A few weeks ago, there was a thread on our Yarnish Community Group asking about how to take the perfect photo of completed creations:
Although there were so many wonderful tips and tricks shared, I thought it would be helpful to take one step further and provide a visual guide on basic product photography!
Taking a good picture of your creation seems like a massive skill (which requires several degrees and diplomas!) But I can assure you, it's really not. It's just about taking the time to think about how to present your creation in a way that 'showcases' your hard work!
Of course, I don't want to downplay all the amazing photographers out there! Product photography can be very technical, and to feature work that evokes physical sensations and emotions is truly an art form (which typically requires several degrees and diplomas!).
However, for this blog post, I'm just referring to us 'hobbyists', who are just looking to take a nice and clean picture. I'm in no way a professional photographer but I have learned a thing-or-two about taking product shots over the past few years.
So, I am writing this post to 'show you' my top things to consider when taking the perfect product shot!
A quick FYI before we begin: none of my tips are 100% crucial, you can take or leave whatever you feel unnecessary. Feel free to chop and change to make this guide suit you!
Tip #1: Lighting
Lighting is probably one of the most important aspects of good photography. And not just any type of light, but natural indirect daylight.
There is something about the warmness sunlight brings to a photo, it seems inviting and rich - as opposed to artificial light, which can sometimes be a bit stark and harsh or even yellow and dark, depending on the light-source.
Artificial light - my bedroom light - makes Mr Ted look very dark.
Natural indirect light from my window.
Consider 'where' you will take your photo: next to a bright window, where the sun will indirectly light up your work.
But remember: too much light can oversaturate a photo, so this tip is all about finding that perfect balance of light.
Wedding photographers will always pray for an overcast wedding day! This is because clouds provide the perfect filtered indirect light for amazingly balanced photography. I love this picture of Shelby! Even though she is outside, the clouds have created the perfect balance of light creating warmth and ebullience.
Tip #2: The Golden Hour
Ok, so this tip is kinda tied in with the first! If you want to take your photography to the next level, try to time your pictures within the 'Golden Hour'.
The Golden Hour is the period of time briefly after sunrise and before sunset. It's that brilliant buttery sunlight that floods your home in the morning and afternoon. When taking pictures within this small time frame, your photography will be instantly elevated! I promise!
Tip #3: Background
Your creation is like the Hollywood Star of your photo, you want to position it front and center of the scene and you want it to absolutely shine!
When choosing a suitable background for your photography, try to opt for a neutral background (of course this doesn't mean 'colourless' or 'beige'). I mean, choose a background that doesn't distract from your work. Having a background that is too busy can take the eye away from your work, which is devastating!
Tip #4: Make it 'you'!
There is something to be said about consistent photography. Finding your own personal style when taking pictures creates a sense of familiarity for others. It also makes your photos become instantly recognizable, which is very helpful when people are scrolling through countless feeds and photos.
Make your photos stand out from the rest by choosing a composition that will remain consistent throughout your pictures (for example, a consistent background, colourway or even props - the latter brings me to my next point..)
Tip # 5: Props
I am completely obsessed with props! I literally have two baskets full of toys, dried flowers and other beautiful bits and pieces to highlight my work. Props can be used to complement your makes, but remember, we don't want to outshine the star!!
Find a balance with your props by playing around with different positions, colours, and textures to create a sense of harmony and balance.
Tip # 6: Lighting Revisited
I definitely feel like I need to talk about lighting again (did I mention it's a big topic!) If you cannot possibly find good natural light, and the only way is artificial light, then that's ok, just make it work for you!
I made some filtered lights in order to create a natural-like feel in my photos. All I did was get two cheap lamps, fit them with 'day-light globes' and then pasted some transfer paper over the front. This effectively simulates filtered light. Feel free to use my technique if you find it helpful!
Tip #7: Shadows
My photography style is bright and 'pop-y'. I love colour and the way it contrasts with a stark background. As such, I tend to 'uninvite' shadows from my picture party! Shadows, for me, create too much darkness.
See all the shadows in between the objects? And there are some oversaturation happening from the direct light source too.
So my tips for removing shadows are:
- Tip #1 indirect lighting, again adjust the position of your 'set' to minimize the direct light which can cause shadows (all I did was twist my light-box); and
- Adjusting the position of your make and props to allow direct light to seep through (don't have things bunched too closely together).
Of course, you may want to create a moody picture which will mean more shadows! Do what you feel <3
Tip #8: Light-boxes
Sometimes we are limited by our environment. We might not have the perfect 'instagramable space' to show off our work. When my husband and I were renovating our home a few years ago, the only space I had to crochet was in the closet....no joke!! So I made a light-box where I could still photograph all of my work.
Years later, my poor light-box has certainly seen better days but it was so easy to make and relatively inexpensive. If you would like a tutorial on how to make a light-box, let me know!
Tip #9: Take lots of pictures!!
Photography is all about the subtely. One subtle shift can send a picture completely out of balance. So my advice, take lots and lots of pictures! That way you are guaranteed to take the perfect picture! Sift through your snaps to find 'the one!'
Tip #10: Have fun!
It's totally cheesy but this is seriously my favorite part of the making process! I love setting up little scenes and allowing my work to tell a story. You have spent so much time on your beautiful creation, you deserve to have it shown off in the best way possible!
And that's it! I hope you enjoyed my guide on taking the perfect picture of your work!
There are so many more tips I have, and I'd love to share them with you. Let me know in the comments if you would like to know more :)