Tips For Perfect Painted Furniture Photos

May 17, 2022 | Photography | 4 comments

Let’s pretend your a furniture painter. You’ve rescued a gorgeous piece from the side of the road. Hours of love and labor have been poured into it. The thing looks like a million bucks! It’s priced, measured and ready for a new owner.

So how do you go about securing a buyer?

The number one trick is with amazing painted furniture photos! A well-staged, well-photographed image of your work is a HUGE part of the battle of finding and securing a buyer. Not only that, quality images make your social media feeds look professional and show off your amazing skills. They’ll attract future customers and get your work seen and shared on Pinterest.

Today, I’m sharing my top tips for getting the perfect photo of your painted furniture so you can reap all of the benefits of your hard work!

antique dresser in typewriter milk paint, jennifer baker creative, eight hundred furniture

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

Use a Tripod

A tripod is a MUST HAVE whether you’re using your smart phone or a DSLR camera. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but if you take pictures on a regular basis, you’re better off investing in a quality model. I love this one, myself. I actually have 2 of them – one for QVC airings, and one for photography. (You can see a bit of mine in the reflection of this mirror!)

antique towel bar, grain sack milk paint, jennifer baker creative, eight hundred furniture

Using a tripod greatly reduces camera shake. When you’re shooting in low light situations or you’re using a slow shutter speed, you risk getting a blurry photo of your painted furniture because your hands are shaking. The human hand can only hold a DSLR camera still at about 1/60 shutter speed. Anything slower and your photo will be blurry.

Now that’s not necessarily the case with a smart phone, but I have other reasons why you might want to use one. I’ll go into those soon!

Tripods help you line up your shot and make sure your furniture images are level. They also help you shoot at lower shutter speeds and ISO’s so you can get bright images even if the room is dark. I did this A LOT when we lived in the in-law suite. The family room where I took my pictures was always dark, so a tripod helped me get bright images no matter the light.

Use a Remote Shutter Button

Along with a tripod, using a remote shutter button is a great way to reduce camera shake and get super crisp photos of your furniture. It’s literally a remote with a button that you aim at your camera (or phone) and it activates the shutter button. It allows you to take a picture without actually having to touch the camera. This reduces camera shake and prevents you from moving the camera accidentally while you’re shooting.

With a tripod and remote, you can leave your camera in the same position as you make adjustments to your props too! You can tweak to your heart’s content without worrying about lining up your shot again. I do that a lot for overhead shots like this one!

washstand with graystone water based wood stain, general finishes, layla's mint, miss mustard seed's milk paint, jennifer baker creative, eight hundred furniture

Use the Grid in Your Viewfinder

This is an AMAZING way to get images of your painted furniture that are square and straight! Most cameras have some sort of grid, level or box that will help you line up the edges of your furniture for a straight shot.

If you’re using your phone, iPhones have a box that appears in portrait mode. You can use the edges of the box to ensure your dressers, buffets and nightstands are all in line and level.

Lightroom Mobile has a grid that you can pull up with a built-in level. You can decide what kind of grid you’d like, depending on what you’re shooting. They have a 3 x 3 to help you with the rule of thirds too!

In a DSLR camera, you can read your manual to see how to display your grid. I leave mine on all the time to make sure my pictures are as straight as possible in the camera when I take them. You can always edit this later, but the more you get right when you’re shooting, the less you’ll have to edit later!

Set a Custom White Balance

Showing the color of your painted furniture accurately is critical for a happy customer. The last thing you want is for them to see the color in a photo and have it look completely different in real life! A lot of times, this gets distorted because of the temperature of the light in the room where you’re photographing.

When I first started out in furniture painting, I didn’t understand this concept at all. I just didn’t know about it, so I never paid attention to it.

Here’s a really good example of a picture I took right at the beginning of my career. The focus isn’t really crisp, the bench is cocked at a weird angle, the image isn’t really all that straight, it’s awkwardly staged and the light is uneven.

Here’s another example of how the light played a role in the final image. This dresser was painted in Aviary by Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. In this photo, Aviary looks a bit Periwinkle. It’s not this blue in real life, and towards the bottom of the dresser, there’s almost a reddish purple thing going on. That’s because of the floors in the room where this photo was taken. In real life, this dresser wasn’t quite this color.

antique eastlake dresser, aviary milk paint, miss mustard seed's milk paint, jennifer baker creative, eight hundred furniture

To make sure the color of your piece is accurately represented, you need to set a custom white balance in your camera using something called a “gray card”. If you’re using a DSLR, this is something you can do in the White Balance section of your menu. If you’re a smartphone user, you’ll need Lightroom Mobile for this trick.

To see how to do it in a DSLR, check out my Instagram Highlight Reel on Photography. It’s a few slides in when I start talking about Replica Surfaces.

Here’s how to do it on a smartphone using Lightroom Mobile!

Your customers will thank you for taking the time to get the color of your painted furniture just right!

Antique dresser painted in Artissimo by Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint and sealed with Hemp Oil by Eight Hundred Furniture

I hope these tips for getting the perfect photo of your painted furniture were helpful. If so, leave a comment below and tell me which one was your favorite!

tips for perfect painted furniture pictures, jennifer baker creative, eight hundred furniture

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I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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