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How to Photograph Furniture - Logistics, Prep and Execution

Photographing furniture for eCommerce and online retail calls for high-quality, dynamic visuals that can meet the expectations of today’s consumers.

The Complete Guide to Furniture Photography with PhotoRobot

There’s few items more difficult to sell online than furniture. Your product images have to give online shoppers a real feel for the product, from aesthetics to weight and dimensions. To do this, brands and retailers often employ professional photography studios to create dynamic and visually-rich product content. 

You need a proper support team, the right equipment, and a strategy. Then, any piece of furniture becomes the ideal subject for engaging product photography, from stills to spins & 3D images. Also considerations, there are the location and logistics necessary to photograph furniture, but this is where PhotoRobot comes into play.

Both the Turning_Platform and the Carousel are designed to take up minimal space in a studio or warehouse. These robots can handle high-volume, high-output photoshoots of medium to large, heavy objects like furniture, machinery and even automobiles.

The Turning_Platform has a plate diameter of up to 280 cm (9.2 feet). Meanwhile, its larger counterpart, the Carousel is available for manufacture with two different plate sizes. The standard platform size for the Carousel is 5,000 mm (16.4 feet). For a smaller platform, it can be built with a 3,000 mm plate.

Together with PhotoRobot software, teams can automate processes, control robots, lighting & cameras, streamline workflows, and manage digital assets. Whether it’s photographing chairs, sofas or a full set of furniture, read on to get a better idea of the process. Here’s our guide on how to photograph furniture, including logistics, prep, and execution.

Preparing the location and the furniture

The first consideration is always location. You need available space for the photoshoot. Some have their own photo studio, while others might use a warehouse or showroom floor. All that’s needed is space for a larger turntable and room around it for the lighting and photographers.

Certainly, it’s possible to hire out a studio to do the work for you. However, the logistics involved and the burden of moving furniture long distances can accrue costly shipping charges. Instead, some choose to invest in their own equipment and bring in or train a support team.

Let’s look closer at the latter, and the logistics involved when working with PhotoRobot out of your own space.

Armchair and footstool on larger photographer turntable.

Working on-location with PhotoRobot

Depending on the size of the furniture you need to photograph, there are two options in photography robots. One, the Turning_Platform, is perfect for large and/or heavy objects. The second, the Carousel_5000, is for even heavier furniture and larger pieces or sets.

Both come equipped with an extensive range of accessories. The goal was to ensure that you can use a single device for the widest possible selection of products. Each is suitable for items small and large, light or heavy, for small online stores to industrial photography warehouses.

When set up on-location, the primary concern becomes logistics. Obviously, the closer the furniture is to the photoshoot, the better. However, if shipping or when transporting items, be sure to take precautionary measures to protect the products. Any damage, scratches or dirt can at the least cost you valuable hours in post-processing, or worse, ruin product photos.

Other areas to account for include time for assembly, styling products, and prepping the scene. These can be especially important when photographing numerous items over a single day. Support teams need to plan for the most optimal workflows and agree on how to achieve them.

Close-up of hardware mechanical components.

Choosing the photography equipment

After shipping, transportation, and assembly, the photography process can begin. However, unlike with smaller objects, you’ll need special pieces of equipment for 360-degree photography of furniture.

Enter PhotoRobot’s turntable solutions: the Turning_Platform and the Carousel_5000. The Turning_Platform supports 1500 kg (3307 lb) with a plate diameter of 280 cm (9,2 ft). Its companion, the Carousel_5000 is even larger, supporting 4,000 kg with a plate diameter of up to 5 meters. Between these two robots, it’s possible to photograph chairs or full-size sofas, larger pieces, entire furniture sets and sectionals.

As for taking photos, you’ll need PhotoRobot supported cameras, such as high-end DSLR and mirrorless Canon models. For lighting, compatible lights include two types of lights: strobes from FOMEI and Broncolor, or any LED lights with DMX support.

Photo equipment: camera and light.

Capturing the perfect product photos

When photographing furniture for online presentation, you’ll want straight-on, well-centered product photos. Furniture doesn’t call for any creative angles. Instead, we’ll aim for the same composition in every angle.

For larger items, use a wide-angle lens to keep products in the center of photos. With smaller items, use a macro lens for closer focusing distances. 

Now, for image composition, every item you photograph will differ in some way or another. Be sure to give each product its own styling, lighting, and arrangement.

Image of armchair on rotating platform.

1. How to style products

With 360-degree photography, your products will need to be prepped, cleaned and styled for photos from every angle. From the front to the sides and back of the piece, stylists must afford extra care. They need to ensure products are pristine, blemish-free, and ready for photos.

This means steam cleaning, removing wrinkles, and polishing any wood or reflective surfaces. You’ll want products to look in perfect condition to save time when it comes to post-processing the photos. Try your best to remove any specs of dirt or dust, wrinkles, or blemishes.

Photo of light-colored sofa with pillows.

2. Lighting the products

Next, the lighting setup will be essential to producing quality spin photography. Often with furniture, you want to use large, soft lights for consistent illumination as the product rotates. This will ensure colors come out as close to true-to-life in photos as possible.

Other times, pieces of furniture might look better with “harder” lighting, which can emphasize contours and dimensions. This type of lighting also allows for more “moody” photos, creating an impression to elicit an emotional response from consumers.

Close-up of lighting controls.

3. Product arrangement

Finally, consider what makes the most sense visually for your online shoppers. They’ll not only want to get an idea of what entire sets of furniture look like. It’s also important they can inspect pieces individually, zoom into ascetic details, and get that real feel for what you’re selling.

To do this, it’s often best to provide still images of entire sets, whereas individual items get 360 spins. This way shoppers can see both the entire collection, and then select other pieces to examine closer in 360-degrees.

When arranging a collection, how you do so will vary depending on the set. Is it a living room or a dining room set? Show the entire collection together so consumers can envision the entire set in their homes. Then, capture each piece like chairs or sofas and tables separately in interactive, 360-degree spins. Consumers will appreciate being able to inspect each part individually and in detail as well as in the complete collection.

Productive furniture product photography with PhotoRobot

Effective furniture product photography revolves around many moving parts in the studio. It requires time, energy, equipment and experts. That’s not to mention the space necessary for operations, as well as effective logistics and planning. At PhotoRobot, we aim to not only simplify but optimize all of your product photography production, from prep to execution. Whether it’s how to photograph furniture, household appliances or items small and large, contact PhotoRobot to learn how we can help.