Don Giannatti's Project 52 Pros. For emerging photographers.

Due to OVERWHELMING demand for a second section,
we are offering Summer to Summer Group B. This group 
meets Thursday evenings at 6PM PDT.

Project 52 PRO edition is something that started as a simple idea; to provide the emerging photographer with real world experience in the commercial photography genre. It grew into a full and robust community of photographers who are struggling and winning together.

It fills the gap between becoming a photographer and becoming a professional.

There are many, many situations that can only be taught through experience, and working along side someone who knows this stuff. Ideally you would assist for someone in the field for a few years, but that is simply not possible for everyone to do. This is the goal of Project 52 PRO – to teach you about that experience through experience.


Our Next Class will be Enrolling starting July  13, 2014

Summer Class begins August 7th, 2014 and runs through August, 2015. Enrollment is limited to 25 people and will close on July 30, 2014 whichever comes first. Classes meet Thursday evenings, 6:00PM, PDT. We have a ‘makeup class’ on Saturday mornings for European members and those who cannot make the class for any reason (life… it sometimes gets in the way… heh).

The original path:

Working as a photographer’s assistant has always been the best way to learn all the little, inside tips and tricks that are not taught in the art and photography schools. The kind of stuff that is learned on the job is invaluable for all photographers. Learning to shoot to layout, how to do commercial head shots that may be used for covers or ads, preparing files for a multitude of client expectations. Shooting to format; square, panoramic, tall and skinny… and more. Photographers learned to plan a shot, work the shot and get multiple takes by watching the photographers they were working with.

It was an invaluable education.

One that is simply not possible for a great many people who want to go down this path of professional image creators. They have kids, mortgages, obligations – or other reasons, and they cannot simply quit and move to NY to assist someone to learn the tricks, methods and processes of the working commercial photographer.

Those opportunities are lost for many photographers in smaller markets, or currently working jobs that would not make assisting full time impossible.


Project 52 endeavors to fill that void for photographers the world over.


Our “REAL WORLD” approach to assignments means that the photographer gets a comprehensive look into how assignment photography works, and how to bid, produce and bill for them.

Photographing on your own to build a portfolio can be a trial and error exercise. It is fraught with failure and misdirection and a limited view of what is possible. Project 52 PRO takes a holistic approach to building your portfolio. We give real world assignments that are very similar in scope to assignments you would get in most markets. We furnish briefs, exact specs, image sizes that are challenging, and we shoot to layout many times. If you have never challenged yourself to shoot something outside of your comfort zone, Project 52 PRO is a shot in the arm for creativity.

We help you build your portfolio with real assignments, real briefs, and weekly critiques that provide direction and support.

Where the Magic Happens

PROJECT 52 PRO IS A FULL YEAR OF ASSIGNMENTS, CRITIQUES AND GUIDANCE

Whether you are a beginner or a pro looking for a change, this is the strongest online community around.


NOTE: You will notice we do not make claims that it will guarantee you a “fabulous six-figure income”, or that you will become an amazing photographer with groupies, or that it is somehow easy once you “know the secrets”. There are no secrets, just hard work.


But when you combine hard work with a strong community that wants you to succeed, it can be a pretty cool experience, that is for sure!

This is an intensive workshop with a safe and nurturing community. We record our critiques for later viewing. We meet people from all over the world. And we build your work from the bottom up.
A few assignments from the year include:

  • Shooting to a layout. Furnished PSD files allow the images to be inserted into the layout to judge the shoot’s effectiveness.
  • Shooting food, and learning how different food genres work
  • Shooting architecture and interior design
  • Environmental portraiture, with an emphasis on editorial and advertising portraiture
  • Catalog work: Shooting products to show them off… and fitting them to layouts
  • Bidding a small, local job for a small company
  • Bidding a large assignment for a national agency
  • How to find work in your area (yes, there is a real method. Not a secret, but a solid work plan)
  • Shooting a magazine cover (both furnished layout and creative)
  • Conceptual imagery (how to find ideas)

You can see examples of the assignments at the “Assignments Only” link above. Also be sure to check in with last year’s PROS to see the work they produced.

WE GET INTO THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THINGS AS WELL.

We have a shooting assignment each week, with a two week time to produce it. There is education on each assignment, and we bring a total 365 degree approach to the work. From bidding and getting the job to the nuts and bolts of producing it, each assignment is a rich learning experience with LIVE feedback. We then view the images in a live webinar, discuss and critique them, and put that recorded video into the private area for continued viewing.

