Peter Belanger is on top of his game. With one of the most sought after gigs in the industry as his account, he certainly has distinguished himself amongst a sea of gifted photographers. Apple is just one of Belanger’s clients. Based in San Francisco, the top notch product photographer has many other A-list brands under his belt, including eBay, Nike, Pixar and Square. He recently granted an interview with Michael Shane of The Verge.
Belanger had been freelancing for advertising agencies that worked with Apple, and those relationships bore more fruit when the people within Apple began contacting him directly to shoot their product shots. The creative process behind an Apple product shoot is a long and tedious one for sure, but the Apple team provides him a shot list as well as sketches of what they have in mind to further communicate their ideas to Belanger. He then chooses an area to start with and devises ways on how to showcase the carefully-selected materials in Apple products.
Below are some excerpts from the interview:
On finding his niche as product and advertising photographer,
“While studying photography I was in a program that really pushed the creative side of the industry (concept and meaning more than technique). The goal was to hang in a museum. At one point I decided I wanted to learn a bit more about the commercial side of photography and applied for an internship in San Francisco. I could see there was a lot of work in the area for commercial photographers due to all the product companies around Silicon Valley….”
On his influences,
“There isn’t any one source that stands out, but I do like looking at current magazines to see creative images and new styles…Movies and television shows are also strong influences….”
On his current favorite gear,
“Canon 5D Mark III, this is my go-to camera. My base lens is the 24-70mm; if I could only have one lens this would be it….”
On his in camera work versus post production,
“I try to do as much in camera as possible. Even shots that are achieved in camera need some post production. This is because no matter how well a product is made, when you magnify it at 100 percent, you see more than the human eye can see….”
On his favorite subject for fun,
“My kids! I know that sounds boring but it’s not. I’ve been taking a photograph of them every day since they were born. This is a great outlet for me because it’s very different than my normal work. It’s something I can do and not worry what a client or anyone else thinks…”
The entire interview is a very candid Q&A with the prolific photographer. Read it in its entirety on The Verge.
Here is a behind-the-scenes video showing how Belanger created the photo of the iPhone 3GS featured on a 2009 issue of Macworld Magazine: