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Product Photography Hack | Peter McKinnon On Using IKEA Showrooms For Product Stages

By Justin Heyes on June 16th 2017

Walking through IKEA can be quite daunting if you have never done so. A simple trip to pick up a lamp or end table can turn to a 3-hour trek as the store ushers you from showroom to showroom in a maze-like configuration as you gawk at their Swedish wares.

Now, IKEA can be a treasure trove of DIY photography gear. We have talked in the past about various hacks using Swedish’s finest goods; hacks such as using a pleated paper shade as a softbox, a salad bowl as a beauty dish, or using an $8 table for product shots, but what about using the store itself as a hack?

In his daily vlog, Peter McKinnon usually talks about his daily adventures between tutorials and cinema tricks. In his latest one about setting up a live event and exhibition, McKinnon reveals a little not too well know secret, using the pre-made “sets” at the furniture store for product photography.

The setup couldn’t be simpler, set up the item you want to photograph, take a few shots and continue about your day. It goes without saying, if you spend a little too long lingering in a particular area you might get questioned by an employee about what you are doing. The legalities of all of this, if images are used for commercial works may be a bit murky, so you may want to consider that.

Not everyone has access to a huge studio, or even access to rent one under a small budget, but if you need a few shot for a blog or a portfolio this “trick” could be a perfect solution. It’s clever, you can’t argue that.




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Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. lee christiansen

    I want to do some sports car photography.  I don’t have access to any nice cars, so I’m off to the Ferrari showroom, and if I’m quick no one will notice my photo shoot…

    Seriously…?  Apart from the lack of decent lighting, tripod, time etc, should we not be considering the ethics of this suggestion.

    There is a belief among some photographers that everything is justified if we only do it to a large corporation.  I don’t remember Ikea signing up for this and it is what gets photographers a bad name.  No wonder we’re stopped at every corner if we turn up with a big camera or a professional lens.

    SLR Lounge… are we really getting low brow suggestions like this in the future?  Are things really OK as long as we don’t get caught?

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