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Taking Perfect Before and After Photos

May 10, 2021

Taking perfect before and after photos isn’t as difficult as some folks think. Here at Bar Keepers Friend, our favorite thing in the world is when dedicated fans send us their before and after photos or dramatic results from cleaning with our products. While most customers are not professional photographers, there are still sets of photos that stand out more than others. This has nothing to do with the item they cleaned or how they cleaned it, but simply how the photos work with each other.

Taking Perfect Before and After Photos

Good vs. “Bad” Photography

Photography, as is most art, completely subjective. Some people enjoy dark and ominous, while others live for the joy felt when seeing a bright and colorful photograph. We absolutely do not claim to be artists over here at BKF, but there is a relatively good way to present your before and after pictures. While dark and ominous styles make some awesome and dramatic artistic photography, it’s not so great for trying to showcase a cleaning job done well.


There are no specific lighting settings or locations you should take these photos. After all, this should be fun, right? Rules make it less-so.

But we have noticed over the years that the most recognizable sets of before and afters are the ones with natural light in BOTH photographs. You don’t want one super dark and the next to be extremely bright or edited (people may not believe it’s the same item).

The same or similar lighting across the board makes for a beautiful and clear set of photos.

Clarity & Background

Speaking of clear photos, the clarity and sharpness of your images is also important. Sending in blurry photos probably won’t get you mentioned in any National Geographics, but the same goes for BKF! We love all photos that are sent in, but clear and concise sets where you can confidently tell what the item is really show just how fantastic the results are.

A clear and not-so-busy background makes your items really jump out of the photo. Having a bunch of things behind the focal point takes the eyes away from what is supposed to be the focus of the image. A plain, solid color, or even an outdoor (grass, leaves, etc.) setting works great for this type of photography!


This one is something very few people think about because it is such a little thing, but the positioning of your items within the frame of your photo completely changes the impact your photos have. If one item is turned around while the other is front-facing, it could construe the image and make viewers think the image has been edited or items had been changed.

A great pro-tip for this would be to mark or tape on your table, floor, etc. (wherever you are placing your item) exactly how it was positioned so when it comes time to take that beautiful after photo, you get the same angles and position.

Another tip (if possible) would be to keep your phone or camera in the same position as well. It is extremely difficult to get everything absolutely perfect, especially when just “eye-balling” it. Prop your phone up, or use that nifty tripod you bought for your camera (that may or may not be still in the box – we won’t tell).

Cropping & Framing

Cropping an image can be a great thing, or it can be a pretty negative adjustment. If you wish to crop your before and after images, be sure the edits between both the before and after results are the same or similar. We also love to see the entire item, so please include the full image, and maybe attach some zoomed in or cropped photos in addition to the original.

There are a ton of editing apps and programs out there. We welcome fans to edit their own photos (short of falsifying results) but pay attention to these other factors when editing or framing your photos. If you want to send in your photos already attached to each other, that’s fine as well, but including a thick border or separation between the two is a bit distracting and can break up the images more than you think! A thin border, or no border at all is best.

Pro Tip: including the product you used while cleaning IN the actual image always adds a little extra spice.

Examples & Contest

Here are some really great examples of taking perfect before and after photos! We absolutely love showcasing our customers’ photos on our website and social media platforms. Take these tips home with you and be on the lookout for a photo contest coming up this week!

Cleaning with Kathy (Instagram)

Same background, great lighting, similar positioning, even the product is in the photo!

Copper and Gold Project (Instagram)

Solid color, simple background. Same positioning in both images, great lighting! Awesome results!

Brass Attics (Instagram)

Taking perfect before and after photos

Same positioning and placement. The background grass works because it’s the same in both! Natural lighting that looks fantastic! The first image is AWESOME showing both the before and after. The second image is just the icing on the cake!

Enter Our Before & After Contest

Taking perfect before and after photos is fun! Take these tips home with you, snap some photos and submit your photos using the form below.

If you’d like to receive information about Bar Keepers Friend products, cleaning tips, promotions, and giveaways, you can Sign Up Here. 

About the Author

Casey Pennell is a photographer, equestrian, coach, and Digital Marketing Coordinator at Bar Keepers Friend. She mentors high school Track & Field athletes at Bishop Chatard High School. Casey is passionate about all things animals and is more likely to be found outside than in her own house. She is the proud animal-mom to three dogs, three horses, a domestic fox, and a very cute, but useful barn cat. When not at work, Casey can be found exploring wineries and breweries with her family, friends, and boyfriend (often times a dog or two will tag along as well). Casey’s family also enjoys trail riding and camping with their horses.

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