay my bills, you might be wrong. I would never monetize this blog, but having that MUCH attention will open me thousand ways to earn as much money as I need.

        Yes, currently I do have a good source of monthly income besides the photography, and this is my advantage over those who make living from the photography only. And I use my advantage to make my way in the photography world.

        I see professional writers releasing their books for free, I see musicians giving away their songs, programmers releasing software for free, I see people sharing everything they know asking nothing in return, and I do not think that it is all about money. Thinking that it is all about money will lead me to a personal failure at the end of the life: money is not what I want to live for.
        Money is only one of the tools which can help me to build my life, one from many many other tools I have. This blog is one of them:-)

        Wish you good luck, Tom.

        • @Alex Koloskov, News flash! The world is basically the same, people are basically the same, 70’80’90’s 20000’s without getting into a philosophical debate about my statement. It’s mainly technology that’s changed and how you perceive it from your point of view.. Vadim made a statement that is true. I quote him here “Showing techniques is a great thing, but can increase competition in the long run, but what hurts the industry more are being under-charging, or doing jobs for free from us career photographers who have employees and overhead to pay”.

          Here is my point Alex, if you had to depend on photography today solely for your income and to support your family you would not be able to do so. Are we in agreement so far? Here’s why I have a bone to pick, many top working professionals have gone down while others have had to scale back a lot in this unstable climate. True or false?

          Having a blog and 2000 followers is good for you and I’m truly happy for you. The followers on your blog are mostly appreciative amateurs and I commend you for helping them out. I do not believe that any of them are or will be in direct competition with me or that it will interfere with the income that I derive from my present clients as a commercial photographer. So it’s not about that at all. It’s about the near future and what it holds for those of us who worked very hard to get what we have today. We live in a gimme generation of entitlement. Maybe that’s what you mean by “I think we are living in a different world”.

          Let me go a little further with my concern, if I have a widget that I invented and I knew that it would make me a million dollars do you think I would broadcast it all over the internet. Damn straight I wouldn’t. I would capitalize on it as fast as I possibly could. You make a somewhat contradictory statement when you said, “The attention is much more valuable than THE MONEY” and then go on to say in the next breath “that MUCH attention will open me thousand ways to earn as much money as I need.”

          If you look at what’s happening in the world of commercial photography in general you will see that many of the more well known photographers have turned to teaching seminars to increase their exposure and supplement their income because they are not getting the same amount of work and remuneration for their expert services.

          Photography has been reduced to a commodity, you have one member in almost every family who thinks they are one. As for giving something away for free, people who are good marketers are not stupid they know if they give something away free, book, music, or otherwise it will eventually make money for them, so they are not in the business of being a charity, they’re in it for the money. You can sugar coat it however you want too, but the bottom line after all that’s said and done “is this venture of mine going to make money for me”. You may not even end up actually making a living from photography it may be from something you haven’t invented yet. Who knows?

          I think you may have grandiose ideas about giving things away and thousands of ways to earn as much money as you need. Finally back to VADIM, he made a statement that I personally agree with and that is this, “what hurts the industry more are being under-charging, or doing jobs for free from us career photographers who have employees and overhead to pay”. I hope you can see the validity in his statement.

          Maybe I hit a sore spot with you? The wannabe shooter is hurting the business do you get that or not? Motto: Hope for the best be prepared for the worst. You came from hard times and so did I , just commenting here to keep it real.

          Congratulations on your blog. Keep up the good work Alex

          • Tom,
            I understand you, thank you for explaining your vision.
            I still think that time is different becasue of Internet. It spread so widely that eventually it changed the rules of the game which was unchanged for centuries. Now everyone has all the information on their fingertips, and you can become a big player without any “traditional” education.
            I do not think that photography was reduced to a commodity: it is a very fast growing and dynamic industry, and many young talented guys (look at Yuri Arcurs for example, he made a millions selling images on microstocks) brought a new air to photography, raising the competition.

    • Vadim,
      I think double exposure will be the most efficient way to get pretty decent shot with gems and metal. Sort of shoot it with cone, then take cone off, add sharp lights and get stones done.

      As for the secrets I showing off here: this is my way to promote and advertise our business. I love doing this, and so far my blog(s) is the most expensive assets I have:-) I know I’ll be doing a lot of workshops in a nearest future, and it will be a good part of the business along with photography itself.
      But the most important, I believe that showing all the secrets I have will make this world better… at least my world:-)

      Thank you!

    • @Vadim Chiline, Well said. I couldn’t agree with you more. My husband and I shoot a lot of jewelry and we have never used a cone or tent, they over diffuse the lighting, and make the metals look frosted and white instead of shiny, reflective and metallic. After years of working with all kinds of jewelry, one thing I know for sure, there isn’t one technique of lighting that will work for everything. Every piece of jewelry is unique and needs to be lit according to it’s individual requirements. And good styling is really important too, knowing how to manipulate the jewelry to show it at it best. You studio does a great job Vadim, keep up the great work.

  30. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to post these articles. All the best to you. Cheers

  31. Interesting, smart, dedicated, creative and no-nonsens approach.
    Thank you for sharing.

  32. Hi Alex,
    Again,thanks for sharing all your work and setups. You are a great inspiration to me and many photographers. Just wish that more photographers could make a little effort to share their work setups, instead of just selling their courses. Any chance of portrait/beauty shoot and retouching skin and hair, as I also think your wife is an excellent retoucher.

    Cheers from London,

    • Hi Manuel,
      For some people it is harder to share their knowledge than for the others, may be becasue they spent lot of time, money and energy to learn it. I am not sure if this the case, but I did not have any photography related education, and it is not hard for me to learn photography I share here: it is an easy if you have a passion for it:-)
      I’ll be selling e-book style lessons soon, I’ll be doing well paid workshops and masterclasses. However, I’ll continue to write articles on this blog, and I think they will be even more valuable as my own experience and knowledge will grow. At least this is the plan.

      Yes, we’ll be doing more beauty shots, as this area is highly interested for us.

      Thank you!

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