Photographing your DIY Project: What to Shoot

porch-roof-debris-chute-built-for-bathroom-demolition-stonehavenlife To wrap up this series on photographing your DIY projects, I’m just going to offer a few simple tips to think about on what to shoot when you’re taking on a new DIY project.

The main thing to remember is that you might not think you’ll need some of these pictures NOW, but if you never take them, the opportunity is lost.

In case you missed them – check out:

Subject Matter

The subject matter you shoot is obviously your call. If you’re doing a renovation, you should make a list of specific points in the process to make sure you don’t miss anything that will be covered by insulation, drywall, cabinetry, etc. As I wrote in the first article, I start by shooting before pictures and take progress photos regularly as the project progresses.

Some key pictures I find useful for reference include:

  • r28 ceiling insulation reference photoFraming/stud walls/rafters – these can be useful to determine nailing locations for trim or where to drive screws to install cabinets, towel bars, etc.
  • Plumbing & Electrical – Once the drywall is up you’ll never see this again so it’s good to know exactly where everything is and where it goes for future reference.
  • Insulation – the picture showing R-28 insulation in the mudroom ceiling will remove any doubt 15 or 20 years from now about what’s up there.
  • Unusual situations – almost every reno has them. A creative or unique solution to a situation that may be useful to remember for future reference or to share with other DIYers
  • For woodworking projects, showing milling operations, and assembly steps are key topics to photograph.

Reference Points

When documenting your reno, always try to include some reference points in the picture to orient the viewer. A picture of wiring between a couple of studs doesn’t tell you which two studs they are unless you can locate them within the room or building.

Frame your shot to include an identifiable window or door opening, a corner of the room or other feature. If you need a close up detail, use two pictures to tell the whole story.

close up - white vent provides referenceoverall room shot - white vent provides reference point     
For example: You want to show a wiring detail at a wall receptacle in the middle of a 20 foot stud wall. You could lean a short 2×4 against the wall next to the receptacle. Take a wide shot of the wall that shows the where the 2×4 is relative to a corner or identifiable feature. Include enough of the 2×4 in the close up that you can tell it’s the same by it’s angle or position. You could use a hammer, purse, jacket or whatever you want, as long as the relationship can be made between the two pictures. 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in taking "guerrilla" DIY reno pictures or photographing woodworking projects. And like anything else, the more pictures you take (and review afterwards), the better your DIY photography skills will get.

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