Monday, September 2, 2013

Taking Better Photos

If you've been reading my blog for over a year, I hope that the increase in photo quality has been noticeable. Time and time again, I've see great blogs or Etsy shops with excellent products or projects - but terrible photos. For a while, my blog was in that very category, but I realized that it was a barrier to gaining a wider readership. I'm lucky because I have a husband who is a top-notch photographer; ever since he got a fancy-pants digital camera (a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi), he has been taking most of my blog photos and all of my pattern photos.

If you're looking to take your blog or online shop to the next level, I highly recommend Craftsy's newest photography class, Shoot It! A Product Photography Primer. You can also use a few of my tips and tricks to get started:
  • Ditch the cell phone camera. Trust me, we can all tell that's what you've been using! You don't need to break the bank on a professional-grade digital camera, either - just make sure you purchase a digital camera with a decent amount of megapixels and shoot in the high-resolution setting. 
  • Use natural light whenever possible. Outdoors is best, out of direct sunlight - and avoid being backlit. Indoors can work if you use your window lighting effectively (or have studio lights). Avoid at all costs using the flash.
  • Pay attention to the background. I've seen far too many photos of gorgeous projects totally overshadowed by a pile of unsightly clutter in the background. For FO photos, try to explore new locations for photo shoots - but in a pinch, brick walls and parks are good stand-bys. For WIP photos, I have a variety of fabrics which I use as a backdrop - it's so much better than the carpet or my lap! Really, any surface that is a good contrast to your project and won't reflect the light is a good choice.
  • Get photo editing software. There are plenty of cheaper options that are probably just as good, but I have always used Photoshop. When I edit photos, I crop them if necessary, then begin adjusting the colors using trial and error until everything looks the way I want it to. I find that the Auto Tone/Contrast/Color settings often do the trick, and sometimes I increase the contrast a bit manually before I call it a day. 
  • Take a Class. Ah, yes, we're back where we started! Find a local photography studio that offers classes, or check out Caro Sheridan's new Craftsy class to learn in the comfort of your own home. This is a great way to discover features on your camera, making the most of what you have - no matter what that is!  


  1. Yeah ok I admit, blog photos are one of my biggest failings as a human. It's especially bad given that I was once an actual photographer studying actual photographer and published in an actual calendar for my actual town's actual anniversary.

    It's hard though, when you're massively lazy and only seem to get chance to take photos either at night or in 3 minutes at the start of your lunch break.

    Hmm. I'll work on it.

    1. Haha, no worries, I totally get what you mean! Considering you're doing quickie shots whenever you can, I'd say you're doing alright (I'd wager that a little photoshopping might be all it takes to bump things up a notch - but that's another time commitment, I know!)

      It IS really hard to find the time at first - either I have it down to a finer science, or I'm willing to cede a little knitting time, but either way it's been getting easier for me during the course of each week.

      I should also probably add a disclaimer: we're all doing the best we can with what we have, and just because a blog has photos that aren't professional caliber doesn't mean the rest of the content isn't worthwhile. I'm just an OCD perfectionist on a soapbox!!