The Workbooks

There are two workbooks for the new Project 52.


1. The Business Book:

This is a very large manual designed to be a “continued work” piece for the photographer wishing to go full time as a photographer, or be as professional as possible in their part time work. From worksheets to marketing strategies, the business book has received incredible reviews by those who are using it.


2. The P52 Workbook:

This is new this year. It is a PDF worksheet with lighting ideas, concept ideas, assignment details and a lighting diagram sheet for your files.

OUR GOALS FOR EACH OF YOU:

  1. We want to instill in each of you an amazing understanding of the business and art of commercial photography.
  2. A fully functional, and online website with galleries populated.
  3. An understanding of SEO practices for photographers.
  4. A portfolio of images to use for attracting clients and getting work.
  5. Introduction to the many genres of commercial photography; this allows you to find a niche you may not have even been aware of.
  6. Knowledge of how to go about getting commercial clients in your area.
  7. Knowledge of how to get your work in front of national magazines and editors for assignment consideration.
  8. A more solid foundation in lighting, composition and production for commercial photographers.
  9. A clearer understanding of the post-production work.
  10. A clearer understanding of style and how style is cultivated for a commercial photographer.

LIVE WEBINARS:

We use GoToWebinars for our live discussions. These are recorded and placed on Youtube (unlisted) and linked to this site for your continued viewing.


ONE-on-ONE Sessions.

Three times we meet for an hour one-on-one. To discuss your progress, work on individual plans and to keep you motivated toward creating your portfolio.


Being a professional is more about attitude and knowledge than what you do for a living.

We strive to instill an attitude and the mindset of a working professional in each of the Project 52 PRO members.

Let’s hear from some of those Project 52 PROS… they have the scoop!

Pro 52 is a challenging and rigorous course in commercial photography and I love it, hard. This course has challenged my ability to conceptualize, it has pushed me out of boxes I didn’t know I had, it is teaching me important skills beyond the camera; skills in marketing, pricing, and presentation to those who can give me work, and I’m only 2 months in! More than anything, this course is teaching me how to NOT be a cookie cutter photographer, how to tell stories that only I can tell, the way that only I can tell them, and to be proud of that and walk forward with confidence in, well, me! It is a little challenging to be a photographer in the days when everyone wants to be a photographer, and in order to excel, you have to do the work, and you need critique to understand how to improve. Critique can be opening yourself up to a sea of sharks in our internet oceanscape. In Pro52, we have a safe place to learn from a mentor who is the quintessential teacher in addition to being a longtime awesome photographer, and he happens to be a guy with a great big heart. And we get to learn from each other, a friendly group of supportive teammates. Highly recommended and a life changing course. If you’re serious about photography, do it! — Catherine Vibert
Just ten weeks into Don’s Pro 52 course and I am already well on the way to creating a solid body of work for my portfolio. I love the way that Don gives us the opportunity to explore so many different aspects of commercial photography whilst also allowing us space to mold the assignments in directions that we personally aspire to. Don is generous with his knowledge, built up over many years in the business. He hosts a private online community for us in conjunction with the course  where any question regarding commercial photography is met with well-thought answers and information; students on this course couldn’t be better supported.  As a mentor his critiques are always presented in a positive framework, so even when you could have done better, you still feel fully encouraged by him. In addition to the regular program, Don is proactive in arranging interviews with other professional photographers on relevant subjects that we can also take part in or listen to. The amount of material he gives us is astounding for such a reasonable price.  And best of all? This course is just plain fun! — Sam Breach
In this day and age of workshops and webinars, it’s hard to know where to invest your hard earned money for a solid photographic education.  I can say unequivocally, that becoming a part of Project 52 is the best decision you will ever make.  This is not a sit and watch kind of deal.  This is a get-your-hands dirty, stretch-your-creativity, and build-up-a-thick-skin education on what it takes to be a professional photographer.  It is bar none, one of the best investments I have ever made. — Gabriella Wright, CPP
Over a year ago I was looking for a program that would help me become a better photographer. I found Project 52 Pro and through the commitment I made to myself and Don’s expertise, I am very pleased with my growth and excited about my future.The weekly live webinars are a great way, not only to learn how to improve your own photography, but you’ll inevitably pick up tips from watching all the critiques. Don makes sure you understand there are no “secrets to success” only a daily “do the work” effort on your part to being a more deliberate photographer and businessperson. Throughout the year there are also plenty of “extras” to help you along with your journey. Don is extremely generous of his time and wholeheartedly wants us to succeed! But I think one of the best rewards from this program is the people you meet from all over the world. This is simply a great group of photographers who inspire and motivate! — Mike Moore
Don and his assignments will challenge you; coaxing, cajoling and straight-up pushing you out of your comfort zone – which is exactly where you need to be to make growth happen. As soon as you start completing the assignments you’ll see your work alongside that of your group of creative, talented peers and you’ll be driving yourself on and striving to make better pictures week on week. You’ll not only be stretched in terms of making pictures. Don’s holistic approach covers everything you need to start making a photographic career. He’ll show you exactly where the hard work needs to be done – you just need to be willing to do it. Quite simply, I don’t think I ever dreamed that I’d have come as far as I have in the the time that I have, and I wouldn’t have made it without Project 52.
Being part of the project52 taught me to be sharp and focused on what I really want to do. My biggest need was to understand how the business works, and how a portfolio gets to life. Here I had a chance to learn and to connect with other professionals, find my motivation to work on my own projects and turn them from an idea to reality. Above all I learned that patience and preparation are important ingredients to a successful career and I feel now I have the tools to grow in the direction that suits me.
I can honestly say that Project 52 has been one of the most useful, inspirational and life changing things I’ve done in my transition to becoming a working photographer. The weekly assignments got me used to working to deadlines, thinking outside the box to fulfill the brief and always striving to produce my best work. Don’s critiques were always constructive, helpful and on point and it was fascinating to see what other people did with the same assignment – and to hear their critiques. Just as useful though were Don’s knowledge and tips on how to succeed in the business. Don is incredibly generous with both his time and the wealth of industry experience and expertise he has honed over many years and his patient encouragement helped build my confidence as a photographer and gave me the knowledge I needed to approach and deal with clients in a professional manner. Last, but not least, once you are part of the Project 52 family, Don keeps looking out for you and is always readily accessible via the group’s Facebook page, on which he is very active, and via email. I am very lucky to be able to consider Don both a mentor and a friend and can’t recommend Project 52 PRO highly enough. — Paola Thomas
I’ve always been a huge proponent of the side project – something that stretches your creative and technical muscles outside of your paid work. P52 is the perfect side project – a weekly assignment with a deadline and a critique. Often it’s something that you’d never choose to do yourself but you do it. And learn. And grow.
 
