The #1 questions people ask me when I attend a speaking engagement or conference is “Do you like your short hair?” or “Are you and your sister talking?” after my sister chopped off my hair and I hated it.
I am talking about a real adult relationship between two women who are related, not some childhood story where my sister cut my bangs.
But for those of you who are wondering, YES, I love my short hair AND my sister.
We are closer than ever.
Okay, the SECOND most common question I get is about my photography.
As a total amateur and someone who is honestly, a little insecure about my photography skills, it makes my little heart soar when people think I know what I am doing in the photog department.
Words of affirmation are my love language people.
“What settings do you use on your DSLR Camera?”
Sadly, I know enough to be dangerous on my camer,a but not enough to explain it.
“Did you take a photography class?”
Yes. I took an online class but I think I only completed half of it. If there would have been a test I am certain I would have scored a C-.
As someone who resisted learning about photography for many years I have grown to really love it.
When my camera broke this past year I felt so unmotivated to tackle projects.
Shooting the pictures makes the piece come to life and I was sad to be without that final step in my furniture flipping process.
If you have a furniture flipping business the single most important thing you can do is learn your way around your camera.
This is one item that I guarantee will increase your business.
My photos have been featured on The Today Show’s website, The Huffington Post (twice!), Buzzfeed, and many more nationally know sites.
Not bad for a C- student.
Here are my TOP 10 Tips for Photographing Furniture – From an amateur’s perspective.
#1 Learn your Camera
You don’t have to own an expensive camera to take great pictures. If it’s out of your budget right now, make it your mission to learn the camera you do have. The camera I own is a Canon Rebel T3i. I shoot with the stock 18-55mm lens that came with it.
(Budget Alert: You can also buy refurbished cameras on Adorama.)
I have considered getting some different lenses for my camera but I have not done it yet. I have owned a Nikon before, but it was stolen by some
biotch ex-felon disguised as a sweet lady, who took one of my furniture painting workshops. I purchased a Canon to replace it. I do think the Canon is much more user friendly. Especially for a beginner.
I learned all about my camera, and settings for interior photography, from the online photography course Shoot Fly Shoot. Shoot Fly Shoot even has a settings cheat sheet that I stash in my camera bag and still refer back to.
If you are wanting to master iPhone photos then David Molnar has an awesome iPhone Only Photography Course.
But trust me, it’s not any harder to figure out a DSLR than it is an iPhone. I promise.
#2 Find a Great Spot To Take Your Photos.
I am fortunate enough to have an excellent backdrop in my studio – a white wall with faux brick that I whitewashed myself. I realize most people do not have this option but there are a ton of alternatives for camouflaging your less than photo friendly garage space.
The fastest way to revamp your photo space is to purchase some photography backdrops. Etsy has a great selection but if you have a better source for them I would love to hear about it.
This photo was taken in the back of my warehouse against some ugly grid wall.
Here is the same dresser with a photography backdrop.
See what a difference? I didn’t even accessorize or style this piece. Using backdrops is an easy way to take your piece’s photos to the next level.
Another furniture flipper who does an amazing job styling her photos is my friend Dionne, from The Turquoise Iris.
You NEED to follow her on Facebook or Insta so you can fawn over all of her creations and photo styling skills. I think she shoots all of her furniture photos in her home or garage. I am trying to talk her into teaching a class at my studio – don’t you think she needs to come teach us her photo styling magic????
#3 Shoot from the Hip
This is my own personal opinion, but the money shot is the one that is taken at hip height. I think it shows off all of a furniture’s features and is always my best shot. It’s a great place to start if you are a beginner and is an easy shot to master.
Accessorize with lots of different textures and knick knacks. I pile on the accessories when it comes to furniture – way more chotchkies than I would ever use in real life.
I am a more is more kinda gal.
There are a lot of different textures going on in this photo – the metal of the tool box, the wood and metal from the angel wings. The color scheme of the buffet, the wings, and the flowers tie everything in together and make it work.
#5 Keep in Mind your Piece’s Style
Along with accessories comes a piece’s style. This piece was modern, so I kept the accessories simple and clean, like the piece. If your piece is rustic then add more rustic accessories. Help a prospective buyer envision how it would be used in their home with their style.
#6 Use Fresh Flowers
I try to use fresh flowers as much as I can in photos. It adds color and texture. I purchase mine from the grocery store but I can easily rack up a $40.00 flower bill on each piece of furniture. I try to batch my photos to shoot several pieces in one day so I can justify buying a lot of flowers for several different shoots.
#7 Use Natural Light
Even though my studio has lots of overhead lighting I always shut the lights off and open the overhead garage door to let the natural light in.
#8 Use a Tripod and (and a remote)
With indoor photography and natural lighting comes dark rooms and less than ideal photography conditions. If you use a tripod to stead your camera and a remote to shoot it will allow you to open up your shutter for longer which then allows more light into your camera’s lens. After I took the Shoot Fly Shoot course I was so overwhelmed by the thought of using a remote with my camera I completely ignored this advice.
I finally got sick of my dark photos and figured out how to use the remote.
It was seriously ONE CLICK OF A BUTTON.
It was that easy.
Here is the remote I use. It did come with my camera bundle when I purchased it on Amazon. They are so inexpensive and are preprogrammed to your camera – no excuses on this one!
If you are using an iPhone you can get a stand like this one .
#9 Shoot from Different Angles
Show all of the different details of the piece of furniture. The knobs, any special detail, or blemishes you want to disclose to your buyers. Different angles add interest and show off what makes your piece a work of art.
#10 Give Yourself Some Grace
This was my first photo I ever shot using my tripod and remote.
It’s not great.
But guess what? It’s a heck of a lot better than how I was shooting photos before.
This Union Jack Trunk was awesome. But my photography didn’t do it any favors. It took me 6 months to sell it!
Give yourself some grace and pat yourself on the back for learning a new skill to improve your business.
So, I would LOVE to know. What photography questions do you have? Or what is your best photo taking tip?
Leave a comment and let me know!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.