Home >> Podcasts >> Mayank Patel on Product Photography, AI & Stop-Motion Videography
Show Notes

We’re back with another fantastic episode of Photosynthesis!

In today’s episode, we got candid with Mayank Patel, a young and dynamic product photographer. Mayank specializes in flat-lay photography and stop-motion videos. He’s worked with big names like Lotus Professionals, Realme, Bombay Troopers and many more.

The conversation initiated with how Mayank started his product photography journey right from his home, shooting different home products like shampoos, oil, etc.

He talked about the integration of AI in photography and its impact on workflows and creative processes. He shared the challenges of promoting static imagery on Instagram.

Mayank discussed the diverse opportunities one can explore within the realm of product photography, like product styling and lighting.

He talked about his experience with stop-motion videography, and the creative opportunities it presents. He discussed the different requirements of clients in product photography.

Finally, Mayank talked about his future plans and the importance of upskilling in the field of photography.

A huge thank you to Mayank Patel for sharing his insights. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review. Until then, keep capturing those moments that tell a thousand stories.

Listen to the full Podcast on Spotify

Check out Mayank Patel’s stunning work on Instagram – Mayank Patel

References mentioned in the podcast –
Zuvamart Instagram Profile

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Transcript

Mayank Patel  Product Photographer 

Vineet 

Hello and welcome back to Photosynthesis, individuals podcast where we talk every week to some of India’s best and most creative, well creative professionals in the videography and the photography space. Today we have with us Mayank Patel who is primarily a product photographer and like I love his focus on very clean and very uncluttered images and photos and also stop motion video is a lot of that also. Hi Mayank. 

Mayank  

Yeah. Hi. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for letting me know. Letting me come on this. Yeah. 

Vineet 

Welcome to Synthesis. Great to have you. 

Vineet  

Great to be on board. I want to start that your style is very distinct. Like a lot of product photographers you can see the, you know, depending on the client, they keep changing. But you have kept your style very constant. Now how did you come here? 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Mayank  

I started taking photos during lockdown. Sunset was a simple start. Then I thought it was simple and I couldn’t go out. Then I saw flat lays and food photography, product photography. I was very interested in that. Then I started with phone actually. 

So, yeah, flatlays say start with that. And then what’s that? You know, again, Joe Instagram. I mean, I said, I think Lens Art and Zuvamart. Do you know? So Lens Art, too, I think was the maximal. Sarah, if it was, but Joe, Zuvamart. I think I don’t know. I was saying, I’m going to hang it. So, yeah, he was very, very minimal. So many of us go. He did start. Yeah. 

Photography Then I started getting interest in photography Then I started taking photos from my phone and uploading them And the thing is, the product photos So the products that I have at home Oil, watches, shampoos etc I started with those only I clicked the photos 

Vineet 

So what was your journey? So this lockdown was just 3 years ago, first lockdown.  

Mayank  

Yes, yes. So I started in the middle of the lockdown. I think it was only one year left. I took the camera lightly. Then my college started. I was in Delhi University. Then I came to Delhi. I took all my props and cameras. 

So I started in PG, that’s it, freelancing. I am still freelancing. 

Vineet  

So what? Creative journey and technical journey. So basically you started from your phone. I am guessing you felt that as a hobby when you were learning, a phone is good enough. 

Mayank  

Hmm. 

Mayank 

Yeah, phone is good enough. 

Vineet  

What was the point? 

Mayank  

I didn’t have mine, my mom had it. I think it was Redmi Note 3. 

Vineet  

Hmm, Redmi Note 3, which is amazing actually, because that’s a fairly not a new phone also. 

Mayank  

Nah, nah, not on your phone. 

Vineet  

And light, then how did you decide which light to take? Like, specific for product photography, what would you say for a beginner? Then what did you take? 

Mayank  

For product photography beginner First of all I didn’t invest in light I used natural light only For the first one year I used natural light only Then I did some tutorials Beginner’s light is gotox SL60 So my first upgrade was on light 

Vineet  

Is that a like on camera flash? Like front facing flash? 

Mayank  

It’s continuous light, I’m using that for me. 

Vineet  

Okay, so continuous light. Great, great. And, okay, so you are using it now. 

Mayank  

Ha, abhi me abhae use karne 

Vineet  

Which is why your video is looking far better than mine actually I should also take this as a point So technology wise that was your journey Which camera did you use? 

