3 Photo Tips for Crafters

I became a photographer to learn about taking better pictures for my finished crocheted items. Like many of us I took pictures of many things for a long time on film and then on a point and shoot camera. I just never understood how to get the photos I really wanted to show off my items. Unable to figure out what I wasn't doing right, I set out to learn photography. Like everyone who starts learning something new, the best place to start is to, well, just start.

It's now been over 10 years since I started learning photography and while I call myself a professional (after all I did have a photo business and have taught some classes), I think that I am still learning. But as any good student, there are things you learn along the way that you can add to your list of skills, and today I have 3 tips that will make a world of difference on your craft images.

Large Window for light

Tip #1:  Natural light

I'm sure you have heard this over and over again. But it's really true.  A good source of natural light can make a mediocre photo amazing.  Why natural light?  Natural light mimics what we see every day.  It's soft tones and colors are usually true to what the naked eye can see.  Not all natural light is equal. You don't want to necessarily take photos in full sun, nor do you want to take photos with light directly overhead.  The real beauty of natural light comes when it is diffused in some way, either through a curtain, time of day, or the direction in which your light source is facing.  Full sun tends to create harsh shadows.  Diffused light tends to create softer shadows and renders color better.  

When I take pictures of my current projects, either wearing an item or the item itself, I use the french doors in my home. The doors are large enough to provide light to come in and allow me to have light curtains where I can diffuse the light at the times of the day when the sun is shining its brightest through the door.  So find your light source, follow how the light falls from that source throughout the day and use it to take pictures when the light is reflecting in but not directly.  

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Tip #2:  Create Light, when non exists

When you don't have natural light, or its dark and cloudy outside, there are ways for you to bring in light to your images.  One of the ways in which I create light is by using a polystyrene board and poster board.  First, a white poster board is an inexpensive way to add light to your images.  I use the board as a way to reflect light onto my object.  I usually place the board across from my light source but next to my finished item.  White is the best color for adding light to your images.  Second, polystyrene (which you can find at your local home improvement store) is also a great way to add more light. I use the silvery side to add light to my images when its really cloudy outside.  It's brighter than the poster board and can really help alleviate the shadows cast on a dark day.  

Poster board and polystyrene

Tip #3:  Keep your background neutral.  

When I first started taking images for my finished products, I would stand in front of any background without care to what it looked like. I realized two things:  one, it looked messy, and two, it often clashed.  Why is the background so important? The background of your finished product is important because the background will either help place your item in context or detract from the product.  I didn't really think about this prior to learning photography but once I did, I clearly understood that the power of the images laid in how it was presented.  If we want to create a story, convey an idea, or show off something, then we need the right back drop to do it.  I'm all for neutral backgrounds. I'm not saying that you need to have a white background but something that should not detract from what you are trying to convey.  

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As the picture above shows, a simple background can help your finished crocheted or knitted product stand out.  A beautiful model helps too. :)  How do you photograph your finished products?