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How to take better photos of your knitting

Mar 23, 2012

I'll be the first to admit it: I take terrible photos. You've probably noticed. I can't seem to get the lighting right, or I can see my shadow in the picture (or at least the shadow of my camera!). The following information is from a recent blog on our sister site, Cloth Paper Scissors. They called in the pros! I certainly need all the help I can get and I thought maybe you'd appreciate it, too.

Digital cameras and photo-imaging software have made it quite easy to take pictures and distribute them on blogs, social media, and even print magazines. But perhaps you sometimes wonder why some people's pictures come out clear, sharp, and colorful, while others—maybe yours?—look dark and fuzzy. Or have shadows in all the wrong places.

    
Photograph taken using a light box
made by Ivy Demos
When photographing your artwork, you want the result to look as professional as possible. Here are some photography tips from Cloth Paper Scissors' design director, Larissa Davis.

8 Tips from a Pro


Take the photos with natural lighting
, if at all possible. A flash causes shadows and glare. Soft, northern light is best. If the light inside isn't optimum, take your subject outside; this works best if it is a slightly overcast day.

Shoot with the light behind you.
Whenever possible, take your photo from a vantage point where your back is to the light. Don't shoot "into" the light; your subject will be in shadow.

Use a tripod or other method of stabilizing the camera.
Otherwise, use a steady hand. This is especially important with close-ups.

Remove distractions.
Take a look in your view finder and look at what's around your subject. Is there a plant behind it? Papers off to the side that you don't want in the picture? Remove any objects that aren't there to enhance the photo.

Neutral doesn't mean boring.
It's usually best to photograph your artwork against a neutral background. But that doesn't have to be a white wall. Something with texture, such as textured paper or a nubby linen tablecloth can make the subject pop and give it a context.

Vary your angles.
Try taking a faraway shot, a close shot, and a detail shot of each element. Shoot from above and from below.

Give it some scale.
If you're shooting your artwork for selling purposes, especially, it can be a good idea to style your piece with another object that shows the scale. This could be a tulip, a button, a hand (with the object in the palm), or a house, depending on the piece.

    

Easy homemade light box by Ivy Demos


Use a light box. A light box is a professional photographer's tool that reduces glare and shadows and makes it easier to trace and edit your images digitally. A light box also helps bring out the details in your artwork. Fortunately, you can easily and inexpensively make one at home. In the Summer 2010 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors: Studios, artist and photographer Ivy Demos shows you two methods of making a light box with materials you can find at your local discount or hardware store.

—From ClothPaperScissors.com

I've heard a saying that a project isn't actually finished until you take a picture of it. (So don't forget to take photos of your FOs before you gift them!) I hope these tips help you take better photos of your knitting.

Cloth Paper Scissors magazine is a wonderful resource that will enhance your creativity. I know this because I've been a subscriber for five years and I get so much out of every issue.

As knitters we appreciate creativity and we crave inspiration. I get this from a variety of sources, including Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Try it! I think you'll love it.

Cheers,

P.S. Do you have a tip for taking great photos of your knitting? Leave a comment below and share it with us!


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Comments

wunx~ wrote
on Mar 24, 2012 3:55 PM

When I'm in a situation where I have to use my on-camera flash, I take a sheet of facial tissue, pull the two plies apart, then drape one ply over the flash.  The single ply allows enough light through to illuminate the subject while diffusing the flash enough to avoid stark shadows.  Works well for people portraits and fill flash as well as project portraits.  Just make sure to not use tissue that's been impregnated with lotion, use the plain old cheap-o kind.

on Mar 24, 2012 9:48 AM

Try to avoid photographing black or other dark Colors.  Details cannot be seen.

on Mar 23, 2012 9:10 AM

I too like to photograph my progress when knitting with the light behind me. I have an almond table top in the showroom at the office, and a near identical colored cutting table in my Craft Studio at home. They are wonderfully positioned in the natural light that is West Texas although a southern exposure.  I used to sell items on an online auction site and for a while I had a very large satellite geographical survey of the Davis Mountains and would use it as a background for my photos.  The photo was black and white with wonderful resolution and I thought my dear husband was off his nut when he suggested it.  But it really did make my photos "POP!"  I keep asking him to get me another from his friend the cartographer but so far no go, so I will continue with the almond table tops!

mmarino53 wrote
on Mar 23, 2012 8:08 AM

I love to make baby and children's items and I always ask that the person receiving the gift take a picture of the child with it or in it.   I have an "album" which I call my gallery.  I love looking at the pictures and realizing now that some of the children are in college.

emjane wrote
on Mar 23, 2012 7:28 AM

There was a magazine that featured a model whose hair was draped over her shoulders.  Could not see the whole sweater!!  Keep the hair up off the shoulders.  

T1new wrote
on Mar 23, 2012 6:32 AM

A detail photo or two are also a good habit to get into. It could be a close up of the stitch pattern, the look of a different cast on/ off, etc.  it helps to tell the story... Martine

on Mar 23, 2012 2:30 AM

Super advice, I'm a professional photographer and couldn't put it better!

Dave