James Worrell Studio | New York City, New York, USA
david[at]dlphotoworks.com | +1 (212) 727-7507
Q&A with David
How did you get into taking pictures for a living?
Photography was the first thing that really held my interest. I was an OK high school student with a creative mind, so classes in writing and photography gave me my first real sense of accomplishment. After high school, I went to our local community college and in addition to my liberal arts studies, took all the film production and photography classes the school offered.
I was pretty passionate, but lacked the kind of formal training or experience needed to do assignment work. A few years later on a trip to California I had a chance to visit The Art Center College of Design. It was a clarifying moment for me, the school was a beehive of professional design learning all under one roof and like no other school I’d seen. I applied, and a year later move to Pasadena.
Art Center proved to be the turning point in my life, where my passion was channeled into training and a lifetime of professional growth. After graduating Art Center I worked for a few years in LA as an assistant and then later as a studio manager. In 1986 I moved to New York City and opened my first studio and I’ve worked here ever since.
Tell me about your 360º photography studio setup! For starters, what kind of camera do you shoot with?
I use a leaf aptus 75 back on either a Sinar Camera, or a Hasselblad. But I shoot most of my 360 projects with a Canon 5d. Our studio is about 3000 square feet in size and is extremely well equipped and I use the same lighting and other equipment for 360 imaging that I use for my other still life work.
What type of products are you particularly good at creating 360º views of? Do you have a specialty?
We shot our first 360 rotations over ten years ago and we’ve shot housewares, shoes and fashion accessories. The largest things we ever shot were motorcycles. At first we built our own turntables, and had to figure out pretty much everything on our own. Nothing was automated or programmed. The demand then was not what it is today, so we did little motion work until more recently. Every product demands a different lighting setup, but for 360 work we tend to use a large broad light source, and additional small accent lights to capture the nuance of the product. Most of my assignments involve beauty products or apparel, but we do a fairly wide range of product work as well.
Describe your ideal client for shooting a 360º view.
Any company that makes a product that’s visually interesting from all angles is a potential client. Most of our work has been for web sites, but use of social media is creating new demand for fresh ways of present products to the consumer.
For 360º photography, do you prefer shooting in high volume or low volume?
All the still life work we do requires special set up time and planning. 360 work is different but our approach is the same. We enjoy working on both low volume and high volume projects because both provide variety and new challenges, but we don’t “bang” things out. Our images should always support or elevate a brand, so we make every effort to provide both quality and consistency regardless of where the images are seen. Clients use to say “it’s just for the web” but now everything is for the web and increasingly for mobile.
What kind of things do you do for fun? You know, outside of work?
I have a documentary landscape project I’ve been working on for a several years which focuses on the Seaside Heights Boardwalk and its rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. My wife and I are also building an addition to our old stone house in Bucks County Pennsylvania, so these two things pretty much fill up the non professional part of my life!
Who are some clients you've done work with in the past?
How does your pricing work for 360º product photography?
Our rate is determined by three variables: the size and complexity of the project, the time it takes to complete each shot, and the number of total shots. Generally a 360 shot of a small hand bag takes about half an hour, a shoe maybe half that time, but larger items can take an hour or more. Our rate for this kind of work is in the $150-$300 per hour range depending on the variables I mentioned above.
What's a memorable project you've worked on in the past?
We once built a small room set environment in which we shot a rotating tea set which was really fun but somewhat expensive for the client. Recently we’ve been doing work for a global packaged goods brand specifically for social media. I think all clients are focusing more seriously in this area and packaged goods companies are increasingly more sensitive to the quality of their imagery in social. It's really cool to shoot something on a Monday and see it posted to instagram before the end of the week!
What's the best way for someone to get in touch with you?
Email, phone – what ever way works best for them, we are always connected and available.
david[at]dlphotoworks.com | +1 (212) 727-7507