A Friend Of Kurt Cobain Shared Some Rare, Previously Unreleased Nirvana Demos On YouTube

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John Purkey, who was a close friend of Kurt Cobain, recently shared some extremely rare and unreleased early demos of Nirvana on YouTube. The demos, which Purkey says were given to him by Cobain and until now have been stored in a secure metal box, are a small taste of some of the unreleased material that fans have been craving since Cobain passed away in 1994.

In the first video, Purkey says the band was playing with Melvins drummer Dale Crover at Seattle’s Reciprocal Studios way back in 1988. Another demo was recorded just prior to Nirvana’s debut album Bleach being released in 1989.

On his YouTube channel, Purkey says that on two different occasions he almost became Nirvana’s drummer.

“The first time I turned them down because I was already in another band. Later on, when Chad left the opportunity came up again and I was ready to drop everything. I talked to the guys in Subvert, everybody in Machine knew, I was like, that was it. They needed a drummer, and I’m ready to take the spot,” Purkey revealed.

So two days before he had to go on tour with Subvert, Purkey jammed with them, but didn’t get the call so they ended up going with someone else.

“So I went on tour with Subvert, that was that. It was a downer, I guess I really got my hopes up too. When I talked to Krist, when they first got back and he told me that Chad was leaving the band, instantly I was like, I wanted in the band for sure. But things worked out how they did, and they couldn’t have gotten a more powerful drummer, killer drummer, Dave Grohl.”

Yeah, that Grohl guy did turn out to be pretty good, didn’t he?

Take a listen to the demos Purkey posted as well as some more background on the tapes below…

H/T MXDWN

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A password for the Hawaii emergency agency was hiding in a public photo, written on a Post-it note

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  • A false alert warning of an inbound missile was broadcast in Hawaii on Saturday.
  • Since then, people have discovered that a photo taken in Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency for a news article in July includes a sticky note with a password.
  • Hawaii says the alert was sent was because "an employee pushed the wrong button," not because of a hack, but the photo has sparked criticism about the agency’s level of security.

On Saturday, people in Hawaii were awakened by a terrifying false alert about an inbound missile. Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency has said a worker clicked the wrong item in a drop-down menu and sent it, and that its system was not hacked.

"It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the changeover of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button," Gov. David Ige said.

But a photo from July that recently resurfaced on Twitter has raised questions about the agency’s cybersecurity practices.

In it, the agency’s operations officer poses in front of a battery of screens. Attached to one is a password written on a Post-it note.

Jeffery Wong AP

Computer, enhance:

enhance

The agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for more information.

While these computers are most likely different from the system that sent the false missile alert, the photo raises questions about whether the approach to security at the agency may have led to the scary situation on Saturday. (On the other screen, another note reminds the user to "SIGN OUT.")

Writing down passwords isn’t a strict security no-no. Some experts say that keeping a hard copy of a password in your wallet is defensible — if you can keep the piece of paper secure. But a note on a monitor is not secure, especially if it’s for computer systems dedicated to keeping people safe.

The photo has already drawn some ridicule from those in the operational-security industry.

Here’s what the system that sent the false alert on Saturday looks like:

SEE ALSO: The Hawaii worker who ‘pressed the wrong button’ has been reassigned

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Check out these unique bikes if you’re looking for an upgrade

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How to Make a Frittata, the Omelette for Lazy People

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Photo by alanagkelly

Look, omelettes are wonderful little egg dishes—particularly when they involve cheese and other fillings—but there’s no denying they require a bit of babying. If you want a cheesy, vegetable-studded egg dish that is much more forgiving of your dismal attention span, you need to start making frittatas.

If you have mastered omelette making, great. You probably also manage to drink eight glasses of water and meditate daily, and I’m proud of you, but some people just aren’t there yet. Some of us need a slightly more “fix and forget” kind of breakfast, and some of us have severe anxiety surrounding egg flipping.

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A frittata not only demands less from you than an omelette—and aren’t there enough demands on you and your time these days?—but it makes excellent leftovers, meaning you can make several days’ worth of breakfast (or lunch) in one go. Speaking of leftovers, a frittata is an excellent vehicle for any last bit of roasted vegetable or shredded chicken you might have lingering in the fridge.

