Shooting Furniture As A Still Life Set Up

Product photography definitely has its place in the world. Despite its unexciting nature, it is a clear way to show off a piece of furniture or soft furnishings. However, visually it does have its limitations.

Here are some examples of my previous pack-shots and whilst they are a clear and clean document of the product, they don’t really stir an excitement in the viewer.

In fact my preferred approach to product photography is no different to how I approach a regular interior or a still life shoot. The pack shot is a necessity to the website, but we want to offer the aspirational lifestyle we all desire to achieve in our own homes. If you sell from a shop, let’s utilise the shop as the location for a life-style / product shoot. The chances are, when selling luxury homeware items, you’re probably sell them from a luxury interior design oasis. So why not use that to your advantage?

Here are some examples from a beautiful, luxury interior design and furniture shop called Decorum Est on the King’s Road. The Key is to create interest with styling, like in any interior shoot, mostly or solely with only items you sell in store.

So what if you want to display a product that has many similar versions of itself?

When producing still life images for furniture I try to maintain consistency throughout the consecutive shots to enable an attractive, clean and uniform look, perfect on a website or in a brochure. While collectively the images sit handsomely on a page to display a product, it’s important that each individual image is strong enough to sit on its own. 

What’s great about shooting this way is they can be promoted as a set or independently of each other. You’ll have a selection of images great for little postcards, or if you want to use them on Instagram/Facebook, for blogging/LinkedIn or for the monthly newsletter. We all know how important it is to have plenty of content for social media and this way of shooting is perfect for that usage too. In the current day of reels, creating a video with still life images can be a catchy way to grab the attention of your customers and a nice way to avoid filming a product, yet still keep up with the ever changing social media platforms.

These images below are a few of Casa Botelho’s martini tables. His branding is ‘Masculine Glamour’, so the styling of the shoot had to emulate the mantra of the brand. They look great on his website and social medias and this format really helps to show off his slick furniture pieces in style. With so many variations of the same martini table, it seemed logical to create a series of different still-life set ups where each table can be shot quickly and efficiently in situ to save time and get the most of the photography day. All the images nicely line up and would make a fantastic flick book of all the different tables in the same scene, perfect for a reels post. whilst still maintaining its gravity as single product. If you remind yourself of the first set of pack shots I displayed at the top of this article you can imagine the same reels post flicking from table to table would suddenly make the pack shots much more captivating in social media world.

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As a creative in the industry it’s important for me to not only be a photographer, but to be considerate of the branding process, to think the about the final look of your product and the over all feel of your company. This starts with our conversation about your business and your branding, which threads through the shoot and the styling of your product.

Lighting is incredibly important and whilst it looks like some of the images above are shot in a room with natural daylight, the truth is all my shots have been balanced with studio lighting. Having complete control of light and how it hits an object is integral to shooting well in any product photography situation.

Now we have shot all your beautiful products in the shop or at a location home, the next decision is the overall look and feel we want to promote. This will link all the products together in a pleasing manner without using the same dull pack shot back drop.

The post production is key in this final stage, tying all the elements together and delivering coherency in colour, look and feel of your website and social medias. Whether you want to pack a punch with your imagery, or present a soft airy light finish, this is the bookend to the integrity of the whole creative process. Photography is so much more than just taking a picture; photography is thinking about the whole picture, and looking at bigger picture of how it contributes to your business in current times.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article and I hope it has been a useful insight to how I approach product / commercial photography.


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