Down on the ground or up on a beam, photography for a how-to book involves a steady hand and a sense of balance.

Last year, project editor Hannah Fries spent a week at the Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts, exploring her personal interest in the art of timber framing. Now in the process of editing a book on the subject for Storey, she recently returned to the school in Washington, Massachusetts, for a photo shoot. During her stay, she documented the lengths a photographer and his subject will go to, to get the best shots.

Spending the week at the Heartwood School is kind of like hanging out at camp.  Sure, sure, we were “working,” and I’m sure author Will Beemer got a little tired of timber framing in slow motion, but you can’t ask for a better sort of work day than this!

Here, photographer Jared Leeds gets down on his knees to photograph Will using the boring machine (which is actually quite exciting!). His assistant, Ryan, holds up a scrim to adjust the light, and art director Jessica Armstrong looks at the photograph as it appears on the computer.

In order to get an unobstructed shot of the beautiful cabin/studio, Jared set up his tripod in a hedge of elder and peeked out.

To shoot a sample dovetail joint, Jared got up on two timbers to get a view from above.

And while Will split a log up with a froe and mallet to make pins for the joints, Jared sprawled out on his back to get the shot.

Hannah Fries

Hannah Fries edits Storey books on subjects ranging from building to nature to food. She formerly worked at Orion magazine, where she edited prize-winning essays,… See Bio

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