How to take great photos of your 3D printed items!

How to take great photos of your 3D printed items!

Whether it’s 3D printing a design that you created or one designed by someone else, you spend time making your prints great. We’ve put together some quick and easy tips to help you take high-quality photos of your Prints to really show off all of that hard work!


Product photo cactus


1. Clean up your Print!

The first step in taking a great photo of your 3D print starts before you even pick up a camera. Remove any extra material that the printer leaves hanging around if it’s a new print (nail files are a great, inexpensive tool to use for this). If it’s an older print, then make sure to wipe it down to remove any dirt or dust that may have made it’s way onto your Print.


2. Don’t Get Caught Up in Your Camera

You don’t need to go out and buy an $800 camera to get great photographs of your Prints. True, more expensive cameras may have more settings and higher resolutions to help your photos turn out great. On the other hand, if you don’t know how to use those settings and don’t have the time to experiment and learn how to use them, then they can be overwhelming and actually make your photos turn out poorly. If you’re used to and comfortable taking photographs with your iPhone, then that’s enough to get you great quality Print photos.


3. Use a Tripod

Even the steadiest of hands can have trouble holding the camera completely still during a shot, which can leave the photo of your Print looking blurry (especially with a slower shutter speed). This is where the tripod comes in. A tripod will hold your camera still so that you can get the clearest shot possible. 


Tripod Mount


Don’t have a tripod? You can find cheap tripods online or you can skip the tripod all together and mount your camera on a sturdy, smooth surface instead. We suggest a stack of books – sturdy, smooth and the height of the stack can be manipulated to achieve your optimal height for each photograph.


4. Lighting is Important

Great lighting will illuminate the details of your Print and help to get the clearest photo possible. The goal is to get lighting as soft and evenly distributed as possible.

Natural light is a great tool in accomplishing this. Set up your shot by a window, where there is a lot of natural light coming in. If the lighting seems harsh, then try hanging a sheer curtain or using thin paper to soften it.


Photo by Tanya Wiesner

Photo by Tanya Wiesner


If you can’t find natural light (or usually photograph your Prints at night), then you can achieve the same effect with a desktop lamp. As with natural light, if the artificial lighting is too harsh, then you can filter it through a piece of paper or a sheet to soften it (just make sure that the fabric or paper is not directly on the light – those get hot and fabric/paper can be flammable) or through a light box, like the one that we use at Pinshape.


Lighting through light box


5.Get a Great Background

You don’t want a lot of distractions in your photograph, which makes a white background the perfect, distraction free backdrop for your Print photos. The easiest way to achieve a clean, distraction-free background is to either: 1. Use a light box or 2. Create a continuous white background very easily at home.


Photo by Daniel Moos

Photo by Daniel Moos


For your white background, use a large sheet or roll of craft paper. If your product is on the larger side, then you can try a piece of poster board or a white sheet.

To set up your background:

  1. First, decide if you want a continuous background or a creased background.
  2. Set your white paper on a flat surface (kitchen and dining room tables work well for this).
  3. Use clothing pins (or another type of clamp) to attach the top two corners of the paper to something a few feet above the table. This setup should look like a ramp.
  4. Rest your make on the paper right after it touches the table.

Note: If you’re Print is printed in a white or transparent filament or resin, then try a gray or dark background.


light object on dark background

Photo by Gvrocksnow.


Outdoor product shots can also be great if they tie in with the theme of the design! Just make sure that they aren’t too busy, so that they won’t detract from the printed item.


Photo by Mao.

Photo by Mao.


Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to take those photographs!


6.Document Different Views of Your Print

People want to see your 3D print – why not show them all of it? Take photos of your Print from a couple of different angles – top, side, front on, back and bottom – to let them get a full picture of the design. This will help them to decide if they want to download and print the item themselves.

 Great Wall Angles


7. Tell People About Your Print

All great photos need great captions, so don’t forget to describe how you printed your object and what settings you used along with any descriptive product information or printing advice you think is relevant!


Can’t wait to see the Prints photos you upload!




Pinshape is a 3D printing community and marketplace where makers from all over the world can find and share their next great 3D print and help each other get the best results from their 3D printers.

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