In our first maker guest post, Veronica Paiva, one half of Handkrafted power couple Christopher Blank, exposes how to capture the perfect shot. Useful furniture photography tips by the pros – from composition to editing – you’ll wish you had ages ago.
Anyone who keeps tabs on Christopher Blank via Handkrafted or Instagram knows Luke Atkins and Veronica Paiva are no strangers to stunning photos. So, we were thrilled when Veronica offered to write a helpful guide for fellow makers.
Nobody knows the truth of the matter better than us: Furniture makers have their heads down in their workshops – designing, innovating, and creating. Photography might not take precedent in the process, but it benefits makers immensely to show off each facet of their lovely creations. With all of the time and energy devoted to producing such masterpieces, wouldn’t you want these beauties to receive the attention they deserve?
Don’t take it from us, though. In our first guest post by a Handkrafted maker, Veronica emphasises not only the importance of capturing your completed projects, but how attainable top-notch photography can be for all furniture makers. COMPOSING THE PERFECT SHOT
- Be consistent and take loads of shots, particularly of custom jobs, as once they are out the door they are gone! It sounds ridiculous, but sometimes we deliberate over 10 shots that to the naked eye look exactly the same. We have a process where each piece is shot in the same way against the same backdrop. We are also really lucky we have great natural light and a great blank wall to work with.
- Have a combination of product shots and instant working shots that show what’s happening right now. (This is something I must say we need to work on.)
- Another consideration is ‘has this exact piece been shot before?’ – we will try and find a new way of shooting it to make it fresh.
“Luke has really gotten into the photography and takes great photos of the pieces. It helps that he is the maker as he knows the pieces so intimately.”
You so don’t need a crazy camera! You can use your iPhone or just an affordable digital camera. If you have great lighting and a clear background, you don’t need to trick anything up with filters or photoshopping. We use a combination of an SLR, compact digital camera, and iPhone.
- We have a mark on the floor in our workshop so we are always working from the same point. We also always shoot in a clockwise direction. This way we don’t miss anything, as these pieces are often shot literally right before delivery.
- Get creative with composition on multiple pieces to make shots look more interesting.
- Play around with interesting angles and capturing those finer details that your social media audience can’t see in an overall shot. These shots are super handy to tease out a piece so you don’t give everything away all at once.
- There is nothing worse than a piece you have forgotten to photograph leaving the workshop. I recommend taking your time and taking more shots than you need. Once you get in a rhythm with this process, you will get excited about photography day, and will be able to get creative with your shots.
“Some of your customers can’t view the pieces up close, so think about all the angles and details you would want to see when purchasing a piece from afar.”
- We only use Photoshop if we absolutely have to. We try and set all our original shots up with our best foot forward so there isn’t too much editing needed.
- Instagram has great adjustments to warmth and brightness, but we never use filters to product shots.
- We also stare and scrutinise over every shot we put up for ages before we press the button. I can tell you exactly which shots I am unhappy about and regret on Instagram… they haunt me to this day!
We always show an overall shot and a detail shot. We don’t like to photo spam so we have to be really picky because we will often only show 1-3 photos of each piece spaced out over a few days. There are loads of photos we don’t show, which is disappointing.
- Learn what times of day are best to shoot in your workshop.
- You can never take too many photos.
…Oh, and don’t forget to shoot! So many times we have forgotten and you can’t get them back.
“Beautifully made furniture deserves to be photographed well and each piece should speak for itself without being tricked up.”
Find what works for you so you get the best message across of who you are and what you are about.
By Veronica Paiva of Christopher Blank
Handkrafted is a community marketplace connecting people with passionate makers to commission custom goods. We have brought together hundreds of Australian independent, bespoke craftspeople and artisans who specialise in producing high quality, sustainably made pieces.
Our makers can help you realise your own idea or collaborate with you on a new design. Many also feature a range of original designs that can be made to order or customised to suit your specific needs. Whichever option you choose, we’re here to help make it happen. Support local makers and kick-start your own project today.
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