I never really use a recipe for when making a frittata, so forgiving is the nature of the dish, but here is a loose list of what you’ll need to make one:

  • About 3 cups of “stuff,” not including cheese. This “stuff” can be protein, vegetable, or carb. I like to use about a cup from each category. (Sausage, bell pepper, and potato is a fave, as is ham, onion, and mushroom.)
  • Some vegetable oil or animal lard
  • 6 or so eggs (just enough to cover your pile of stuff)
  • Seasonings of your choice
  • At least a cup of shredded or crumbled cheese

Grab your favorite, well-seasoned cast iron pan (or oven-safe nonstick) and cook any raw meat you intend on using. Remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and set it aside, leaving behind any tasty bacon or sausage grease that might have rendered out.

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Sauté any vegetables that need sautéing in a tablespoon of cooking fat, starting with the sturdier ones (like potatoes). Once all your vegetables and carbs are cooked to your liking, season them, add your cooked meat and let it warm a bit, then pile on at least a cup of cheese and let that cheese melt a bit. Whisk your eggs with a little salt and pepper, pour them on top of the stuff, and don’t touch anything for a bit.

Once the eggs start to set on the edges, place the whole thing in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes, until the eggs are set. If you wish to be extra-indulgent, top the whole thing with more cheese at the eight-minute mark and set it under the broiler until everything is browned and bubbly. Remove it from the oven, let cool a bit, then slice and serve. If you manage to not consume the whole thing in one sitting, your frittata will keep about five days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

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People totally freaked out over the meteor above Michigan

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Was it … Superman? No, but the super bright light in the sky certainly freaked people out.

Residents of southeast Michigan reported a white ball of light paired with a loud boom on Tuesday night, capturing some seriously impressive footage of the event around 8:15 p.m. ET.

The National Weather Service in Detroit, although yet to issue an official statement, said the flash was “not thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor.” 

NASA defines a meteor as “a space rock that becomes so hot it glows when it passes into Earth’s atmosphere,” which definitely fits the bill with the videos people uploaded to social media.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the meteor caused the equivalent of a magnitude 2.0 earthquake on the ground. 

Mike Austin captured the event on his dashcam on the I-75 near Bloomfield Hills.

Kevin McCombs captured the bright light in a video shared by Local 4 News reporter Jason Colthorp.

Morenci local David Meckley caught the flash on security cameras. 

More folks hit Twitter with multiple videos of the event.

Non-profit scientific organization The American Meteor Society (AMS), which allows people to report meteors and the like, saw its server overloaded after the event.

The AMS received 355 reports of the fireball over seven states. 

“This was a very slow moving meteor – speed of about 28,000 miles per hour (45,000km/hour),” the AMS wrote in a re-cap of the event

“This fact, combined with the brightness of the meteor (which suggests a fairly big space rock), shows that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by at least 77 observers). It is likely that there are meteorites on the ground near this region.”

NASA’s SPoRT, a project that shares research with the operational weather community, tweeted data captured by its lightning mapper at the time of the flash.

Update: This story was updated with more information about the fireball event.

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Why Bitcoin’s Price Is So Volatile

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In 2017, Bitcoin’s value soared from $1,000 to just under $20,000 before dropping down to around $13,000 at the end of the year. Since then, it’s value has risen and dropped sporadically from day to day, dragging smaller cryptocurrencies like Ether and Ripple along with it.

If you’re new to cryptocurrencies, this kind of volatility can be dizzying (and painful if you invest at the wrong time), but if you take a closer look it starts to make sense. Here’s why Bitcoin’s price keeps changing so drastically, and why it may get more stable in the future.

Bitcoin Is Still Very New

Bitcoin was first released in 2009, but it only really gained mainstream popularity in 2017. The technology is still extremely new and misunderstood, and that’s a big part of why it’s value is so hard to pin down.

