Expert Guitar Photography
For Guitarists by a Guitarist
Before becoming a photographer I was a professional guitar player and tutor. So, I understand the connection a musician has with their instrument. Whether a guitar is brand new or vintage, it is an extension of the player and a very personal choice for self-expression. The bumps and marks accumulated over the years can be very upsetting when they first happen, but become part of the story of the life of the instrument and of your journey as a musician. So, I like to remain faithful to the character of working guitars, while also creating beautiful images. My guitar photography can be used to help sell instruments, for personal mementos, for collectors celebrating their collection and more. The images on this page illustrate some of the art I have been privileged to create using guitars.
By combining my two passions of guitars and photography, I managed to qualify as a Fellow in product photography with a panel of pictures of guitars. There are only a handful of Fellows of the SICIP worldwide, so this was a real honour. But, I didn’t want to stop there and have continued to develop as a guitar photographer, creating images of guitars with carefully crafted lighting to show off their shape and finish. I look for creative angles, details to highlight and anything that helps bring out the character of the instrument.
PRS Electric Guitars
PRS Guitars (Paul Reed Smith Guitars) are one of several excellent manufacturers based in the US. The bird inlays on the fretboard have become an iconic and easily recognisable part of their design. Here we have 3 different finishes: sandblasted grain painted green, purple tiger maple and the dark blue Chris Robertson signature model.
Fender are one of the few brands known worldwide even to those who don’t play guitar. The Stratocaster has been one of the most popular guitars and many have been influenced by its design when creating their own. Vintage Fenders can be very valuable and the wear and tear becomes an important part of the patina telling the guitar’s story.
Yamaha Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Yamaha make a range of acoustic and electric instruments. Here we have a selection including a vintage 1966 SG-5 (one of the original “Flying Samurai” guitars), a 2000 Pacifica 821D and an electro-acoustic APX-7A. I like to include a range of close-up shots of various distinctive features as well as broader shots of the instrument as a whole.
I have photographed an Ibanez Universe black 7-String (Steve Vai signature model) and won a merit award for the vertical image in The Societies of Photographers 20×16 international print competition 2023. The square monochrome close up image also won a Gold in the June 2023 monochrome category of The Societies’ monthly competition. The JEM 7V images were created using CGI software (Blender) so are renders rather than photos. I modelled the JEM as part of a personal project to challenge myself. Finally, you can also see featured an Ibanez RG450 on a purple background.
Gibson is another one of those iconic brands that have been around for many years. This Cherry Red Gibson Les Paul looks great on its own and paired with another classic rock giant – Marshall amplifiers.
Red Ephiphone Semi-Hollow body guitar with “f” holes.
BC Rich are known for their unorthodox body shapes. This particular model is a 10-string guitar with a spalted maple finish.
Custom-Built Instruments & Other Brands
I also photograph a range of other brands as well as custom-built instruments. The lighting is tailored to bring out distinctive features, such as the shape and other details.
Bass Guitar Photography
In addition to both electric and acoustic guitars, I also photograph bass guitars. The one with the wooden finish below is a 5-String bass that was handmade by a friend’s father. The 4-string acoustic bass is a Washburn.
All Images © Joe Lenton 2021-23 All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.
Guitar Photography for Collectors & Retail
Whether you are a collector looking for some high quality pictures of guitars, a musical instrument retailer, a luthier making custom instruments, a professional musician needing promotional pictures or just a fan of music I would be happy to hear from you and chat about how I might be able to help.