And community – there’s a range of abilities and interests in the members but the commonalities are a love for photography and kindness.  Not only do you get critiqued by Don, you get feedback and support from a group of peers that you’ll be with for an entire year.
 
It’s a better investment than any gear or book you’ll ever buy.
I was a real newbie when I stumbled upon Project 52, I thought professional photography was weddings and portraits. Project 52 Essentials exposed me to so many new genres of photography, so many new possibilities.  I am now in the Pros group and WOW…..so many projects, ideas, business, plans, insights, guidance and support…..much more than I could have imagined. I now have a vision and a plan and I’m preparing for my future as a professional photographer, something I couldn’t have imagined just a  few short months ago. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times…..Thank You Don! — Alicia Bonterre
Don is rated in the top 5 photography instructors for some very good reasons. He knows his stuff. He knows how to present his stuff so that even I can understand it, and that takes some doing. The man is as honest as they come. If he thinks your work needs improvement he will find a way to coax you into making those improvements without you even realizing.

I heartily endorse his courses, his workshops and his online teaching groups. No matter whether you need help with the process or mechanics of the photographic craft or you are trying to start your business, Don will get you on the right path with a minimum of fuss.
 — Ivan Sorensen Photography, Hamilton, Ontario Canada
I was always intrigued by Commercial Photography but was never sure how to get into the field. I spent many years as a consumer photographer and I wanted to do something more and different. When I came across Project 52 Pro and saw the description, I immediately signed up. It was exactly what I was looking for. Over the course of a year I was continuously challenged by the variety of assignments. I experimented more than I ever imagined and was put out of my comfort zone more times than I care to admit. I make photographs of things now I never even considered as something I saw myself shooting. I learned so much about lighting, business, marketing and vision just to name a few. I also made a bunch of great new friends who have become an amazing network to me as I get further into commercial work. I was so thrilled with my growth and the knowledge I gained in just one year…I signed up for second year! I will always be incredibly thankful for Don’s patience, continued help, and straight forward sharing of information. It is by far, the best education I have received and I could not be more thrilled with what is to come! — Julie Clegg
Project 52 is the best practical online course about photography you could find out there. The course and the community, which stands behind it, will change the way you perceive photography – from working with your camera, understanding light, working on practical assignments to learning about the business part of it and finding your personal style. Don Giannatti is the guy who stands behind Project 52. His is the fault of gathering such a wonderful and informative community from around the globe. Don is an exceptional mentor and a real character – the catalyst of Project 52! — Peter Dopchev
Going through Project 52 has been challenging, really fun and has enabled me with all of the tools I need to pursue a business as a professional photographer. Fulfilling the assignments, listening to the critiques and participating in a myriad of peripheral activities has provided real life experiences that have sped up my learning and have helped me mature as a photographer. Don’s undying enthusiasm, love for teaching and exuberant personality creates a positive atmosphere that is contagious. I have really enjoyed the collaboration and strong support from Don, and the Project 52 community who constantly join together to share their experiences and cheer each other along. Most importantly, you get back what you put in, as they say. Personally, Project 52 has given me a cozy and exiting environment to learn about commercial photography, create options and explore opportunities that otherwise would be impossible to piece together on my own.
