Sneaky tricks for taking great project photos~

I thought it might be interesting to answer a comment that Jennifer Tavernier mentioned here the other day… 🙂

She said that she was a bit envious of the fact that I had the space and props to take decent photos of my projects. I wanted to let you all know that you can take excellent photos of your loomy goodies, even if you don’t have much space to spread out, or a even clean and organized house (which, let me tell you, mine frequently looks like either a tornado has rampaged through it or an entire civilization of dust bunnies have taken up residence, lol)!

I’m going to share with you a little bit about the “behind-the-scenes” of my photo taking processes.  My sneaky secrets that hide the fact that, yes, I’m not perfect, haha!  😛

My photo shoot area is made up of a small end table, which I usually have to clear off before I can get down to business. 😉 I then reach from behind a chair to grab my desired color of a backdrop.  I have a few selections of different colored mat boards, which have been collected from a photo framing shop.  I also have a plain white foam core board, which was purchased at Michaels, and has been my back drop of choice recently, as it’s super easy to get the project colors precise when the backdrop is just plain white.

When I use the white foam core board, I pull out a matching white foam core tri-fold board; the kind that is used for science projects and presentations, also purchased at Michaels (although I’m sure that you could get these two items anywhere that sells crafts, as well as most office supply stores).  This tri-fold board is set as a back drop right on top of the foam core.  We’re talking small table top space here, now.  Just a 2′ x 2′ end table and the overhanging area of the foam core.

The completed photo that you all see...

Emily, behind the scenes of this same photo shoot! 🙂

See the colored mat board behind her?  This is where all the props get stacked and stored until I’m ready to use them again.  It’s simple, easy and takes up no horizontal space in the room. The table we’re using as a set up for the photo props is just to the right of her as you look straight on (you can see it’s shadow on the yellow mat board).  It’s at “sitting on your knees” height, so it results in numb feet if your shoot lasts longer than your circulation, lol! This photo shoot was during the long and fairly tedious process of filming the How-To section of Loom Knitting for Little People.  My daughter Emily was the lovely hand model and I was taking the photographs.  We were getting just a tad loopy by this point of the process, lol!

When I decide to use the colored back ground, if I need a backdrop, I’ll usually use the bed and put a box or something behind the backdrop to hold it upright.  The photo below is just the same mat board I mentioned earlier, but instead of a box for support, I used my younger daughter Megan as a kickstand, hehehe.

This is the photo of my awesome fabric sale find...

...what the background actually looked like, lol!

The other important factor to bright and true colored photographs is the lighting.  I love to use my Ott Lights for this purpose.  I have the stand alone one that you see in the photo of Emily up above.  This is usually propped on the table, or a chair right next to the table.  I have another Ott Light which is a clip-on sort.  It’s either clipped to a laundry basket nearby (lol!) in an opposing position to the first light, or I hold it in a strategic position above the subject as I take the photo.  If I need extra light, I also have a little hand-held Ott Light which works great to add just a spot of light where needed.  This is my current super-wonky lighting set up.  I truly want to get some adjustable office and floor lamps with Ott Light bulbs in them in the future, as I could take the photos without actually getting tangled in cords while trying to balance the light in one hand and the camera in the other. 😉  Of course, there are times when a good window and natural sunshine do the job perfectly…just depends on the mood and purpose of the photo you’re trying to achieve.

Photo editing is also a must.  I don’t think I ever post a photo without it going through at least a minor editing process.  This includes cropping, brightness/contrast adjusting, sharpness correcting, and sometimes cloning-out little spots or unneeded areas that I don’t want to show in the shot (like flecks of lint or the seams where the background meets the base prop in the case of the all white foam core).  Then the photo is reduced in size usually so that the widest section is no more than 800 pixels (for online posting).  My favorite software for these adjustments is Photoshop, but I’m sure there are others available that can do similar tasks with minimal efforts.  These steps are highly recommended for a more polished and pleasing looking shot.

Of course, in the case of larger objects, there’s no better and more available surface than the floor for showing off your knitting.  Just make sure to vacuum/sweep before you start your photo shoot, lol! (yes, I have had to digitally “vacuum” before, haha!) 😉  Here’s an example of a project shot taken from the floor:

As a sum-up, we just need to remember to use what we have available to it’s fullest…even if that means getting a little bit creative at times with how we adjust what we do have on hand to get a good record of our work.  It’s definitely worth it in the end, when you consider how much  time and effort was spent on creating the item in the first place.  Your project deserves a great photo to remember and honor it by! 🙂  Don’t you think?

I hope this helps give you some ideas to try out some new photography and prop techniques.  There are definitely a lot of great tutorials out there that would be excellent reading material…this is just my way of trying to put those tutorials into action, using the items that I have on hand to work with (or ones that were fairly affordable and quick to acquire).

I can’t wait to see your next project shots!  😀

Bethany~

About gettinitpegged

Whipping up whimsy with looms & string! :)
This entry was posted in Crafting, Loom Knitting, Loom Knitting for Little People, Photography, Tutorials. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sneaky tricks for taking great project photos~

  1. carol says:

    Thank for that informatiom, I Love the clors in your upper left photo with the blue loom could you provide the color and was that a scarf you were making ? Thank You Carol

  2. gettinitpegged says:

    Hi, Carol! 🙂 The project that I’m working on in the photo you’re mentioning is the 25th Street Stole, by Jenny Stark, ( you can find the pattern here: http://lkc.typepad.com/lkc/ ) which I have turned into a scarf. I’m using a hand spun yarn by my own daughter, Emily. Her shop is located here: tidbityarns.etsy.com , but I don’t think she has any yarns exactly like that at the moment… though there are definitely some pretty fun ones still to be had. 😉

  3. Susan Ernst says:

    Great advice….thanks sooo much. I….myself, have a large supply of different material, I use for my background. also…. a great idea…is outside. In natural light.

  4. Wow Bethany, you have that down to a science. My camera broke last year so all my pictures were taken outside. That was hard due to shadows and color discrepancies due to bright sunlight. I sometimes take a picture in my kitchen or on my bed with blankets for backgrounds. Solids are best. I have a camera on my i-phone but haven’t used it much yet. The 25th street shawl pictures I posted in loom class were the first ones with my phone.I need to play with the photo features to see if I can fix my shots. No wonder you were able to do a book. Love all your work.

  5. Jenny Tavernier says:

    lol! I do find, in my manic run around with tenant interruption way, that having a sheet handy, or a throw, will cover ANYTHING the Imp of mayhem can throw at one – although My loomy pics (xmas) had to just cuddle up with one another in a “chaos” shot – as my time, and camera, were dying – so couldn’t do them one on one justice! Ah well – Love your tips Bethany – didn’t know that you can purchase ott bulbs for use in regular fixtures??? That might be affordable to me! LOL!

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