Peter Belanger: The illusion of simplicity

You’ve almost certainly never heard of Peter Belanger, but you’ve definitely seen his photographs. In fact, you may even see his work every day, and it’s likely that you own some of his most famous subjects. Belanger is the man behind some of Apple’s most iconic product images, a San Francisco-based product photographer at the top of his field. Apple is but one of his clients — he’s done work for everyone from eBay and Nike to Pixar and Square.


When he was studying photography, he was in a program that really pushed the creative side of the industry (concept and meaning more than technique). At one point he decided he wanted to learn a bit more about the commercial side of photography and so he applied for an internship in San Francisco. Peter, at that point, could see there was a lot of work in the area for commercial photographers due to all the product companies around Silicon Valley. This was when desktop publishing and computers were just taking off. He liked the aspect of working with clients and solving puzzling challenges with each job. Peter realised that he was finding his dream, making a living by doing what he loved.

The guys from “The Verge” asked Peter Belanger how does he balances working in the camera with post-productions.

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. Something that looks smooth as you hold it will have scratches, chips and other imperfections once magnified. However, there are times when I shoot in what I like to call “Frankenstein photography.” I shoot various parts and combine everything later in Photoshop. This technique is great when I want to avoid reality (like my donut series) or when I can achieve something that couldn’t have been done in-camera. I did an album cover for The Brokenmusicbox this past year where the image was crafted out of various pieces to achieve a combination of elements and lighting that wouldn’t have happened any other way.


Check out this video of Peter Belanger to see the set-up for the Macworld Cover Creation.

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