Mayank  

Ah, no no, I like to say that. Ah, that’s so good. 

Mayank 

I didn’t buy my first camera, my father helped me. That was Canon 200D Mark II which cost around 50,000. 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Vineet  

Yeah. And the light. And then how did you go about, ki acha I want to, mujhe maza aa raha hai karke and this was college time. Right. I want to do more of this and I want to work in this. Like mujhe paise kamaana hai isme. Right. Wo journey kaise shuru hi and how did you get from there to your first project? 

Mayank  

This is a scholarship. 

Mayank 

Huh. 

Mayank  

So as soon as I started uploading my home products, I reached out to clients and saw people collapsing. So I started with barter. Barter collaboration. The company will give their product, I will give them a picture. Then, yes. Then first my project came from The Man Company. I approached them. Then they asked me, 

Vineet  

So basically, we were DMing him on Instagram. 

Mayank  

that the collaboration of these items will be paid or distributed So I came and thought that it is paid too Yes, so they said do work for us, we want 10 photos So I remember even today that I took 1000 rupees for those 10 photos 100 rupees for one photo Even today I remember So when they came to my account, I thought that there is something, we can do it 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Vineet 

Yeah. 

Vineet  

Yes. Yes, so that’s interesting. So that was your first paid. After that, how did you progress? 

Mayank  

After that, I collaborated with other companies. Then, some barters happened. There were many barters. Like, I did coffee with fixed coffee. I did barter with them. Then, when my work was slightly improved, they used to say in front of me, that you have worked for us, and so on. There will be no barter. So I thought, yes, I should do it. Hmm. Yeah. 

Vineet 

Hmm. 

Vineet  

What is the first thing that client directly approached you? You didn’t approach them, who will take this? When did this happen for the first time? Somebody reached out to you that they saw your profile, it’s a very good job. We won. 

Mayank 

I think it was a brand name, Enrico Eyewear. Yes, he approached me. He wanted 24 photos. He gave his reference. I also gave my reference. He was my first client. He approached me. 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Vineet  

That must have been a very proud moment also. Now my profile has become so good that people are approaching me directly. 

Mayank  

Yeah, that was very proud. 

Mayank  

Yes, and that was a proud moment because my father told me that I can do it. So I said, let’s see, I’ll do it. I’ll do something else in the future. So when I told my father that I have worked for him and I have got the money, he said, that’s good. But at that time, I didn’t have the confidence to do it full-time. 

Vineet  

Huh. 

Vineet  

And now you have worked on the Lotus campaign, your recent campaign which looked really interesting. 

Mayank 

That was around 5 to 6 months ago but I have uploaded recently. A lot of work has not been uploaded as of now. 

Vineet  

But are you now confident that you are doing this full time, you can do this full time and become a career? Amazing. It is sustainable. Because what we keep hearing, so if I am on Reddit on the photography forums, I see two different very distinct thought processes. One is that photography is dying. Or one is look this is the cool stuff that’s happening in photography and how we are… 

Mayank  

Yeah, yeah, I’m fully confident. 

Vineet  

What kind of a film are you doing? I see both. Right. I think that it’s because some parts of photography, like stock photography used to be a much bigger revenue source than it is now. Right. What is your thought that as a career, should people be getting into this? Like, because you have now in a very short time frame, 3-4 years, you’ve gone from just starting out to, yes, I can sustain it. 

What is your thought? That there are avenues in photography? 

Mayank  

Yes, it is. Who says it is not? As you can see, AI is there. People say that AI will make photography, especially product photography, a job for people. But it is not possible.  

Vineet  

Mayank  

So, there are only two or three things in photography. Street, wildlife, products. It has a lot of fashion. It has product photography. You can also do styling in it. There are a lot of things that can get you a job. Now you see, I am photographing the product. I have to do lighting and styling myself. 

They are different people for styling They are different people for that, for adjusting the lighting There is a lot of scope in this And it’s not like product photography, AI will take the place or whatever It’s nothing like that. I take the help of AI in product photography Like I did one thing recently I needed a kitchen in the background 

Vineet  

How do you take it? 

