Behind the scenes at a photo shoot

Grandwood Furniture professional photoshoot of armchair

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at a photo shoot?

The video here shows you some of the preparation and creative thought processes required to produce stunning professional product photographs. Also covered are location arrangements and lightning and composition techniques. The inner workings of a shoot, if you like.

We provided creative direction for this one-day shoot with Sussex-based photographer Peter Langdown. It was important to build upon the client’s interior design skills, as the subject expert. As sellers of luxury handmade furniture, the products – sofas and armchairs – had to be captured in a thoughtful way to best show off their quality craftmanship.

‘In situ’ backgrounds were created with the clever use of walls, paintings, curtains and accessories so that the furniture looked like it was in a real home, and numerous lighting techniques were used to create the correct feel, lessening the need for any messing around in Photoshop later. Detail shots were taken to demonstrate each product’s features – quality of stitching, legs, arm shapes and so on.

It’s all about the detail

Many discussions were held in the weeks leading up to the shoot as to where best to hold the shoot. For logistical reasons we discounted customers’ private homes and local stately homes, though we did have a nearby private school ready to ‘borrow’ as a fall back. An outdoor shoot was simply too risky given the unpredictability of the British weather!

It’s important that the product is shown in its best possible light (excuse the pun). So we chose complementary accessories like cushions, throws and rugs carefully, ensured that the sofa or chair was clean and neat. Cushions were puffed and level, and the foreground and background tidied – electrical cables hidden, no unexpected reflections etc. Much like web design, it’s all about the detail.

We had 8 of us at the shoot, including invaluable helpers to move furniture around the showroom as we needed, hold lighting equipment and make tea and coffee. Even Maddy the German Shepherd helped out!

The result

After 10 hours we had hundreds of professional photos that can be used on the new website (coming soon), social media and print collateral. It’s a long day – and this was just a single location – but a very productive one when the planning and project management has been put in place first.

We’ll be releasing the new website soon so please check back here later (UPDATE – you can now see the site at In the meantime, here are a few smartphone snaps of the day in progress, and the behind the scenes video we promised. And of course, if you need a photo shoot for a website then do get in touch – it’s no secret that professional photography really does make a difference to a website.

Grandwood Furniture professional photoshoot