There are no two ways about it - you’re in the business of selling furniture, so you need to know how to take a decent photo.
What’s the point of putting all that time and effort into creating a spectacular finish just to have it look like it was photographed in a cave?
There is so much in-depth information that can be written about each element of this topic (and we’re working on it!) but this post is about learning the basics. Great photos don‘t happen by accident, great photos are made through careful planning.
Get to know your camera
Get to know your camera. You don’t need a fancy camera to take great photos, you can take nice shots with nothing but an iPhone. But the bottom line is this, no matter what equipment you use, you need to know how it works and what it can do to help you maximize your results.
Pick the right location
Pick the right location. When we’re doing stylized shots, we set up in a room with a slightly texture pale grey wall and wood floor. The wall is neutral without being white (which can appear washed out) and wood floors always look great in photos.
Yes, you can go out and purchase a photo backdrop but first, look around your house. is there a room with a neutral background that could be used? Our photo space is also our dining room and the photo wall usually has a large piece of furniture with a mirror and two prints hanging above it. But it’s the perfect spot. So, we keep the furniture on sliders and when we need to shoot we just slide it out of the way and remove the mirror and art.
Use natural light
Lighting is arguably the trickiest part of photography and natural light is bar war the best. Shooting indoors usually means dark rooms. Try to avoid the temptation of turning on a lot of lamps. Artificial light can be harsh, too yellow, cause glare and shadows. If you’re using a digital camera, the best thing to do is to turn off all the artificial light and open the shutter for a longer amount of time to let more light in. If you’re using an iPhone, you can adjust the exposure by tapping on the screen until you see the light icon
next to the exposure rectangle, then slide up or down to adjust the exposure. Your piece needs to be shown as it truly is, not as a stylized version of itself, for this reason it's important NOT use any filters.
Shoot at eye level
Shoot at eye level – your furniture’s eye level. Standing in front of a dresser and snapping a photo with your camera aimed downward will always make the piece appear distorted. Crouch down or set up your tripod so that you are shooting your piece of furniture straight on or just a little higher. Use the grid feature to ensure that tops are straight horizontally and legs and sides are straight vertically.
Don’t accessorize…then do accessorize
While pretty accessories help sell furniture on Facebook, other sites (eg: Chairish and AptDeco) require that your photos simply contain your furniture, no accessories. For this reason, you should be shooting two sets of photos - one with accessories and one without so you have what you need when you decide to branch out from Facebook.
Cover all the angles
Shoot from different angles and take a minimum of 5 shots. In addition to the straight-on shot, take one that illustrates how deep the piece is, close-ups of interesting details and hardware as well as any blemishes or damage. It’s important to capture the great and the not-so-great of any piece to avoid problems later.
One final piece of advice: When you're finished taking your pictures, take a look at all your photos before disassembling your photo shoot set up. I can't tell you how many times I cleaned up my photography space thinking I was all done just to download my photos and realize that I missed a key shot.