WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

Staff



It's hard to sell people stuff if they can't get a good look at it first. That's why we take so many product photos! But where do these come from? Well, visual light reflects off the surface of the items we're selling, and passes through a convex piece of glass called a "lens," which --

Oh, wait, you just meant --

Uh, Dallas. They come from Dallas.

Look for more "How Woot Works" videos in the weeks to come, as we slowly retract the veil of mystery which has shrouded our operations for so long, giving you a good, close look at the monstrous visage underneath. Will you still love us, after you've seen our true, hideous face?

crackley


quality posts: 1 Private Messages crackley

Actually, I had wondered how you got your product photos.

Tom84


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Tom84

Another mac user addicted to McDonald's Sweet Tea, I see.

matthew


quality posts: 20 Private Messages matthew

You've just convinced me that "Mac user" is a good slang term for McDonald's Sweet Tea addicts, actually

ckeilah


quality posts: 149 Private Messages ckeilah

I want that job!

Please do not increment my Quality Posts count. 69 is a good place to be. ;-)
MOD: We had to...we just HAD TO...

bluejester


quality posts: 564 Private Messages bluejester

Watch your cats when you're on vacation? But if that is the case, why are you selling doggie treats today?

Kao1138


quality posts: 30 Private Messages Kao1138

"We're not just the online gizmo store, we're also a client"

- Woot, Tech Club for Monkeys


Also, anyone else think that Rick looks shockingly like William Petersen from CSI?

FrankTownend


quality posts: 0 Private Messages FrankTownend

Very nicely done and one of the reasons I click "I Want One".

ThunderThighs


quality posts: 565 Private Messages ThunderThighs

Staff

Oooooh, I liked that and learned things! Thanks Matthew!



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glubash


quality posts: 11 Private Messages glubash

Nice video. Shouldn't he be using a Lumix or some other crappy camera?

firebirdude


quality posts: 19 Private Messages firebirdude

haha Solid video. Looking forward to more like this.

lukeluca


quality posts: 0 Private Messages lukeluca
ckeilah wrote:I want that job!



They posted the job listing about a year ago, when I'm guessing the existing product photo person either quit or got promoted.

I seriously thought about applying, as I was trying to decide what to do with my career. A year or so prior to that I had applied for a developer position, but in the end didn't take their offer. The appeal of working at Woot was hard to overcome, even moreso when I saw a position that would help me hone my semi-pro skills at photography.

Now if they had told me that a year later there would be a non-speaking part in a 2 minute online video.....

young1s


quality posts: 0 Private Messages young1s

Love Woot for reasons just like this! Thanks Rick (the photographer)

klozitshoper


quality posts: 2 Private Messages klozitshoper

I really enjoyed this "inside peek" at the photography aspect. It is one of those jobs that makes such a huge difference in the ability to move merchandise; yet, very often, we just don't think about how and who is doing such great work. Congratulations on a marvelous talent, Rick.

K9itty


quality posts: 1 Private Messages K9itty

haha that was really funny and well done. how come i never saw that squid guy photo before

Slydon


quality posts: 17 Private Messages Slydon

Staff

K9itty wrote:haha that was really funny and well done. how come i never saw that squid guy photo before



I told Rick I wanted to do a Moby OMGOMGOMGPONIESOMG PWNIES parody for the writeup and asked if he had a pocket knife or something to use in the shot, and about ten minutes later he sent me photos with that incredible, fully-detailed harpoon. I don't know how he did it, but he's amazing.

Hi, I'm one of the writers. My powers are limited but I'll do what I can.

speet42


quality posts: 2 Private Messages speet42

Cool video woot. now should i get back to work?

:^D

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

Tom84 wrote:Another mac user addicted to McDonald's Sweet Tea, I see.



Actually Tom its DrPepper not tea. Can't seem to make it through the day without my DrPepper.

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

Thanks for all the nice comments everyone. I LOVE my job and can't imagine doing anything else for a living. I consider myself to be very lucky to be making a living with my hobby. I enjoy the challenge of making a sometimes boring looking product look a little more interesting and i love reading all the comments in the blog so keep em coming and let me know what you think.

Rick aka ( thephotoguy )

snafu2u


quality posts: 0 Private Messages snafu2u

Outstanding!!!

And yes, I have previously wondering about the product photography and really enjoyed the behind the scenes info. Thanks Rick!

BlindingMask


quality posts: 6 Private Messages BlindingMask

Very nice work Rick, the products are always sharp and colorful. Your studio setup is very nice as well. I appreciate that woot has always taken their product presentation seriously.

Just out of curiosity, do you work from RAW or do you not bother? Lately onboard conversion has been getting better, the difference I can pull out of RAW has rarely been worth it lately.

sdanrich


quality posts: 1 Private Messages sdanrich

I've always been impressed with the amount of detail displayed from Woot photos.

Juneau


quality posts: 1 Private Messages Juneau

Staff

lukeluca wrote:They posted the job listing about a year ago, when I'm guessing the existing product photo person either quit or got promoted.