Mayank 

not Indian kitchen, foreign kitchen look which sophisticated look so that’s it, in Photoshop you can see the generated AI has come we have added prompts, done we just clicked the picture by adjusting the lighting  

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Vineet  

So this is our way. We too as a B2B video production company, we too use AI a lot in creative ideation. But with the clear understanding that there is a creative person sitting on top. We can’t replace him. We can speed up him. 

Mayank  

You can’t do it Yes, you can do it in speedf 

Vineet  

that AI is a great tool but AI is not a not yet, it’s not a replacement for creative people at all I mean, when I write a script my work which I used to do in 10 hours I can do in 2 hours 

Vineet  

Yeah, so the thing is that we are getting a lot of support. Like speed-up ideas are coming, we are getting a lot of support. There is no chance of replacing it. Till now, there is no chance. And that was an interesting point you made that photography is not just photography. Photography is like, so many related jobs are there in it. 

Mayank  

Ha. 

Mayank 

Bye. 

Vineet  

sound, that too is a growing field, I would say. 

Mayank  

Yes, I will give you an example. My friend Ivan is a videographer. He is a filmmaker basically. He used to work from his own home in Delhi. But he had so much knowledge in lighting. He has now moved to Bangalore. He is working with Aby TV. And he is working there to see lighting. That’s it. 

Vineet 

The way you sniff. 

Mayank 

Main point is that, you have to adjust the lighting, frame and all the other things. We were doing it before and still are doing it. That is why it is there. There are many jobs like that inside. We can do it. 

Vineet  

That’s very interesting. And now I want to move on. Basically, you are a product photographer. Instagram is still the place where everyone promotes themselves. Instagram is promoting reels. Right. Now how do you make that adjustment that I need more video to promote but my work is in the photos. 

Vineet  

What is your thought? How do you do it? 

Mayank  

Yes, so this is a very tough thing for me. So I don’t make videos. I saw that videos come in stop motion, so I started making stop motion. But there is a client in recent, he needs videos too. Now that client is like this, can I take his name? Yes, Devendra from the brand Big Nuts. 

Vineet  

Definitely, I am. 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Mayank  

So he has been working with me for the past 6 months So he wanted photos But now he is going to someone else for the videos Now he will send the product to someone else Then he will make the videos And I will take the photos So it won’t match The mood of the videos and the mood of the photos That is why I am minimizing the area and lighting Then someone else is making the videos It won’t match So he said that you try We are with you So 

Vineet 

Hmm. 

Mayank  

He gave me confidence that you do it We will do it So I made 5-6 videos for him It’s not good He said we will work together Let’s grow together I am doing it now I have videos I am back 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Vineet  

Or you could tie up with a videographer. Go together. Shoot together. So, hmm. Now maybe let me talk about the other part. This is the promotion part. Instagram is your portfolio. Right. Instagram started, other photos will push. So do you make, end up making any reels of the photos that you make so that it spreads on Instagram or not? 

Mayank  

No, not like that. I have seen it on my page. You won’t find it at all. One or two is just simple for using. 

Vineet  

And then, but then 

Mayank  

So stop motion is the same as product photographer If you follow this tweet, you will have many photographers Your whole Instagram will be separate Product photographer is separate So I saw that many product photographers are doing stop motion So I thought I will try this with photos So I came to stop motion. 

Vineet  

And stop motion is basically, if I look at it very simply, you took 50 photos of that same person, whatever and made a video by combining them. Show motion. Or is it more complex because I know nothing about stop motion. So is it more complex? 

Mayank 

Combine. 

Mayank  

No, this is the same but you have to do this if your camp is from here or there is no light So that’s it, rest is nice 

Vineet  

So if your camera moves then I guess the whole movie, the whole video is gone. 

Mayank  

Alright, yeah, it can do it. 

Vineet  

So that precision, of course, everything is on a tripod anyhow. But lighting and camera has to be very, very secure. Very secure. And on this, then how much… Do you feel it’s too much effort or do you enjoy the creative process behind this also? How does it feel? It will take time. 

Mayank  

Ha. 

and very secure, steady. Right. 

Mayank  

Both are there. But when you create an image, you feel that it is good. If it is not good, you get the motivation to do the next photo well. If it is good, you can do it completely. In stop motion, you have to take the thought first. You can note it on the diary. That this will happen, nothing else will happen. This is the stress of this thing. 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Mayank  

The rest is very good I think Gasset 2 I enjoy taking photos 

Vineet  

So now product photography, product photography, so for a client, how do they end up using these products? Because for example, a man company, now man companies work I’ve seen, maybe I’ve seen your photos, maybe you have seen their ad campaign on Instagram. The products end up looking very, very good. But clients also have two requirements, one is to make my product look good, second is convey the, you know, from a marketing perspective, convey its benefits. 