Add to that the fact that most of the Bitcoin in the world is owned by a tiny group of people. As of late 2017, about 95 percent of the cryptocurrency was owned by just over four percent of people with Bitcoin, according to one report. That means that a single person could decide to release huge amounts of Bitcoin into the market at any moment, completely upending it’s value.

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The price of Bitcoin can also change drastically as countries and financial institutions adapt to the idea of cryptocurrency. For example, when one of South Korea’s biggest banks tested out the technology it caused a spike in value. On the other hand, when China announced plans to crack down on sketchy Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) the value of Bitcoin dropped, and the same thing happened when a South Korean government official said the country might ban cryptocurrencies altogether.

Bitcoin is Different From Everything That Came Before it

Bitcoin isn’t really like anything else thanks to the blockchain technology that powers it. It’s also treated differently than other types of currencies and commodities because we’re still not sure what it’s actually for. That leads to a lot of instability.

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The original pitch for Bitcoin was a frictionless version of money that you could send to anyone all over the world: cash for the internet. However, because Bitcoin’s value rose so dramatically, and because each transaction takes a ton of computing power (and electricity) to process, it doesn’t actually work very well as a form of spendable money. That’s created uncertainty, which leads to rapid changes in its value.

Unlike other types of investments, like stocks or gold, Bitcoin trading never stops, either. There are no market hours. Instead, you get non-stop 24/7 trading, which means even more fluctuations in Bitcoin’s value and less stability day-to-day.

How Bitcoin Could Become More Stable

The best bet for Bitcoin is that as it becomes more popular and more people buy it, these types of changes in value will go down for two main reasons. First, individual owners have less power over the price of Bitcoin, and, second, it creates stability since more people have a stake in the cryptocurrency.

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The other possibility is that government regulation could help stabilize Bitcoin. In the short term, that could cause its value to drop drastically (like what happened in China and South Korea), but in the future it could help calm down speculation and drive out the types of sketchy Bitcoin-related business that threaten to drag down the entire concept of cryptocurrencies.

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CRYPTO INSIDER: The bloodbath continues

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Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

The cryptocurrency sell-off is now being called a "bloodbath" by commentators as it enters a third straight day of declines. Here are all of the theories explaining the crash. 

Here are the current standings as of midday Wednesday:

What’s happening:

SEE ALSO: A popular bitcoin stock announced a 91-for-1 split that could make it more accessible to the masses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: PAUL KRUGMAN: The Fed is in good hands under Jerome Powell

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Sounds.com is a new cloud tool for loops and samples from NI

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Sounds.com is a subscription-based loop and sample site – but it’s also a glimpse into Native Instruments’ future strategy for digital services for musicians.

Today, NI are revealing Sounds.com – a product in 2018 that sounds like someone registered a domain in 1996. That domain name pretty much covers it: it’s a place to go get sounds, in the form of loops and samples. It’s only available as a beta in the United States now, but will roll out to the rest of the world over the course of this year.

You can check out the beta now. I’ve had the chance to talk to Matthew Adell (NI’s new digital services chief) and Sunny Lee (Product Owner) about the product, and poked around the beta and sounds a bit in advance. Here’s a sense of what this might mean as a product itself, but also some of the potential to sound designers and future NI products – if the service and its underlying infrastructure are fully exploited.

What’s the pitch for Sounds.com?

There are, of course, a lot of purveyors of loops and sound content. But what NI’s tool here promises is a deeper, broader catalog of sounds from multiple sources, combined with better tools for searching them.

You won’t see much of Native Instruments’ name on the site, and even their own products are in the background. So Maschine Expansions are there, if that’s your thing – but NI is just one of 200 providers. The Loop Loft, MVP, and Symphonic Distribution sit alongside lots of smaller shops. NI also says they’ve got a lot of exclusive content, and are launching with half a million sounds.

You can navigate by genre, covering not just dance genres, but things like “cinematic,” too. You’ll see bundled releases, but also individual sounds.

That could broaden the appeal here. Maybe you don’t want some massive set of Deep House or EDM loops. Fine – search for a single perfect clap one-shot. Maybe you want to explore some weird Reaktor-produced noises made by Applewhite on left-field label Detroit Underground. Or you’re on a tight TV or film scoring deadline and want to grab some unique sounding percussion. Or you just want some sounds to mangle quickly.
Because it’s easy to find one-shots, and because there’s tons of sound material that isn’t genre specific, it seems likely that Sounds.com will appeal to some people who haven’t bothered with loop or sample content before.

Native Instruments have talked a lot lately about reaching more customers. Here, they offer a fair amount of tools in a completely free, unpaid tier. You don’t even need an account to start poking around and previewing. But a free account nets you some selected free downloads.
US$9.99 a month gets you an all-you-can-eat diet of unlimited downloads of whatever you want. (This is the US-specific one for now; the free tier already works worldwide.) Even if you cancel and re-up, those downloads reappear… just in case you have a habit of not backing up and dropping beers on your hard drives.

There’s an underlying technical competency story here, though. In addition to investing over the past year in the cloud and products team, NI has been quietly over time developing in-house expertise in what’s called Music Information Retrieval. Basically, that’s the somewhat arcane research field of developing algorithms that identify sounds and metadata more clearly. This stuff has been bouncing around Europe for years, but it tends to involve stuffy academic contexts and music industry.

The twist here is, some of that “MIR” business can turn out to be, well, fun and useful to you and me. NI tells CDM these algorithms are sharp enough to analyze the difference between a closed and an open high hat. With a bunch of other built-in intelligence about metadata and tagging and the like, this could mean you actually find the sounds you want. We’ll need some time to test that, and because an online service like this both develop over time and can learn from additional data, it’s something that may well evolve.

But yeah, instead of training Facebook how to serve you ads, you might soon instead be training Native Instruments how to identify and find sounds. (It’s fitting we’re exploring machine learning as a topic this year with our hacklab for CTM Festival Berlin.)

And honing in on individual sounds is part of the mission. Thanks to better search tools, you’ll quickly find you can even ignore genre classification and search however you want – including key, BPM, and other sonic characteristics. There are also tools for grouping by artist/producer and label. (Some of those appear to be set to develop over time.)

With its direct access to one-shots and more left-field options, plus a visual waveform preview and lots of metadata, Sounds.com resembles nothing if not long-running platform http://bit.ly/2mFcJJS – more than something like the Beatport Sounds section. (As far as content, I can’t imagine freesound stacking up to this any more than I can imagine Sounds.com replacing freesound. Case in point: as I write this, freesound has as its sound of the day “procesión de la borriquita” –the procession of the donkey – from the first week of Easter in Tarifa, Spain. Still, the interface and some of the appeal do overlap.)

Lots of familiar sound design houses and artists are there – here’s the legendary Hank Shocklee, who’s been a continuous inspiration in technology for us.

Sounds.com is quick and easy enough that I imagine this could be a huge amount of fun. I’m not a huge fan of soundware, and even I started thinking of how to use this. Hello, Maschine Audio device.

What does this mean for sound creators?

Native Instruments, particularly through their flagship sampler KONTAKT and more recently their NKS format, have always been a platform and reseller for independent sound designers. Now, they actually have a working online platform to do that. NI are promising creators a fluid means to upload and manage their content, as well as a potential commercial opportunity.

The subscription model I imagine could also be disruptive if your business model was based on the à la carte release approach, but we’ll also have to see if these two models reach different customers (and accordingly supply different kinds of content). Consuming sound content for production also isn’t quite the same as consuming albums for listening, even if the buy/subscribe model here is a parallel.

Also, NI say their longer range plan is to provide an open API, also suggesting new developer integrations in music products not made by NI – first to select partners later this year, and then more broadly as they collect user and developer feedback.

What’s the bigger picture at Native Instruments?

Sounds.com has developed over the past year under the leadership of NI’s new “Chief Digital Officer,” Matthew Adell. Adell has experience at Napster and Amazon – and at Beatport. During his tenure, Beatport launched their Sounds section, which then saw explosive growth.

Now, the important thing here is, yes, there’s the specific product Sounds.com – but there’s also the team that built it and the plumbing they created to make it work. Adell confirmed to CDM that this is just a beginning.

