This is a limited enrollment engagement.

Project 52 PRO edition is something that started as an idea and has become an amazing place for learning, teaching, and sharing. It fills the gap between becoming a photographer and becoming a professional. Ideally, you would assist for someone in the field for a few years, but that is not possible for everyone. This is the goal of Project 52 PRO – to teach you about that experience through experience.

This will be the third Project 52 PRO group that we have created and they just keep getting better and better. We have had so many success stories, incredible photography and made many friends on this journey.


Project 52 grew from a desire to fill an area of growth that is missing for so many photographers.

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.

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.

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 shot’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)

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.

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.

We use ZOOM for our live discussions. These are recorded and placed on Youtube (unlisted) and linked to this site for your continued viewing. No special software needed, but you will need a working microphone and speakers (headphones) for interaction.

Using ZOOM and a cell phone, I can come to you to oversee a shoot, offer valuable tips, and help you understand the process of lighting a lot more. These sessions are open to anyone wanting to watch, and we will be doing one per week. Not everyone will be able to participate, but we will choose the sessions that make the most sense from a teaching POV.

We are adding video and storytelling to the project this year. We have two video shooters on our board and are very excited about this new section of the project.

We have many additional sessions that address a specialty or specific challenge. These webinars called “Office Hours” are announced beforehand, and happen at all hours of the day and night to make sure everyone can be involved.


  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.

There are many other goals, many you will set for yourself.

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.

— don


“Before I began receiving instruction from Don on how to approach my commercial photography work, I was virtually in the dark. I thought erroneously, “If I build it, they will come.” Just as I seized control of my creative process years ago by learning to get my camera off of auto and into manual, Don is teaching me how to seize control of my business process by becoming proactive in knowing my own best work, my target market, how to market to that target, and smartly going about making that happen. It has made a tremendous difference in the amount of work I’m getting.” — Mike Chapman

Don’s mentoring and coaching takes his 40 years of experience as a working commercial photographer and creative director and puts you on the path to your own commercial career. He gives you the tools you need, it’s up to you to use them.” — Craig Ferguson

“Taking the courses I have with Don over the past 5 years has taken so much of the mystery out of what I see in other online courses and videos. Don gives you the opportunity to learn what it’s like to have real world assignments thrown at you and how to tackle it when it happens. I fully stand behind any and all courses he crafts together.” — Tucker Joenz

There is no substitution for knowledgeable and focused training, using real world assignments, taught by a master in his field. Don teaches you how to produce high quality work at your own pace, and has the ability to treat everyone like a respected professional, while being able to point out where work could be stronger. My only regret is that I didn’t take his courses earlier! — Sarita Rampersand

“Don Giannatti leads his students through the creative and business side of photography in a way that makes you understand what a client will actually expected of you as a commercial photographer. Using real world photo assignments, live, online critiques and realistic “no BS” business learning modules, I have a much clearer insight into what I need to focus on so I can be successful as a commercial photographer.” —Tammy Bogestrand

“One can’t make a living as a photographer for 40 years and NOT know how the industry works. Don distills that lifetime of experience into easy to digest information THAT MAKES SENSE! You still have to walk the walk, and it may not be easy, but his building block approach helps you see the path on which to trod and helps nullify some of the self-imposed obstacles we as creative folks tend to…well, create. If you don’t have your “next steps” laid out when you finish this course, then you weren’t paying attention.” — Bob Knill

“Don has a way of teaching that makes you feel like you are on his team, he is your coach you are a part of something big. As your cheerleader and mentor, you want him to be proud of you. You really strive to do all the work knowing, in the end, there is a big reward. The reward is called being able to fully function in your market as a professional.” — Cathy Nance

“There are a lot of great teachers in photography out there and I took a lot of online workshops and video courses. Great stuff, really! But in rare cases, you’ll find an exceptional teacher and personality (which goes hand in hand, I think). A teacher who not only teaches you how to tweak your lighting. A teacher who has such a broad and deep understanding of photography not only as a technical craft but also as an art and last but not least as a business. A real master I would say. Don Giannatti is one of these masters. Having him as a teacher was and still is a game changer for me. His teaching style is well structured, down-to-earth, applicable and appreciative. He’s 100% committed to his students.” — Thomas Pöhler

“Donald Giannatti’s teachings have helped me understand what it takes to run a photography business. I find Don’s approach challenges me to think about the whole process which has been instrumental in transforming my passion for photography.  The value and meaning of my work have changed for the better. Don has helped me to understand exactly what I enjoy about making images and enabled me to actually achieve it. With the knowledge Don has shared, I feel confident that I could go on to be a successful commercial photographer, safe in the knowledge that I am prepared for the many aspects of running such a business.Furthermore, the group of photographers Don has gathered as students form an invaluable support network, spanning the globe. They provide a wealth of information and freely share their real-life business experiences and knowledge. Joining this group has fuelled and supported my passion and I am well on the path to recognizing the nuances that make one image stand out amongst others, and that’s exciting.” — John McAllister