When I first stumbled across P52, I didn’t know where I wanted my photography to go; I didn’t know what I could do with it. I was just learning to light and knew I needed more guidance than just a few DVDs on lighting could give me. A year later, after sticking to the weekly assignments, my skills grew faster than they would have at any school. By shooting such a wide range of assignments, I figured out where I wanted to go. And by listening to the critiques and learning from others, I jumpstarted my photography. Project 52 is not hard. It will challenge you, but if you understand exposure, you will learn to create better photographs. I can promise you that. But only if you show up and do the work. The community of Project 52 enrollees, past and present, will help you…we got your back, and we want you to succeed. Hell, nothing would please us more than to see you rise up and shoot circles around us! But we expect a little from you, too. Do the assignments. Do them better than you thought you could, and you will succeed. And you will have fun. Trust me. — Bob Knill
One of the things I like the best about Don is his no-nonsense approach to teaching. He doesn’t just pat you on the back and tell you what you want to hear. He gives you direction and challenges you to be deliberate in what you are creating. His critiques of your work is based on 40 years of working in the industry, not about the latest gear or equipment you have to have. It’s about the knowledge and the creativity to solve a problem and tell a story. If you are serious about improving your photography skills (at any level) or breaking into the field of photography, Don is the real deal. — Bryan Lawler
I have experienced tremendous growth as a photographer over the past year taking Don Giannatti’s Project 52 Pros course. Don is a great teacher willing to share his ‘secrets’ to any question or stumbling block you come across. And the bonus is belonging to the Facebook community of photographers that are engaged and keep people inspired. You will not regret taking this course. — Kyle D. Jones
I met Don at a lighting workshop he did in North Carolina in November 2010. At the time I had a hunger to do more photography, but really knew very little about lighting or photography in general. I just knew I had a passion to learn it. Previous to the workshop I had shot a few weddings and portraits and had a basic kit to work with, but really was floundering, The one thing I had in my heart was I needed to, and was determined do it for a living. At dinner the first night when we all met up before the workshop, I asked Don what he would do if he were my age (53 at the time) and , knowing what he knew now, would he do in photography. He said “Commercial advertising photography, lifestyle or beauty…”.

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 Having seen what the wedding and portrait side looked like it made all the sense in the world. By a stroke of chance, my flight home got rerouted through Phoenix and I rode back with Don and talked photography and life. A week later I called him and asked if he would give me some faux commercial assignments, since I had no idea what they might look like. I would shoot them and then ask his opinion on how I did. He graciously gave me 4-5 scenarios and I determined I would start after the holidays. The next thing I knew, Jan 1st 2011, Don started Project 52 started on Flickr! You cannot imagine what I felt! Here I was on the last legs of my other job of 10 years and expecting to be laid off soon and here was P52! You better believe I jumped in with both feet. I got laid off the 3rd week of March and announced at a critique that I was going full-time. By September I had a studio space. I never stopped doing assignments for P52 the first two years, even when I was up to my elbows in work. Was it easy? NO. I went through all of our savings, ended up close to going back to consulting at my previous profession, worked at almost minimum wage sometimes, created websites, did what I needed… Because I worked to stay on top of things an opportunity came along to buy a photographers’ equipment and gain his clients. That was a year ago. The time and fit was right for us and we made it through a successful year. I am so grateful for Don’s help and encouragement, along with many many P52’ers, who all know who they are. Never give up, work smart, try new things and shoot, shoot shoot. Thank you Don and all of you!
Call it fate, or luck… Back in 2012, a string of events led me to Project52.org on Flickr. It was Christmas. I had just gotten a new iPad and was just browsing around, looking for online tutorials. I couldn’t believe what I found… a FREE photography course with weekly “real-world” assignments, and LIVE critiques by a commercial photographer, Don Giannatti! It really WAS Christmas! This was Don’s second year doing P52 so there was already a small core group of people who were incredibly welcoming and helpful. Each week we were given a brief, a challenge, or a visual problem to solve that could be applied to a magazine article or ad campaign. Everyone was encouraged to post their behind-the-scenes shots, so we learned from each other as well.

