Photographing a Chair: A Professional Approach

Photographing a Chair

I was photographing a chair last week… A chair? How exciting can that be?
Pretty darned exciting!

I set the studio up in my client’s warehouse – easier for me to go there than for them to deliver the chair to me.

We always start with a straight on shot, then some angles and finally some images detailing the features of the chair. My client’s chair – something I never forget.

Straight on might seem pretty straight forward, but… how much of the cushion should show? What happens to the look of the chair when I change the angle up or down? Which lens will create the best affect for my client’s ideal result?

Sometimes, the chair might be a pre-production model with minor flaws. It’s my job to observe these, point them out and find the best solution.

Lighting? Do we want texture? What highlights show its shape best? We want to show off the type of fabric and the colour. With the detail shots, how do I show off the stitching at its best. For the wheel I had to lie down on a very dirty floor to get the desired shot. My client felt badly. I was having fun! I’m prepared and know what I’m getting into in advance. I dress appropriately so I don’t mind getting dirty (in some scenarios I might need safety shoes). I’m kind of like a big kid playing in the dirt on the floor and getting a shot my client loved.

How about when my client asks how to best show the movement of the back of the chair. Once you’ve done this a few times it’s fairly straight forward. If I haven’t done something before, I will figure out how to accomplish the best result.

It has to be done right – that’s where my extensive experience comes into play.

What about the wooden arm rest which wasn’t attached to the chair? I love working with my client to sort out how to do this. He/she knows what their product is supposed to look like when it’s assembled which is hugely important. I never assume. I ask lots of questions.

See, photographing a single chair (or any product photography) can be exciting!

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