More left-field and independent creations show up here, too. Here’s Detroit Underground with Marshall Applewhite. That’s an important story, as well, as it means this service is about NI’s ecosystem of sound creators, not just the sounds from NI themselves (though those are there, of course).

In addition to releases, you can find sounds individually, by collection, or here – again with label Detroit Underground – by provider. There’s no navigation to find them directly apart from search yet.

It’s a no-brainer that we’ll see Sounds.com integration in NI products in some form. But NI says their new, integrated digital services team can make these kinds of tools available across the whole NI product range – and even possibly on future hardware. Sounds.com represents the first product built atop a new cloud platform. (They’re using React JavaScript library on the front end, among other things, in case you’re interested.)

I hope that’s the case, because it could make the experience of using NI software significantly better.

Let’s back up and consider the user. We’re already essentially using NI as an online service provider, it’s just that they don’t behave much like one.

You’re a producer, and you’re using Maschine and Komplete. Right now, not even all upgrades and sound content are available in Native Update. Buying and upgrading is … well, complicated. And then storing and accessing your own sounds is often a chore.

Could this MIR stuff help you find and tag your own sounds and snapshots? Well, heck yes – especially because my guess is you’re even less likely to be organized about tagging and organizing your own files. (I’ve seen musicians’ hard drives. A lot of you are … let’s say right brain dominant. “Messy as #$*&” also fits.)

Cue points in Traktor that show up everywhere? Well, now there’s plumbing to make that happen (this appeared briefly in an iPad app, then disappeared right as we said we liked it).

Synchronized Reaktor Blocks ensembles and snapshots? Why not? (The free VCV Rack is already working on that.)

I’d love to use sophisticated sync and MIR technologies to locate and share my sounds and parameters. But it remains to be seen whether this modern approach from the online team in Los Angeles will be able to wrangle the complex web of different products and code that a lot of us use in Komplete and the like.

Sounds.com is recipient of some of the recent funding NI acquired, but its gestation started before that funding, NI say – so we’ll see how this unfolds later this year. Pro software and especially hardware products have much longer development cycles, so expect some of these fruits to appear later.

In the meanwhile, this is an encouraging step – and you’ve got some sounds to play with.

http://sounds.com [public beta; login available only from the USA but preview features available to all]

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Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

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If you’re like me, you may be wondering, “What exactly is commercial photography?” Well simply put, it is taking photos for commercial use. Common uses include ad space, websites, product placement, and items for sale. As you can imagine, having a working understanding of the essential elements of product photography can be extremely beneficial. Commercial shots influence consumers immensely. You can spruce up a client’s Etsy store, eBay listing, or even personal website with well done commercial shots.

Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

Commercial photography is a great way to sell your prints to businesses as well. Many businesses love to have nice, professional shots of their product hanging in their office space, hallways, or lobbies. Have fun shooting products you enjoy, and you never know if the business will be interested in buying and displaying the print.

Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

In this article, I’m going to talk about some essential tips for nailing commercial work. We’ll talk about how to set up a lightbox, selecting gear that’s right for the shoot, placing the product in flattering light, and how to touch up the image once it’s shot.

Equipment for commercial photography

First, it is highly beneficial to have a lightbox or light tent to use. The particular model I use folds and snaps together using magnets. You will first assemble your lightbox into its standing shape and then select the backdrop. Commonly used backdrop colors are black and white, and you will see that these are the ones I prefer to shoot against.

Feel free to have fun with the colors though! After all, you are the one behind the camera, so you call the shots. The use of a small stand may also be very beneficial for you. One tip though – be sure to position your camera in a way that the product will obscure the stand in the shot.

Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

Lens choice

My all-time favorite lens for commercial work is the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 macro. In fact, all of the images included in this article were shot with this lens. Macro lenses are great, in particular for small objects, to reveal extreme detail in the item.

Remember, that is a core component of shooting product photography – you want to advertise how great the item is to the audience of consumers! All the details matter, and all the resolving power of the lens counts. One thing to be wary of is that exact resolving power.