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In 2012, I did fifty out of fifty-two assignments. (I was kind of obsessed with it – it’s all I want to do.) After week four, I bought one speedlite and a pocket wizard, and concentrated on lighting. During 2013, I started focusing more on concepts instead of the technical aspects of each image, as well as the business side. In doing an assignment each week, I realized quickly that I had to use resources that were readily available to me. My props were things I had around the house, or that I could borrow. For me, P52 is a community, a tribe, an invaluable resource, a safe place to learn. It changed me forever. I currently have a business partner, Sandy, who’s working with me as a commercial photographer. Our company is caller Super 9 Studios, and we’ve been getting work steadily within Connecticut. I also had a couple of images accepted into an art exhibition recently, and hope to continue to explore the “fine art” route too. My goals for the future are to work on personal projects, get freelance gigs and continue being part of the P52 family. Without Don and Project 52, I’d probably still be using my on-camera flash. 🙂 Thank you, Don! From the bottom of my heart. My personal website: http://ireneliebler.com/ My commercial website: http://superninestudios.com/

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.


Theodore Roosevelt

REAL WORLD ASSIGNMENTS | REAL WORLD CRITIQUES

What does “real world assignments” mean? It means you will be given assignments that are similar in scope and diversity as any commercial photographer in a small town. It means authentic work that is exactly the kind you will get the day your shingle gets posted. We all know the big names in the business… jetting off for 3 weeks in glamorous settings with a dozen beautiful models, or renting a helicopter to photograph famous actresses for twenty minutes, or hanging out with the rich and famous while making photographs they faun over. Yeah… that’s the way it is for the commercial photographer… at least that 1/2% who have made it that far. Most of us will never hang out with rap stars or hollywood celebs or sports legends. Most of us will not spend a month on an exotic Carribean Island shooting fashion with models from Paris. It is where you could end up… but it is not where you start. We start by being commercial photographers first… by shooting every day. Shooting for the love of it, shooting for the portfolio, shooting for the publicity, shooting for the prestige, shooting for the hell of it – and – shooting for the money. When you are starting a business like photography (really any small business), it really is about the cash flow. We work hard to make assignments that both challenge the creative, and produce work that could end up in your portfolio.
These assignments will help you get an idea of what it takes to create cash flow… assignments and commissions that come from your smaller market and region that help you keep the doors open and food on the table. This while you are building momentum and ‘buzz’ about your work, or your specialty… the one that will hopefully propel you to a higher level. This is a unique opportunity for photographers to take advantage of the experience BEFORE quitting that IT gig or dumping the manager’s job for a chance at professional photography. And before you start thinking that there it is too hard to do, or that no one is doing it, let me be clear that is not the case. Well, the being very hard is, but the part about no one doing it is not true. Project 52 has seen many of its members become full time photographers and even more are doing well part time. You don’t have to have a studio and do it full time to be a professional. “Professionalism” is an attitude based on skill and business sense. We endeavor to instill that in each and every Project 52 member that dives in. extremely-fun

This FAQ should serve as a guide for what is expected and required for Project 52 PRO.

1. Commitment. It is a year long workshop. You wont find too many of those out there, and the reason is simple. Lots of people want it fast, they want it easy and they want it to be a quick hit. Project 52 PRO is none of those. The goal of this course is to introduce you to more than just the shooting styles and genres of the professional photographer, but to the understandings of what goes into making a photograph to the standards demanded by clients. Please work with us for the full year. Your work will see rapid improvement by mid year, and by the end of this in January 2015, you will have a stronger, more professional approach to your work as well as a much better portfolio than you have now.


2. What happens if I miss an assignment? I understand that real life gets in the way… happens all the time to even the most prepared of us. If you have to miss a class or two, it is fine. We archive each assignment, and video record each critique. You will still be able to be involved in the learning. Just hang in there and find the moments you need to create.


