How to take "Insta-worthy" photographs of furniture
Taking Insta-worthy photos of your furniture and interior decor doesn't require an expensive camera or lighting set up. This guide will show you how to take great photos of furniture and decor using your smartphone, as well as some tricks to make your snaps even snappier.
There are any number of great reasons why people take photos of their furniture and home. You might have furniture pieces you want to sell on Gumtree, Craigslist or Marketplace. A good photo can make a world of difference.
Or perhaps you're a budding interiors photographer, a social media influencer or an avid decorator. Maybe you want to snap a good photo to submit with your product review (wink, wink - we love seeing customers' photos!)
Whatever your reasons for photographing your furniture, this interiors photography guide will help.
1. Clean and style your furniture
Photography can show up all sorts of imperfections - finger prints, dust and other marks - so before you start taking photographs, make sure your furniture is clean.
You may also like to style your furniture. Styling items can include vases, plants, books, lamps, photo frames, art, cushions, rugs, knick-knacks and more. Styling is an opportunity to convey personality and to capture a desired mood.
A Lux Hax customer has created this beautifully styled bedroom vignette. 📷 Styl-Panel Kit: #1123 to suit IKEA Malm 3 or 4 or 6 drawer chest
Are you in the process of developing your interior design style? Here are some Instagram feeds that will help spark ideas:
- Boho Chic: Anthrolopologie
- Coastal Chic: Serena And Lily
- Mid Century Modern: West Elm
- Hollywood Regency: James Said
- Modern: Coco Republic
- Modern Farmhouse: Pottery Barn
Here is the same piece of furniture photographed by different customers. Different styling choices convey different moods. 📷 IKEA Besta paired with Lux Hax Styl-Panel 1121
2. Natural lighting works best
Landscape and outdoor photographers often prefer early morning and late afternoon light when the sun is closer to the horizon. For indoor photography, pick a time of day when your room is filled with natural light.
A Lux Hax customer has photographed her furniture using natural light. 📷IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers with Styl-Panel 1123
Especially when photographing shiny or mirrored furniture, using natural light can help avoid unwanted reflections. That being said, there are very few homes that have the benefit of abundance natural light in every room. In those instances, lamp light can be used to create a cosy or intimate mood.
This small bedroom lacks natural light, but the addition of lamp lighting creates a sense of cosiness. 📷 IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers with Styl-Panel 1124
Still not enough light for your liking? If you are planning to make a habit of photographing your home, you could invest in a beginner lighting kit.
3. Choose your angle
The wonder of digital photography is that you can shoot lots of different angles and then choose your favourites. Try front-on, side angles, close-ups and wide angles.
One of the keys, however, is to be on the same level as the furniture. This means you may need to kneel or sit on the floor.
The perfect front-on angle. 📷 Styl-Panel Kit: #1134 to suit IKEA Malm 3 or 4 or 6-drawer chest
You don't need to be up close to your furniture to take a great shot. Sometimes, the best furniture shots are taken from across the room.
We all love a rags to riches story! Don't overlook the power of before-and-after shots. 📷 Styl-Panel Kit: #1114 to suit IKEA Malm 3 or 4 or 6-drawer chest
4. Use your smartphone features
If you're shooting your decor photos with a smartphone, take advantage of some of these handy features:
Turn on grid lines
If your phone is not absolutely straight-on to the subject, you may end up with perspective distortion where the subject looks warped.
Minor cases can be corrected with photo editing, but a better solution is to open your camera settings, turn on grid lines and take straight photos.
Rookie mistake. This is an example of distortion perspective. The furniture gets narrower at the bottom because the camera wasn't square to the subject. Using grid lines will help to avoid this.
Grid lines also come in handy for flat-lay photography. You can line up the centre cross-hairs to know that you have your phone perfectly flat to the subject. Investing in a tripod, tripod selfie-stick or gimbal are other solutions.
Tap screen to set focus
When it comes to focusing, compose your photo then tap on the phone screen where you want the camera focus to be. Usually, this would be on your main subject. A yellow box appears to show where the camera is focusing.
Slide to adjust exposure
To adjust the exposure (how dark or bright the image is), after tapping to set focus, slide your finger up or down on the screen. Sliding up makes the image brighter, while swiping down makes it darker.
5. Photo editing
Even the best photographers use editing to bring their photos to life. The good news is that you can do the same without needing expensive software.
Everything in the Snapseed app is free. There are no in-app purchases, subscriptions, upgrade fees or ads. After editing your images, you can save them to your camera roll, email or post directly from the app.
Example of photo editing in the Snapseed app. Photo credit: iphonephotographyschool.com
The Snapseed tools we love include:
- Tune Image – Use the auto white balance feature or play with numerous other tuning aspects to achieve the look and feel you want.
- Crop – For resizing or cropping the image.
- Perspective – Great for correcting minor camera tilt issues.
- Healing – Use this tool to remove unwanted objects from the frame, such as light switches, power outlets or reflections in mirrors.
- Lens Blur – Allows you to change the focal point of the image by keeping a selected area in focus and blurring the rest.
- Text – Add overlay text to your images from a menu of text options.
- Filters - You can create and save your own custom filters.
Check out this complete guide to using Snapseed to edit your iPhone and Android photos from the iPhone Photography School.
Happy snapping and we can't wait to see your photos!