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How to Photograph Board Games

Updated on December 13, 2014
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.

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Most of us have played board games at some time or another. Some of us still do on a regular basis. I for one play chess quite frequently, although most of the time it's on a computer.

Photography can bring many of these games into a different perspective. Board games such as Monopoly, chess, checkers and many more can make great photographs in the hands of a creatively minded photographer.

The images should be done in extreme close ups or as close as your equipment permits, to render pieces that appear to be larger than life. Chess pieces are especially suited for close ups, even macros.

Monopoly is another board game whose pieces are also well suited to be rendered in close ups. The best images should be recorded at eye level, thus offering an audience a new perspective on the entire game since most of us just look at board games from above.

As far as technical aspect of this shoot, remember that most pieces are either plastic, wood or metal and these materials reflect light quite easily, especially pieces such as the ones found in games like Monopoly, therefore the best alternative is to use light sources that are diffused and use a tripod to avoid any movement that can cause blur in the images.

Another way to photograph board game pieces is to record their images separately or in other words one piece at a time, at eye level and against a dark background. Again, try to make the pieces seem to be larger than life. Also record images of the actual board itself and with some of the pieces on it.

Include images of people interacting with the pieces such as a close up of a hand which is holding a game piece.

Virtually any board game is a suitable subject. So long as the images can be photographed creatively and with an artists flair.

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Many of these images are very suited to be submitted to photographic stock house as they are always in the look out for new images and those that are creatively represented and offer a new view of looking at things.

Some poster publishers and greeting card companies can use many of the images in their products. I have seen several samples of both mediums where the pieces of various board games are used to establish a message.

There are occasions where good images can be used as part of an office's décor and many can also be used in marketing plans such as an image of a chess piece with the accompanying words " Plan your next move with us" which can fit well into a bank's marketing message or an image of other game pieces with the message "Don't play games with your future" which is a good message that can be used by many insurance companies.

Try to use subjects that are intricate in their construction, brightly painted and if possible, unusual. However, don't overlook any samples that are simple such as wood pieces.

Sometimes simplicity is the best option and a clean easy to look at design is often very appealing because of its simplicity.

Their images can be rendered especially well if done in black and white film or made into monochrome with the aid of a digital editing software program.

Have fun with this project and practice your photography. Look at the project as another fun way of perfecting your techniques and amusing your friends, yet do so to the best of your abilities.

Anytime that you decide on photographing any subject you should do it as good as you can and always aiming to be technically perfect so that your images reflect your efforts.

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© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Keennan: Thanks and welcome

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Just passing through to say hi. I just joined and so far I'm so impressed with the site. Thank you.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      8 years ago from Miami, Florida

      keychange: Thank you. As far as the legality, most images can be used so long as they are being used in a comparison, critique, analysis, education or review. As far as the Monopoly Game, the same applies. What can never be done is to use, lets say the Monopoly game, pieces etc for a similar game or purpose to that of the original owner.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      good article do you have any comment on the legality of using say the monopoly pieces in an image published on a web site?

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      8 years ago from Miami, Florida

      randomcreative: Thank you, it can be quite a lot of fun to photograph these game pieces and kids can join in by selecting those that they like the best

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      8 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great photography subject idea! One of the best parts about playing board games is handling the neat game pieces. Why not take the opportunity to photograph them?

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      8 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Lynn; That's a great idea and you are right, almost anything can be done in a computer. I remember how I enjoyed playing chess my my kids and how they really loved handling the pieces.

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      8 years ago

      oooooo This is a wonderful idea and I can think of incorporating this in a scrapbook page. Also great to preserve as it seems the real thing may be going by the wayside.


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