The magnification of macro lenses can become a heavy problem because they will make things like dust, scratches, and fingerprints appear clearly prevalent. Thankfully, I will share my tips to help edit these things out in Lightroom and Photoshop later.

Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

Lighting

Most light boxes, like mine, come equipped with a set of LEDs that are programmable or can be dimmed to various ratios of light. You will want to position the item you’re photographing so that the LEDs can light it in a flattering and dynamic way. Depending on what you’re shooting, you may want softer lighting or something that will really pop.

Be careful to avoid things like glare when positioning the item, as this problem will only become a headache in the touching up part of the job. In terms of positioning, I love to mess around with the shadows that are cast against the backdrop of my lightbox.

Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

Get ready to shoot

Now, it’s almost time to shoot! I would recommend canned air to blast some dust and dirt off the subject if it needs it. A tripod is also a MUST for this sort of work.

I generally shoot at small apertures to keep the images as sharp as possible, with as much in focus as possible. However, sometimes it can be nice to shoot wide to create a nice depth of field perspectives with the shots. There is a delicate balance between showing artistic intent and making the shot distracting when advertising a product, so be sure to keep the client’s intent in mind when shooting.

Here you can see a real-world example of what the setup could look like when using a lightbox to shoot a product.

Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography

A remote trigger is also very helpful, as commercial work necessitates eliminating camera shake. If you don’t have a remote trigger, my advice is to use the delayed-timer on your camera. Simply set the camera (mounted to the tripod) on self-timer for 10 seconds or so, focus the shot, depress the shutter release, and wait. Naturally, this method can add time to the process, so it isn’t a bad idea for you to invest in a remote trigger.

Post-processing

Now that you have the shots you want, it’s time to touch them up. This part can be long and tedious, but it makes a huge difference in the end product. I generally lean toward Lightroom when touching up shots, but for commercial macro work, in particular, I gravitate to Photoshop. I will explain the process for each.

In Lightroom: I normally boost highlights and whites to blow out the backdrop and create a nice glow to the product. You can do this by sliding the adjustment sliders for both highlights and whites to the right. The amount really varies shot to shot, but don’t be afraid to experiment! Exposure can also be adjusted by moving the exposure slider to the right, however, make sure to not clip the highlights! I also may adjust clarity and make slight contrast adjustments. The real work comes in with spot removal on the dust specks, which I generally do in Photoshop.

Here you can see the lightbox shown with unattractive shadows and blacks, which can be boosted as explained above, to white out the background as shown in the image below.

Edits are done in Lighroom showing the effect on the image.

In Photoshop: You should always clean your product before shooting, but some dust will not be avoided. Luckily, with Photoshop, you can select Filter > Noise > Dust and Scratches. From here, you can select the radius in pixels to target the dust specks. You will have a tendency to lose some sharpness since the filter isn’t perfect. It can have a tendency to smooth out sharp edges or features you intended to remain in the shot.

For this reason, I always create new layers of areas I want to filter and then re-stack the layers to show the changes while leaving sharp edges unaffected. Select certain areas to target with the lasso tool, then copy those layers, run the filter, and restack the layers.

Original image showing the dust specks.

The masked image with the dust specks removed.

Restacked layers with the dust removed.

Outside of this dust removal, I generally reopen the image in Lightroom and do any other necessary edits there. Generally the discussed touch ups I talked about for Lightroom in conjunction with the dust/scratch removal in Photoshop is enough for my taste as long as I shot the frame with correct exposure and settings.


Conclusion

While commercial photography can be intimidating at first, I find that it can be extremely rewarding and versatile alongside other ventures. I’ve found it to be on the lucrative end of the photographic spectrum in terms of genres, and I definitely recommend it as a skill set to add to your photographic tool belt.

Be sure to pay attention to details when shooting product work, and also pay attention to how you market these images to organizations and businesses to ensure the highest possible level of success within the genre. Above all else, go out, purchase a small light box and shoot! You may find that you love commercial work as much as I do!

I hope these tips help you with your commercial product photography. Please share your images and thoughts in the comments below.

The post Practical Tips for Doing Commercial Product Photography by Michael Neal appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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