Furniture Photography: Table and Chairs

Learn how to light high-end furniture like a pro.

In this easy-to-follow product photography class, you’ll discover Karl’s strategy for lighting and shooting a beautiful elm-and-resin table custom-built for a high-end local restaurant, along with three high stools that accompany it.

Capturing all the different facets and textures of a piece like this is no easy task. As you follow Karl step-by-step through the shoot, you’ll pick up a range of useful tips and techniques to help you improve your own furniture photography.

The height of the table, along with its highly reflective surface, present some interesting challenges. Find out how Karl brings out the detail of the grain while avoiding specular highlights.

Watch this class to discover exactly how – by shooting tethered and using several different lights, each carefully positioned and adjusted – Karl achieves the fabulous final image.

In this class:

  • Lighting techniques for furniture photography
  • Shooting tethered
  • Separating ‘hero’ from ‘supporting cast’
  • Angles of incidence and reflection
  • Using a P70 standard reflector
  • Softbox lighting techniques
  • Using Keystone Correction to alter perspective

If you enjoy this class, check out Photographing Furniture and Angles of Incidence and Reflection.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.

© Karl Taylor



    Why didn’t you use a 7 foot scrim to uniformly light up this table with a big soft box on top instead of lighting up the ceiling?

    1. Before I answer that question and to check you are learning I’d like you to answer why you wouldn’t use a large white ceiling or why would you choose a 7ft long scrim instead?

  2. Hi Karl, enjoyed the shoot it was very detailed and the steps you took to get the final image was definitely informative. I have a couple of questions though.
    1) why do you not use a meter to get the light reading as I feel this would have took a lot of guess work out?
    2) could stripboxes have been in place of the lower lights (especially in the front)?
    3) for those of us that do not have the height to have a false ceiling what other technique could have been used? I was thinking a couple of strip light boxes on booms side by side or a very large rectangle lightbox if possible.
    4) could a large overhead scrim been used and shoot through it vs bouncing the light or would that have given a hot spot?

    Thanks and wishing you and your crew a very nice holidays.

    Jon Miller

    1. Hi Jon, thanks
      1. I find a light meter tends to influence photographers as to what they ‘should’ do rather than what they could do. I prefer to judge everything on how it looks and not on how it measures. You will see me cover this in many classes and examples.
      2. You would have to give me the time in the video where you mean for me to check
      3. Everyone has a ceiling in a studio and it should be white so the technique of bouncing light around the studio from the ceiling or walls would be similar. The difference between that and direct lighting is the inverse square law which needs to be properly understood in order to benefit from shadow density. Check this class:
      4. Yes it could but it depends on the height and the size of the scrim. The physics at work relate again to my answer in question 3. Light follows very strict rules that can’t be broken and any variable will result in a slight difference, however it is possible to come very close to certain looks in different ways as long as you fully understand the physics, shadow density, angles of reflection etc.

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