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How to photograph pottery

Photograph pottery ceramics oil burner Last week we were very lucky to have a friend of ours come over to photograph our ceramic pieces. Sam is a professional photographer, owner of Farlap Photography and one of the leading canine and fieldsports photographers in the country. To my surprise she didn’t sound overjoyed when I asked her to photograph pottery but I think she enjoyed it in the end :-). After all, photographing pottery in a warm dry room is a lot simpler and more pleasant, in my humble amateurish opinion, (though perhaps not as rewarding) than sitting in a windy muddy field waiting for a horse to jump over a ditch. Pottery doesn’t move or blink or indeed do anything. It just sits there – nice and simple.

How to photograph pottery ceramicsHow to photograph pottery – what’s required

I didn’t really have a clue as to what would be needed to photograph pottery. Most of the photographs we have on our website came from our suppliers and some (the not very good ones…) I took on my mobile. I probably shouldn’t have done that but I wanted to show our pottery goods off to the world so much, that I did. But there were still quite a few ceramic pieces of which we had no photos.

Tealight holder elephantAs it turned out, to photograph pottery was the easiest thing in the world. Of course, having an expert to hand helped 🙂 All I needed to provide was the pottery, a room and a pair of nimble hands to place the pottery pieces in front of the camera. Then there were all the professional thingies that Sam brought. A veeery expensive camera, which I veeery reluctantly carried upstairs. A sheet of white backing paper. And two lights. That was the clever bit. I was expecting two huge glaring lights but these were hidden behind sort of screens and wirelessly connected to a sensor on the camera. (If you understand these things, you are probably thinking I am a right simpleton :-)) Anyway, it was all very new to me. It took us about twenty minutes to set up and get the lighting right and then we were ready to go.

Tealight holder carved flowersAll set up – let’s do it

We had about 500 pieces of pottery to get through! Getting the lighting set up was the trickiest part of the process. Once that was done, it was just about choosing the right angle to photograph each piece. We took a couple of photographs of each piece, focusing at different aspects every time.  With our candle ceramics, the oil burners and the tealight holders, we took one photo with a burning candle and one without. Some of those photographs with the lit tealights have turned out really lovely, throwing pretty shadows around them and looking stunning.

Ceramic sugar pot flowersThe most unpleasant part must have been the flashes. Every time a picture was taken, the two lights would flash quite brightly. It might sound odd but all that flashing (:-)) made me very tired and thirsty. Good job I’m not an epileptic!

All in all, it was a very pleasant experience and the whole job was over in about two hours. Now all that remains is to put those 500 new photos on our website! I don’t expect I will do that in two hours 🙂 So please be patient with me and come back often to see what’s new.