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 work hard to make assignments that both challenge the creative, and produce work that could end up in your portfolio.

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.

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.

(Please respect the copyright on the images here: Do not copy the images: they are all copyright by the photographers who created them.)


“Don has an ability to give constructive criticism to one’s work so that you evolve and still have the desire and the commitment still to be developed. I have learned loads in a short time and now feel ready to take the step to photograph artwork on payment for other craftsmen.” — Anne-Sophie Enberg

“Don’s style of teaching starts with a firm foundation and builds a structure of learning that is solid and vast. His effective critiques and no-nonsense, real-world business savvy are interlaced with generosity and good humor. It is my good fortune to be on the receiving end of his guidance and expertise.” — Carol Liscovitz

“Don is great. He doesn’t bullshit, has a heart and even his jokes are decent! Every minute that I have talked with him, read his writings, or listened to anything he has to say, has been very much worth my time. He is unlike “the majority” and sets the bar quite high for photography educators.” — Jessica Edler

“Don’s style of teaching photography business is straightforward, to the point and realistic. There are no gimmicks: just honest, solid information, that leads to step-by-step evolution of real skills and progression on every level of the photography business.” — Anna Gunn

“I’ve been working with Don for almost 4 years – his advice and guidance is solid gold and has taken my photography to places I’ve never expected. Don doesn’t teach tricks. He teaches real-world techniques that work if you follow through and do the work.” — Paula Puffer

“There are teachers and then there is Don Giannatti. In the short time I’ve been on the P52 course not only has my technique and creativity flourished, I also have a clear path to follow to turn my photography into a viable business. Don tells it as it is: there is no magic bullet, but what there is is a time-tested method that he’s devised from a 40-year career of actually doing it. I’m continually amazed at his energy, his patience and his passion for turning talent into something more tangible, that can be relied upon to deliver the goods under pressure when it matters most. Don is truly more than just a teacher, he is a phenomenal educator, a mentor and when needed, that cool voice in the back of your head that asks you if that is really the best you can do which kicks you to take the hundredth shot in order to get it right or make the extra effort to contact the thousandth potential client.” — Alex Baker