Photographing design work

Tips for photographing your design work

As a designer I know and appreciate good work presentation and when you are creating your portfolio for job interviews it is even more essential to show the quality of your work via great photographs.

I have come up with a few tips that I have learned so far over the years.


If you don’t have access to a professional photography studio the best tip would be to use natural light. Look at the sun and try to plan your shoot when the sun is directly above you usually about 2/3pm. If you live somewhere where the natural light is unpredictable such as the UK you can experiment with desk lamps. You will need at least two to balance each other out and not cause unwanted shadows. A desk lame that has a flexible neck is useful for angling the light. Replace the bulbs with daylight bulbs to try and recreate the effect of natural light.


The best background would be a plain white piece of paper or card that is much larger than anything you are photographing. Having a background allows you to reduce the shadows as well as to highlight your design products. I would recommend using at least an A2 size for business cards. It just ensures that your images are completely your work with a white background. 


A SLR camera would be ideal as it allows you to play with the settings such as white balance but if you don’t have access to one or don’t understand how to use one, using your standard digital camera will be sufficient. The camera available today have as high pixel ratings and will still capture a great image. Even your smart phone if you have nothing else will ensure you get decent quality size image.


Once you have set up your mini studio you can experiment with some images. I would advise using one element of design at a time as a first point of call so for example if you have done branding stationary for a company such as business cards and letterheads first take some images of your business cards. 

Use Angles – place your design work at angles to enhance your work. Perspective is great for representing design work and finding a focus point

Do close ups – this allows viewers to see detail in your typography, colour and background details 

Do at least one birds eye shot – do one shot that captures your whole work from the top i.e. birds eye view

Take lots of pictures – the digital age lets you take endless photos so experiment with different compositions such as angles, perspectives and go click crazy!


Before taking any images have a look at how designers are taking photos and which elements you like. You can also make your pieces in situ meaning situating the design work in the situation it was designed for. For example; a recipe book in the kitchen. Be sure to still use lighting and good angles. 

I have set up a Pintrest Board with some examples to get you started :)



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