A bad photo reflects poorly on your work.
You could build the most beautiful, high-end kitchen, but if your photo is blurry, lopsided, or you can see a slight blur of a thumb in the bottom righthand corner, all that hard work just ends up looking cheap.
Let's face it. We're living in a digital world. If you want to make a good first impression, having high quality pictures is a requirement.
And unfortunately, good photography is expensive. Whether you're trying to do it yourself and buying loads of equipment or hiring a professional, it adds up. Fast.
You're a woodworker, not a photographer, right?
Read these 5 easy tips on how to photograph your work professionally, become a photographer overnight, and start winning more jobs.
(And yes, you can do this with a smart phone.)
1. Set the stage
It's the same for movies, plays, and concerts. And it's no different in photography.
Setting the stage is an important, but often overlooked part of photography.
Details like place settings, flowers, and bowls of fruit bring life to the photo and adds a welcoming, homey touch. It gives your customers something to connect with. Something that helps them relate and imagine their own life fitting in to that kitchen.
That's why we suggest photographing your work when the homeowner is already settled in. But if that's not a possibility, bring in your own props to dress up the space.
Here's a picture of an empty kitchen:
Verses one that has pops of color and decor:
Do you see the difference? Which one do you think a homeowner is going to connect with more?
2. Find your angles
Even though it might seem easy, often times what looks good in person might not look the best on camera.
So take some time and play around to find the best angles.
First, walk around the room and view the space from different points to figure out what would look best. Be mindful of mirrors and window reflections in the space. Go to each corner and determine which one gives you the best wide angle of the entire room.
Photography tip: No matter what you do, always include the floor. When the floor is cut out, it can look like things are floating and a bit uneasy.
Experiment using different heights with the camera. When photographing a space from eye level, you can eliminate a lot of distortion in photos. But sometimes, it can look a bit unprofessional and more like a snapshot.
If you have a tripod on hand, shoot from the waist / chest height area. This will give you an exactly parallel angle that will make your photo look more streamlined.
If you don't have a tripod, no worries. Get creative by getting low to the floor and shooting from there. Or stand on a stool to shoot higher.
And lastly, shoot vertical AND horizontal. Horizontal works best with websites or any online displays, but vertical works really well on printed materials like brochures and catalogs.
Remember: You can never take too many pictures.
So take as many photos from as many angles. The more options, the better.
3. Use lighting to your advantage
Lighting is, without a doubt, a photographer's biggest tool.
It's what takes a photo from amateur to professional.
And with these tips, you can learn how to really manipulate the lighting in your space to work in your favor for the most professional shot.
- Use natural light whenever possible.
- Notice which way the room faces to take full advantage of the sun. If it faces east, shoot in the morning. But if it faces west, it's best to shoot in the afternoon.
- When using natural light, avoid shooting toward a bright window, as it can lead to overexposure and will end up looking like a big white box. It's best to have windows behind you, but if that's not the way the room is laid out, play around with blinds and angles to avoid that white balance.
- Pay attention to the weather. Don't shoot on dark, dreary, or rainy days. You want the sun to be shining for optimal lighting.
- To eliminate shadows and create even lighting throughout the room, turn off all the lights.
- Avoid flash at all costs to prevent unsightly reflections off appliances, cabinets, and surfaces.
Now that we went over some of the ways you can play with lighting, let's put you to the test. Can you spot the lighting issues in this photo?
Biggest problem: The camera is aimed toward natural light and artificial light. The natural light coming from the 2 windows is extremely bright. And as you can see, the window on the left is overexposed, producing a big white box. On top of that, the artificial lights coming from the overhead lights are turned ON, causing reflections off of the appliances and surfaces.
The lighting is overall distracting. And not complimenting or highlighting the work like it should be.
4. Invest in a wide angle lens
We've all been there. Squeezing all the way back into a corner, standing on chairs or even climbing up a ladder. Doing anything and everything just to get a photo of the entire space.
But you just end up with half-room shots.
This problem can easily be solved by investing in a wide angle lens.
A wide angle lens is any lens that has a wider field of view than what the human eye sees. They come in handy when you want to show the full size of a room or highlight a certain feature.
And good news. You don't need a DSLR camera to get a wide angle lens. They make them for smart phones, too.
5. Check your photos while you are still on site
The worst feeling is going home and checking all of the awesome photos you just took, only to realize they're blurry, lopsided, or overexposed. Avoid this altogether by just taking a few minutes to check your photos while you are still on the job so you can evaluate what needs to be reshot or fixed before you leave.
It's time to start building your portfolio
One of the best parts of woodworking is showing off your work. And one of the most important aspects to growing your business is building your portfolio. So get out there, put these tricks to the test, and start taking higher quality pictures of your beautiful work.
If you do end up using our photography tips and want us to feature your work on our social media pages, literature, and website, then email your photos, company name, and project details to email@example.com.