Today I would like to share some tips for photographing your finished objects (FOs). I’m certainly not an expert in this, but it’s something I’ve really come to enjoy. I am certain that I could improve on this, but I would like to share some ideas based on my experience so far if this is something you’re struggling with.
So, you’ve spent days, weeks, maybe even months working on something. It’s finished and blocked, and it looks great. You’re probably immensely proud of yourself. Now it’s time to show your make off!
When I first started my Instagram account, I used to get my husband to cut my head out of the photos he took for me. I’m not someone who loves having my picture taken. But when I began testing garment patterns last year, I realised the importance of showcasing your make properly. When I choose a pattern (be it a test or a personal project), I want to see how it fits and looks on an actual person, and I will look at the project pages in Ravelry or look through the hashtag on Instagram to see that. It can be hard to tell much from a photo where most of the person’s body has been cropped out! So my first tip is this: wear your make. Interestingly, the Instagram posts where I show my face in FO pictures are the ones that always perform best and get the most interactions. If you aren’t comfortable posing for pictures yourself, that’s OK too. You can ask someone else to model for you or even use a mannequin. The chances are that the more you do it, the more confident you will feel doing it, but don’t let it stress you out.
Now you’re wearing your FO, how you choose to style yourself/your make is up to you. I like to take a bit of time to choose an outfit that will show off my FO without stealing the show! Sometimes it can be fun to get really dressed up, sometimes it’s more casual. Wear whatever you are comfortable with! The same goes for hair/make up. I don’t wear make up daily or style my hair. Generally for a ‘photoshoot’ I’ll put on a little make up to even out my skin tone, as this makes me feel a bit more confident. Occasionally, I’ll curl my hair, but most of the time I can’t be bothered. Do whatever works for you, don’t feel pressured to get dolled up but know that it’s perfectly OK if you do want to.
My next tip is to take your photos outdoors. Unless you have a lovely bare wall in your home with tons of natural light, pictures taken indoors are often going to be dark and grainy. Natural light is always best. You don’t have to go somewhere picturesque (but if you want to, by all means go for it), posing in front of a wall or a fence or in your garden is perfect. Almost all of my FO pictures are taken in my garden. You don’t want too much going on in the background, remember you want your make to be the star of the show.
You don’t have to have fancy equipment either. At first, all my photos were taken by my husband with his phone (Huawei P20) or my pretty basic digital camera. When I started testing more patterns and therefore needing more photos, it wasn’t always practical for my husband to take the pictures for me if he was busy with work. Once or twice I used a mini tripod on top of a fence or just balanced my phone or camera on something, but this wasn’t ideal. I had upgraded my phone to an iPhone SE 2020 and was getting much better quality photos with it, so I invested in a height adjustable tripod and a bluetooth clicker. I think the tripod was around £40 from Amazon and the clicker was very cheap. This was a real game changer for me! I like to use the front-facing camera on my phone with the tripod so I can see how it looks and press the button on my clicker when I’m happy with the shot. It can get a little awkward trying to conceal the clicker in your hand, so you can always just use the timer function instead if you prefer.
When you are taking photos, take as many shots as you can. Try a few different angles/poses. You can get some detail shots, but make sure you have shots where the whole item is in the frame too. If you are anything like me, your eyes will be closed in half of them and you’ll look super awkward in at least half of the rest. The more photos you have, the higher the chance of having more useable images at the end of it. You can weed out the rejects later, or ask a partner or friend to help you choose the best shots. Once you’ve selected the images you want to keep, you can edit the shots if you want to. There’s a few free apps you can use such as Snapseed, PS Express or Lightroom, which is my personal favourite. I would say don’t over-edit. You still want to have a well lit photo which shows off your make, and your yarn in its true colour. I used Lightroom to create a preset for all my images to keep them a similar style. you don’t have to edit your images, or you can do it on Instagram itself if you prefer. But try and few different things and see what works for you.
I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice: choose projects or tests that you will actually want to wear or use and you will feel more comfortable and confident in showing them off - this is something I plan to expand on in a future blog post! It’s also worth noting that if you are testing patterns, the designer will often share testers’ makes on their page - this is essentially advertising your skill as a maker, so it’s in your interest to make your pictures the best they can be.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. I love sharing my experiences and ideas with other makers, so if there’s any other topics you would like to see covered on the blog just get in touch.