Photographing Wood

MAIN IDEA: When photographing wood, the idea is to make sure the lighting captures the lines, grain patterns in the wood.

On a recent project, I was asked to photograph some wood pieces selling at a local farmers market.  Later a website wrote an interesting post about wood and farmers markets and how they usually don’t jive together. But, as someone who frequents farmers markets because I enjoy them, I’m finding more and more woodworkers displaying their work at them.

Now back to the tip. If the wood piece has loose pieces be sure to photograph it moving the pieces in different positions.  Sometimes it’s not until you get home till you decide which picture truly captures the woodworker’s craft.



And don’t be afraid to photograph multiple pieces even if they are the same or similar.  For instance, my gun image was shot because that is how he had them displayed in his booth and I thought “cool! why not get it from that angle”. I did take one of the guns down and took several shots, but this one turned out the best in my opinion as it communicated a feeling that this guy knows how to make guns.

The box image was more about the grain pattern as I felt “a box is a box”. To be honest, I would like a do-over on this shot.

The chess piece was hard as it doesn’t have a finish on it. I tried to be creative and line up the black pieces behind it and blur them out in order to make this piece pop. The owner loved it and actually used it in a brochure… so job well done!

Wood is really beautiful to photograph, but lighting does play a key. If you can move the piece out of the booth into natural lighting try to do that! I found there is not enough lighting and shadows really emerge from my flash. If it’s a busy farmers market then you have the crowds to contend with too and you don’t want to hinder your client’s sales.

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