The Snap36 Blog
How to Photograph Furniture: Your Guide to Prep and Execution
Ecommerce customers have high expectations for the online shopping experience. They want to see high-quality, dynamic visuals before they make a purchase, and furniture is no exception to that demand.
You might be thinking: “Furniture is large. And heavy. Do I need to recruit the Hulk for a 360 degree photo?”
The short answer is no, but you’ll probably need to hire a professional photography studio to provide those visuals. You just need the right team, equipment, and direction, and any furniture item is perfect for rich media like 360 degree images.
At Snap36, we’ve photographed it all, from patio grills to refrigerators to sectional sofas. Here’s our guide to planning and executing a successful photography project for your furniture products.
Prepare Your Project Location and Products
To get ready for a furniture photo shoot, you need a suitable location for the project and the right support team on deck. It takes a lot of energy to plan and manage product photography, but our team at Snap36 can help you figure out all the logistics involved.
Choose Your Site: In-Studio or On-Location
You have two options for your photo project location: in a professional photography studio or at your company’s location of choice , such as a warehouse or distribution center. There are a number of factors that will determine which option is best for you, and Snap36 can walk you through your decision.
Snap36’s studio has all the necessary equipment to handle furniture and often does, but it’s more a question of whether shipping is feasible for you. If it would be difficult and costly to ship your entire inventory, which may be the case if you have a high volume of large furniture pieces, it might make more sense to hold the project at your location.
If you do ship your furniture items to a photography studio or are transporting them within your location, take precautions to ensure they’re protected from damage. Scratched or dirty items have no place in a product photo.
Equipment and Expertise Enable the Perfect Furniture Image
Once product shipping, transportation, and assembly are taken care of, it’s time to start photographing.
Unlike smaller items, furniture pieces need special equipment to produce 360 degree images. Snap36’s team of project managers and photographers have dealt with all kinds of furniture projects, so they’ll know how to approach yours.
Get the Right Station
Photographers need a station, or a turntable, on which to place the product during a photo shoot project, and large items like furniture products unsurprisingly need large ones.
Snap36 uses two kinds of stations during furniture photo shoots: a large platform or a carousel 5000. The large platform has a 9.2 foot usable rotating plate that works best for items sized between a chair to a small sofa, while the carousel has a 16.5 foot plate that can fit bigger pieces like dining room sets or sectionals.
There’s no need for skewed or fancy angles in a clean product photo. You want a straight-on, centered composition, and if you’re using 360 degree photography, you want the same composition from every angle.
A wide-angle lens is best to get this centered composition on larger products, and a macro lens works best for smaller products.
Compose the Shot
Every item is different, which means every item deserves its own styling, lighting, and arrangement.
Being photo-ready doesn’t just mean looking good from the front. In 360 degree photography, there’s nowhere for a piece of furniture to hide.
Styling furniture pieces can take time. Our photo team may steam wrinkles, clean fabric, or polish wood before photographing. This critical step ensures the final online product captures items in pristine condition.
Lighting is the name of the game when it comes to 360 degree photography.
For furniture, we normally use large soft light sources to consistently illuminate the products while rotating to represent the product as true to life as possible.
Sometimes harder or “moody” lighting can add contours and dimension to a furniture piece. Most importantly, every lighting style we use is even from every angle of the image.
It’s important to think about what will make the most visual sense for a consumer when they look at the image.
Furniture is often photographed in sets. For instance, in an image of a dining room set, a 360 spin of the full set of tables and chairs together might be chaotic to the viewer. Instead, we recommend photographing a still shot of the full collection. Then, take 360 spins of the tables and chairs separately to capture them from every angle.
Arranging furniture pieces for a photo is a case-by-case judgment, and our team at Snap36 has extensive experience with these types of projects to provide insight on what looks best.
Excellent Furniture Product Photography is Well Within Reach
The ecommerce landscape is evolving into a visuals-first experience. First-mover furniture retailers have long offered exceptional product photography on their websites, which means the competition is stiff.
The good news is that high-quality, 360 degree photography is available to any furniture company that invests in the right production.
These projects require time, energy, equipment, and experts. With those essential ingredients, a photo shoot can yield visuals that will transform your website into a virtual stroll through a furniture showroom.