So man comp or shaving cream if I use it. Yeah, one is make my packaging look really good. Which is where the product photography comes in. Second is show a guy shaving. Right. So now on the other side too or only the product? 

Mayank  

I am on the other side too. Recently I did a work on Honeybee. Honey Pollen. One of the requirements was that I want the packaging of the product to be good. Then second was that they were using it. How they are using it daily. Here comes lifestyle photos. Yes, you have a model in lifestyle photos. 

I don’t use a model, I have so many friends who help me. So yeah. 

Vineet  

Hmm, so mostly this will require a hand model type. 

Mayank  

If you want to use it, you need a model. Like cream, hand cream or lotion. You can show it by touching it. If you have some food items, you can show it by eating it or pouring it. That’s it. 

Vineet 

But is this a very different line now? Because on one side you have only product and lighting and macro focus, very clean. On the other side suddenly so many elements have come here. External people are involved. Is it very different or does it also manage together? 

Mayank 

Huh. Wait. 

Mayank 

You can manage it together. If you do it, it will be done. 

Mayank  

Good. 

Mayank 

time. 

Vineet  

So now I want to ask you, the clients who approach you. Again, you have a very distinct minimalist style. 

Mayank  

Haha. 

Mayank  

Yeah, sure. 

Vineet  

Do all the clients want that or do they also come and tell you no, I want this, I want that, do that or to you. 

Mayank  

There are two types of clients. First, those who are 90% of the customers, they need their product in the photos. And the props should not be too much focused on them. And the second is the 10% remaining. They are very specific clients. For example, they want to show some things of Pooja. So you have to put everything behind. Flowers and all. 

So those clutter images look good for pooja. Or something Like Kapoor, you are shooting a product Kapoor’s company So you have to show it, pooja thali You have folds etc So this came You have to keep everything in the image Then come 90% of the brand Which you can see mostly For example, take cream or anything Like 

peanut butter or anything else so they want to see their product more not that your products are more visible that vibe they don’t like it 

Vineet  

So they also have the same, only my product is central. No story is told. 

Mayank  

Minimally yes. And yes, I don’t want to tell the story, but I want to style it well. And their product, and my profile is built on it. So mainly clients approach me for this. 

Vineet  

that environmental portrait vs just a person’s portrait that is 85mm or 35mm Just focus on my product, I don’t need anything else No background, no nothing 

Mayank  

yes I want a family 10% of people here want a family and some people only want a couple I can say this I don’t know if this is a good example yes 

Vineet  

Perfect. And now last question I’m going to ask you, how is this evolving more? How are you thinking of the next 2-3 years that you have to work? Both from a, okay I need to approach more clients or approach clients in this category. And secondly, technically, like how are you upskilling? Are you thinking that my editing needs work, my lighting needs work, how are you trying to improve as a product for them? 

Mayank  

Yes, so I am doing product photography right now. I have the knowledge of lighting. How the lighting will be in the product photos. Then I am working in the videos. So in the videos, I don’t have the knowledge of lighting at all. Where will this light come from? Rim light etc. So I am working on that and will continue to work on it. Then now I am thinking ahead, in the next 3-4 years, or whatever happens soon, to do agency. In which I… 

Vineet  

Hmm. 

Vineet 

Hmm. 

Vineet  

God bless you all. 

Mayank 

Yes, that’s right. I am also learning graphic designing. I will do it together. And my two or three friends from the team can join. 

Vineet 

That’s amazing. 

Vineet 

Hmm. 

Vineet  

That’s very cool, very cool and good luck with all this. Maybe we’ll end up working together with individual and with you via on a product shoot. That would be great. So, thank you Mayank. Thanks for your time. This was great. And thanks guys for tuning in. You can of course follow us on Spotify, YouTube, any podcast platform of your choice and yeah, check out our Insta. We’ll drop links to Mayank’s work also. 

Mayank 

Yeah, yeah, sure. 

and that would be very… 

Mayank 

Thank you. 

Vineet  

in the show notes and catch you next week. Bye bye. 

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