How to Take Good Drum Photos

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How to Take Drum Product Photos

When you build your very own custom drum or drum set you’ll want to take some great product photos to show off your work to everyone you know. In the past I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing photographers who have shot some promo pictures of drums that I’ve built, one of them being Chad Zellner. I recently emailed Chad and asked him to answer a few questions about taking drum product photos. Here is what he had to say:

MD (Makedrums): Can you tell me about your process when you take product photos…specifically drums.

Draw Attention to the Drums

Chad: Product photography is all about lighting and drawing attention to the product or specific area of the product. I always do multiple off camera lights to give depth to the photo and give it much better color than direct lighting. Direct lighting (or built in flash) is a huge no no.

MD: I know you’re a professional photographer and have great gear, so can I ever expect to turn out pro looking pictures with my Cannon Power Shot camera? How?

Getting Great Results On a Budget

Chad: Absolutely. Many pro photographers get great looks due to their gear and post processing in Photoshop or some other program. But if you just want a good clear picture then you don’t have to have a $3000 camera. One piece of advise if you plan on doing your own product shots far into the future is to learn basic camera functions. Most cameras have a manual mode that let you control shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Read online or in your camera’s user manual to see how to change these functions and what they do. It may take you a little while to understand it but it’s camera 101 and will definitely help you out in the long run. Avoid auto settings if you can.

MD: What if I wanted to take a picture and have everything white except the drum set? Like this one:

How would an amateur photographer achieve this look without spending tons on lighting and backdrops?

Chad: If you want this ”infinity” look there are a few different ways to get it. If you have the lighting equipment you can get this look very easily with a few white sheets. But if you don’t have lighting but do have photo editing software you could spend the time to cut out around each piece. Other than that you might be better off hiring this one out for a good quality shot.

MD: Do you know of any free photo editing software that you could recommend?

Free Photo Editing Software For Drum Pictures

Chad: Although I’ve never used anything but Adobe Photoshop, I have heard good things about GIMP. Don’t hold me to it but it’s the only free software I have heard of that is decent.

You can check out Chad’s Photography at

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