3. Am I qualified to do this workshop, or is it over my head? If you are familiar with your camera, and understand the basics of shooting (aperture/shutter speed/ISO) you are welcome in. The best thing about Project 52 is you are measured ONLY against you. Your effort and work is what we are looking at, and your starting point can vary widely from others in the workshop. Your personal growth is all that matters… and for that you only have to be willing to do the work.


4. How long do I have to do the assignments? You have two weeks to do each assignment. We start out with that length, and stay with it for the duration. Workshop Assignments are posted on Tuesday mornings two weeks out from the first critique, and are posted on that day and time for the full year.


5. Are the assignments/critiques archived? Yes. We use GoToWebinar for our critique sessions, and all of them are posted on YouTube for easy access. The videos are unlisted, so only those with the URL can find them. Additional videos are posted on YouTube and a few on Vimeo – but they are always in the archive, and you have access to the archive for as long as I’m around – plus a year.


6. Do I need any special gear for this workshop? Camera, wide angle, normal, telephoto lenses. A light source of some kind… and natural light is fine for many assignments – ESPECIALLY if that is your style of working. We will also be working with flash, continuous light and studio strobes as well, but they are not required. A speedlight or single strobe would be beneficial, as well as a medium umbrella and medium softbox. During the workshop we will be crafting a few lights, scrims, boxes and more. It will be an inexpensive way to add to your lighting kit.


7. Do I need any special software for this workshop? You will need a way of working with your files to present them on the critiques. Lightroom or Aperture is fine. So is the native Canon and Nikon conversion software. For our layout assignments, you will use Photoshop or the open-source freeware GIMP to add the layers needed for the layout/mockups. As far as PC/Mac – not important as long as you understand the way the computer works. The entire year will be adding specific post processing ideas and tips as well as full tutorials when appropriate.

Register for Summer 2014 Project 52 Group B here.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOU MUST READ BEFORE APPLYING FOR THE PROJECT:

AFTER ENROLLING AT PAYPAL YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE TAKEN TO A PAGE WHERE A NEWSLETTER SIGN UP FORM MUST BE FILLED OUT. IF NOT, RETURN TO THE ENROLLMENT PAGE AND USE THE LINK THERE FOR THE NEWSLETTER SIGN UP.

Enrollment for the Summer Program Group B will begin on July 13, 2014, and end July 30 or when we have reached our 25 member limit. The summer (August) program will begin on Thursday, August 7, 2014. It will run 52 (+2) weeks through August, 2015. We will be taking two weeks off for Christmas and New Years.

Thank you for your interest: We are
not currently enrolling any more 
students for this section of class.

Watch these pages for information on our next class.


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dad1 My name is Don Giannatti I live and work in Phoenix, the biggest photo market in the world! Well, actually… no, it isn’t. It is a small market wrapped in a big city. We have few ad agencies, and fewer corporations. While design is found, it is not a heavy consideration. In short, it is a lot like your town – unless you live in New York, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco or… did I mention New York? In smaller markets, it becomes necessary to serve a more diverse type of client, and it means being a more diverse kind of photographer. Yes, I know everyone tells you to specialize. Here’s me telling you to do more than one thing. And that is NOT contradictory, because I think you should specialize as well. Of course be known for something that you do exceedingly well. but you must create a living and an income to help you sustain your business. I have been a self-employed photographer for most of my adult life. There were good years and bad years and a few really great years… but I never had a bank loan or a line of credit. I managed my business with cash flow. My specialty was people and beauty, but I also shot still life, product, architecture and corporate. I was a bit of a generalist, but I played my specialty up and did well with it. However, if I had to live off what the beauty and people work brought in, I would have needed that bank loan. Funny thing about bank loans… you gotta pay them back. Along the way, my wife and I had three lovely daughters, and we had health insurance, braces, school and more to pay for. I developed a graphic design business to go along with my photography, and we did fine. It’s those skills, the ones I learned assisting and later on the ‘streets’ that I want to impart here. How to bid, how to prepare for a shoot, what it takes to shoot glassware, how to shoot to a layout, pulling creative out of thin air when there ‘simply is no shot’… The skills that have served me well, I hope to impart on to you. You can then modify/delete/add to/twist/bend and squeeze them into how you do your work. My writings on the world of photography can be found at Essentials for Photographers. Facebook Page Twitter My Photography Site My Design and Advertising Site