I seriously thought about applying, as I was trying to decide what to do with my career. A year or so prior to that I had applied for a developer position, but in the end didn't take their offer. The appeal of working at Woot was hard to overcome, even moreso when I saw a position that would help me hone my semi-pro skills at photography.

Now if they had told me that a year later there would be a non-speaking part in a 2 minute online video.....



I didn't quit or get promoted, but I did move on to focus on other things. Product photos was one many tasks of mine, and got to be overwhelming. I still take lots of photos, just for personal pleasure now instead of products.

You may have seen some of my work on the Doug Benson monkey giveaways!

WilfBrim


quality posts: 18 Private Messages WilfBrim

Nice little piece on how you get the pics. I wondered if they came from the manufacturer, or what.

Rick, can you go into a little detail on your equipment and process? Camera, lens, lights, and so forth? Not that we are planning on taking your jobs or anything, but we have to be ready to rebuild Woot from the ground up after you all are wiped out in the West Coast Zombie Uprising of 2012.

equazcion


quality posts: 65 Private Messages equazcion
WilfBrim wrote:Nice little piece on how you get the pics. I wondered if they came from the manufacturer, or what.

Rick, can you go into a little detail on your equipment and process? Camera, lens, lights, and so forth? Not that we are planning on taking your jobs or anything, but we have to be ready to rebuild Woot from the ground up after you all are wiped out in the West Coast Zombie Uprising of 2012.



This. I'd be interested to know about the equipment.

Have you been eating that sandwich again?

panthiest


quality posts: 11 Private Messages panthiest
thephotoguy wrote: I LOVE my job and can't imagine doing anything else for a living.

Rick aka ( thephotoguy )



Alright Mr. Aka (if that is your real name)

I'm going to have to come up with some ridiculously complicated scheme to lure you away from work long enough for me to steal your job then.

Juneau


quality posts: 1 Private Messages Juneau

Staff

WilfBrim wrote:Nice little piece on how you get the pics. I wondered if they came from the manufacturer, or what.

Rick, can you go into a little detail on your equipment and process? Camera, lens, lights, and so forth? Not that we are planning on taking your jobs or anything, but we have to be ready to rebuild Woot from the ground up after you all are wiped out in the West Coast Zombie Uprising of 2012.



The camera is a Nikon D5000, usually with the kit lens, 18-55mm. We have a 60mm macro, and an 24-85mm as well. We use Dynalite Strobe and Light units. Rick can maybe give you some more tid bits, but that's the basic hardware. Nothing super fancy, Rick is just good making the best of the tools. I am glad he joined us, he has taught me a lot.

ecriscit


quality posts: 8 Private Messages ecriscit


Not just an online gizmo store but a customer too.

WilfBrim


quality posts: 18 Private Messages WilfBrim
Juneau wrote:The camera is a Nikon D5000, usually with the kit lens, 18-55mm. We have a 60mm macro, and an 24-85mm as well. We use Dynalite Strobe and Light units. Rick can maybe give you some more tid bits, but that's the basic hardware. Nothing super fancy, Rick is just good making the best of the tools. I am glad he joined us, he has taught me a lot.



I'm really impressed that is the stock kit lens, as those usually get beaten up by the digerati as being POSs. Shows what they know. It also speaks volumes to the importance of good lighting. I would have thought that you would be using very expensive glass for most shots, but it looks like not.

Although I would have been really impressed if you guys were using a Lumix from the Woot stock. This kind of makes me sad, like when I found out you guys actually used iPods instead of Zunes and Sansas.

freshsta42


quality posts: 0 Private Messages freshsta42

thats crazy how much goes into a few photos that are really only used for 24 hours. props to woot!

Cesare


quality posts: 1618 Private Messages Cesare
thephotoguy wrote:Thanks for all the nice comments everyone. I LOVE my job and can't imagine doing anything else for a living. I consider myself to be very lucky to be making a living with my hobby. I enjoy the challenge of making a sometimes boring looking product look a little more interesting and i love reading all the comments in the blog so keep em coming and let me know what you think.

Rick aka ( thephotoguy )



Do you take the wine photos as well? Lately we have noticed them being more creative, upside down bottles, or not lined up, etc.

-il Cesare
Sole Absolute Triple
Exalted High Tastemaster Supreme
“In the entire world there are only a few sounds that bring joy to all but the most jaded. One is the murmur of a kitten purring. Another is the thwack of a well-pitched baseball hitting a perfectly swung bat. And the third is the pop of a cork being pulled from a bottle of wine.” —George Taber

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

BlindingMask wrote:Very nice work Rick, the products are always sharp and colorful. Your studio setup is very nice as well. I appreciate that woot has always taken their product presentation seriously.

Just out of curiosity, do you work from RAW or do you not bother? Lately onboard conversion has been getting better, the difference I can pull out of RAW has rarely been worth it lately.



Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them very much.

I shoot raw for everything. Shooting raw gives you the ability to process the file over and over and changing the exposure, color balance, contrast, etc... without any loss of data. My personal camera is a nikon D300s and that camera has two card slots a compact flash and sd. I have that set up to shoot a raw and a jpeg. The reason for that is its faster to go through and edit the jpegs to determine which raw files I want to work with. If you use photoshop to edit your images do a google search for working with raw files and smart objects. Hope that helps. Feel free to ask any photo questions you like.

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

Cesare wrote:Do you take the wine photos as well? Lately we have noticed them being more creative, upside down bottles, or not lined up, etc.



As a matter of fact I do shoot the wine as well. I really enjoy shooting the wine but it can be a challenge to come up with a new and interesting way to show 4 bottles of wine on a white background. Upside down bottles sure isnt the traditional way to shoot wine but it has been fun trying some new things with the wine shoots. Have any ideas? feel free to share and maybe you will see your idea on the next wine sale.

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

WilfBrim wrote:I'm really impressed that is the stock kit lens, as those usually get beaten up by the digerati as being POSs. Shows what they know. It also speaks volumes to the importance of good lighting. I would have thought that you would be using very expensive glass for most shots, but it looks like not.

Although I would have been really impressed if you guys were using a Lumix from the Woot stock. This kind of makes me sad, like when I found out you guys actually used iPods instead of Zunes and Sansas.



I would have to agree with the digerati's opinions on this issue. There is definitely a difference between the kit lens and a 2500.00 lens. The main difference I think is the kit lens has fewer and smaller elements and isnt as sharp. With that being said some of the kit lens issues have been overcome in some cases and a challenge in some cases in this studio environment. In my opinion the better lens you can buy the better. A good lens will last 20 yrs if taken care of properly while the DSLR body will probably be obsolete in a year or two at best. You are correct though that there is much much more to a good photograph than just the lens or even any of the equipment being used. Light is light and composition is composition and lenses, cameras, strobes, etc... are just tools and by themselves dont create a good photo. Case in point one of my very favorite cameras is a 14 dollar holga. Its a cheap plastic camera with a plastic lens and it leaks light if you are in bright sunlight and it only has one f-stop and one shutter speed so it has to be modified but as I type this I am looking at two 24x30 prints beside my desk that were shot with my holga. Just wish it were digital instead of film.....lol

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

panthiest wrote:Alright Mr. Aka (if that is your real name)

I'm going to have to come up with some ridiculously complicated scheme to lure you away from work long enough for me to steal your job then.



Good luck with that one.......lol........cant even be lured away with exotic vacations.

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

snafu2u wrote:Outstanding!!!

And yes, I have previously wondering about the product photography and really enjoyed the behind the scenes info. Thanks Rick!



You should thank Matthew in this case. He did a great job making this video as he does with all the videos. I am continuously impressed with his creativity and skill.

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

Slydon wrote:I told Rick I wanted to do a Moby OMGOMGOMGPONIESOMG PWNIES parody for the writeup and asked if he had a pocket knife or something to use in the shot, and about ten minutes later he sent me photos with that incredible, fully-detailed harpoon. I don't know how he did it, but he's amazing.



lol......that was one of the stranger shots I have done for woot. I had a great time doing it. Its so nice to work with others that challenge each others creativity. I love doing that kind of thing and is one of the many great things about this hobby of mine. oops I mean job.

thephotoguy


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thephotoguy

Staff

klozitshoper wrote:I really enjoyed this "inside peek" at the photography aspect. It is one of those jobs that makes such a huge difference in the ability to move merchandise; yet, very often, we just don't think about how and who is doing such great work. Congratulations on a marvelous talent, Rick.



Thank you. I am one of the luckiest people alive in my opinion in this respect. I actually make a living doing what I LOVE. Even on my busiest and most stressful day and still working on a wootoff 15 hours into my day I still love my job.

dluepnitz


quality posts: 0 Private Messages dluepnitz

Thanks for this video!
My 16 year old son and new young wife (27) both like photography. I have been trying to think of something they might be able to do (other than fight like brother and sister). I had some professional experience with photography when I was in the Army many years ago. I am going to make a family activity of this where we can all learn and practice together. You have inspired me with this video and given me hope.

dluepnitz


quality posts: 0 Private Messages dluepnitz
Cesare wrote:Do you take the wine photos as well? Lately we have noticed them being more creative, upside down bottles, or not lined up, etc.



Rick you’re the pro and you will have to figure out all the lighting challenges involved, but try placing the glass bottles on plexi-glass. Cover the plexi with your white base (sheet, paper, whatever you are using) cut circles in the white base. Be sure to cut them just a little smaller than the base of the bottles. Now, light up from underneath. I think this will give you a nice translucent affect if your ambient light and flash is not to dominate.
This technique can also be used to give a nice glow that comes from under items (even different colors when using gel filters). For instance maybe a model car can look like it has a neon light kit.