I have spent a lot of time creating content for blogs, websites and Social Media pages and one thing I have really learnt is that great images speak far louder than most words. Whether you write a personal blog or help maintain a professional blog, how you achieve great images on your blog is pretty important to engage your audience. Getting the best shot you can of your knitting is something many of us crafters can relate to and I wanted to share some ideas. I decided to ask the very talented and knowledgeable Jennifer from the Down Cellar Studio podcast as I've enjoyed her photography segment for years. Jennifer is going to walk you through how to get the best possible images you can for your blog with minimal equipment.
Thanks Jen! (all images click through to Jeni's project pages)
After you've spent hours (or maybe even weeks or months) knitting on a project, it's always nice to take a great photo to capture the moment. Maybe you want to share it on Instagram, add it to your Ravelry Projects Page for posterity, send it in an email to a friend or loved one, or just keep it for yourself as a memory of this beautiful handcrafted item. But photographing knits isn't always simple. I'm often asked how to best go about getting a good photo without having a degree in photography or a really fancy camera. Fortunately I think there are lots of great options that don't require anything more than your phone.
So grab your smartphone or whatever camera you have handy, follow along with these 5 tips and I think you'll have a photo you can be really proud of!
1. Use Natural Light whenever possible: aim for early morning hours or an hour or two before sunset for more even, less harsh light.
- Why? Photographing knits in midday sun will cause harsh shadows that can be distracting or even obscure the detail you're trying to highlight.
- Options: Obviously there is a lot of natural light outside but try to look for even light not dappled shade. You can also capture the natural light that finds it's way inside. Position your knit with a window to the left or right to avoid strange shadows.
2. Choose a background that isn't distracting.
- Why? You want to draw focus to your knit so look for a background that doesn't take away from your subject.
- Options: You could use something plain (a white wall, a plainly colored floor or couch cushion). But your background doesn't have to be completely plain. For example, I took this photo outside in my backyard. The green grass goes nicely with the color and adds a little texture too.
3. Avoid shadows.
- Why? Shadows can obscure parts of your knit, taking away the beautiful detail you're trying to capture.
- Options: always try taking photos from various angles. Position yourself and the camera from above, below, and straight on to see what works best. I often find that holding my phone or camera out to the side can help avoid my body casting a shadow on an item. Don't be afraid to play around with it (it won't take long I promise)
4. Play around with posing & positioning.
- Why? Some hand knits will lend themselves to be laid out flat while others really need to be hung up (or better yet worn) in order to show what the item is and how it is intended to look. Sometimes it takes a little practice to figure out what works best.
- Lay flat: for this sweater, I laid out a black blanket on our deck late in the day to avoid shadows. It took a few minutes to make sure I could capture the whole sweater without my own shadow being cast upon it, but soon enough I had a photo with minimal shadows that shows all of the details, shape and design of this beautiful sweater.
Hang to display: for items that don't look as they should when laid flat, a coat hanger can be a great option. This works especially well for sweaters and shawls. If you have a hard time finding enough natural light with a neutral background inside, take your hanger outdoors. Look around your yard and you likely start seeing all sorts of possibilities for hanging on a fence, on a light or light post outside your house, on tree branch, on a railing. Here are some examples I've found in my neck of the woods.
5. Be sure to capture your knit from various angles. If your knit has different details on the back and the front, you'll want to capture both sides. If there is a lot of detail in one portion, I'd recommend getting a close up shot of that detail and then also a full shot of the knitted piece to better show the context.
- These are photos of my Lush Cardigan, photographed by my partner, Dan. With a little guidance he captured both the front and back of the sweater and took a stance slightly above me when capturing the back to show how the lace detail really wraps around my shoulders. I love the effect this creates.
Trying different angles also works well for capturing socks. I personally think socks looks best on feet so whenever possible I try to photograph them while wearing them. Admittedly you may need to be just a little bit flexible to do this but if you are the result is worth it. First I put my legs straight out with my feet flexed. I set up two pieces of foam core board one underneath and one at a 90 degree angle (leaning up against my deck railing). Then it's as easy as pointing the camera straight out and voila!
But for these socks I also wanted to show off the contrasting heels. By putting my feet together and shooting down, it was easy to show them from another perspective.
Just one more thing to keep in mind take a lot of photos. You’ve got nothing to lose with digital media if the photo comes out terrible you can delete it. I recommend taking a lot of photos from different angles potentially with different backgrounds. Then pull them all up on the computer before you decide which to keep and which to delete.
I hope these helpful hints work well for you the next time you're snapping photos of your latest finished object!
Jennifer Lassonde is a blogger, knitter, knitwear designer and host of the Down Cellar Studio Podcast. Jen blogs about knitting, photography and her other creative pursuits on her website where you can also find details about her designs. Find Jen on Ravelry as BostonJen, on Instagram & Twitter as @BostonJen1.