One of the questions I get asked most is how to take a good photograph of craft projects and mostly handknits. So, for today’s post, I thought I would give some tips on taking some photos.
Before we start, I usually take a lot of my photos for my blog and social media from my phone. It’s a Samsung S7 and I love how it captures the colour green. It’s more natural than other phone cameras and because I also love taking flower images I have never moved away from the Samsung models. For high res images (for print or professional use), I use a Cannon with a stabilizer and long distance lens. Though some of my phone images have also been used professionally too and personally I think a phone camera is something you always have and now some phone images can really go toe to toe with a DSLR.
Whether you are taking an in-process photo or you would like to take a finished object the one thing that we can all agree on is that you need good lighting. You can’t beat natural light the best being diffused light. Think early morning or later afternoon or mid winter think just before or after midday.
If you are indoors you want to be as close to a big window as possible even if that means using a bed under a skylight (think Woolly Mammoth Fibers) or using a deep window sill or popping a chair as close as you can to a light source.
If I’m stuck for lighting I actually use a YouTube Beauty Bloggers light kit. It’s dimmable and it doesn’t change the colour of the yarn too much.
2. Think About Colour & Background
One of the hardest things for me to photograph are strong rich reds and purples and to keep those colours true. Remember that yarn looks different depending on what it is sitting against so a lot of Instagram accounts will have backgrounds that you buy and are consistent. You can find lots of these backgrounds on Amazon like this one but you can also find wonderful unique ones on Etsy too.
Using white on it’s own as a background may seem like a great idea but I can tell you from playing around with Ikea units that the grey that is produced and the shadows are difficult to work with.
You don’t need to buy a background, I use my couch and my bed as these offer textures and depth but just have a look at your background and your project and see if the colours are strong and vibrant or if it is looking a little washed out.
Are you doing a flat lay of a project in progress or some yarn? I always take an image set to 1:1 (square) and also another on the highest file size that my phone will allow. You can change these modes in your phones camera settings. I usually will use a YouTube video to check how to do this for your phone model.
If you need a little help composing then add the gridlines to your phone’s image. These are really helpful
4. Negative Space Is Your Friend
Don’t overcrowd your image. you want to have negative space in there. You want your yarn or your garment to be the centre of attention and sometimes less is more. Do you think the above image would look better without the blanket?
5. Break Some Rules
I was always told to take an image with the light behind me but for lace knitting and crochet features, some of my favourite shots are of the sample being between myself and the sun. This casts everything else into shadow though so only the sample is on display. Be careful of sunspots and focus when you are doing this so take your time.
6. Get Personal
What is your favourite thing about what you are photographing? Is it the halo, the texture, the colour or cables? Make that the focal point.
You also don’t have to have your face in the image either you can look to the side or down allowing your hair to cover your face or you can take the image from your shoulders down.
For my phone images, I use VSCOX (VSCO is free) and Snapseed (free) for most of my Instagram images. For images that I need a little more control over, I use Adobe Lightroom.
Some of the best time I ever spent was learning how to use these three apps. They can help you colour match on a day when the sky is moving quickly or you have a summer shot but want to make it a little cooler (using blue tones/white balance) to release it in winter.
You can do it quickly by slapping on a filter but be careful of the filter strength as you want your yarn to look like it is naturally.
I really hope these tips help you to take better images. Let me know how you are getting on in the comments and you can always tag me on Instagram using #growcraftlove or #cottagenotebook. Enjoy your photo play!