if you're a member of our regular knit alongs you will know who today's guest is. she is one of my favorite knitters and i just swoon over all of her projects. her photos always leaving me wanting more and whether it's on her ravelry page, blog, kollabora, instagram - you name it...i love michelle (or as us knitters know her - mamatronic) of the blog my so-called handmade life
there is something that comes across in her imagery...a sense of calm and peace, a feeling of warmth, caring and home. she makes me want to just jump into her photos and curl up in them.
so when organizing this year's summer sweater kal
i knew exactly who to ask to come do a guest post on taking your wip pics, selfies etc - michelle. i'm sure you will recognize some of her pics below because more times than not her images are at the top of my knitting posts during kals. i can't resist a mamtronic image i tell ya. love em. and i hope you will all too.
now let's hear from the lovely michelle herself....
I'm guessing that if you're reading this you already know how satisfying it is to make something with your hands, even more so to wear it. But sweater styles change and gifts get worn away from us, leaving us with only the memory of the hours spent working on it; that is, unless we have a photo of the experience.
Having a nice image of your finished object is a lasting keepsake from that time in your life.
I can look at a photo of a sweater that no longer fits and remember what was happening in my life while I knitted those stitches: how I braved a modification or tried my first fair isle. I can look back on a photo of that hat I made my daughter and savor the memory of the small girl who once wore it. These images are as meaningful to me as my old school photos because they chronicle a different aspect of my life through the years. Since Shannon asked me to share about my finished object photos, I have enjoyed reminiscing about how the whole process has evolved in a short amount of time.
Here's a hint: it is very basic.
My Ravelry page had no photos of me wearing my hand knits in the first year I was a member. Though I loved to take photos, I didn't want any of myself and, let's face it, most of us knit for ourselves... alot. However, a 365 self-portrait
challenge broke that phobia fairly quickly. My attitude went from, "Ugh, photos of me... delete...delete...delete..." to "Okay, whatever. Let's just get this done." Slowly, I began adding images of my knits as they would actually be worn to my Projects Page.
I learned to keep the setting simple. For instance, I use a simple background that enhances the color of the yarn, not one that my knit would get lost in. I also take most of my photos outside where I won't have to include the chaos of my cluttered house. The same simplicity applies to photography equipment. I only need:
1) Any camera at all -
I've gotten decent results from cell phones, vintage cameras, and my dslr. My favorite is my Canon Rebel with a cheap 50mm fixed lens opened up to a wider aperture for a nice soft depth of field. If I do edit, it's just basics in Aperture and maybe a vintage photo preset. For iphone photos I use Snapseed. I love that a photo can be taken, edited, and uploaded to my Ravelry page in moments. There's really no excuse for a "No featured photo" box on my Projects Page now. The cell phone is also handy for WIP shots. If I take those in the same place at the same time of day it really shows off how the project is "growing."
2) Something steady if you're photographing yourself -
If you don't have a willing partner, get a cheap tripod and use your camera's timer. At this point I have a $20 tripod, but at one time it was books stacked on a chair that steadied my camera. I also have a remote now too, but haven't actually used it yet. I am the queen of set, run, and click photos. There's only one word for my self portrait process- ghetto. First, I put something in the place where I'll be standing for the photo (This could be a garden hoe or patio plant) and I focus on it manually. Then, I set my f-stop no wider than 3.5 or 4.0, ensuring the sweater will be in focus even if I step out of position. Next, I move my garden hoe stand-in, click the shutter on timer, and run to my place.
If I have a partner to take the photo for me, I use them as my stand-in to focus on and compose around, getting closer and lower than I used to think I needed to, unless it gives me a fun house mirror look. In that case, I take it from a higher vantage point. Then we switch places. I just remind them to keep the camera level and still. The shots below were taken that way. I had supper on the stove and company over but I wanted a fast FO photo because my hair was decent that day. (Just being honest.)
This leads to the most important component of a great photo:
3) Light - It softens, brightens, hides and exposes
. Light can change the whole mood of a moment. I can be in the ugliest place but the quality of the light can mercifully hide one thing while bringing another out. In the cell phone photo below a blah background is cloaked by the quality of the light, while the knit is allowed to shine, bathed in a lighted foreground.
Natural morning or late afternoon light is the best bet, but if that's not an option I can always open some windows and use the tripod with a slow shutter speed indoors. I sometimes use an inexpensive bounce flash
device to neutralize shadows and red eye. And there's always white balance adjustments in Photoshop. My best opportunity to take photos is in the middle of the day when outdoor light is harsh. I've found nice, even shade on our breezeway, using the utility room door as a backdrop. If you've seen my Rav page, you've seen this door... many times. We work with what we have, right?
Sometimes a seemingly frustrating lighting situation can be used to my advantage, as with the project photos of Lady Bat.
When I raced outside for that quick photo shoot I was disappointed that the sun was so low and it was almost dark. I decided to let the waning light share the focus with my sweater, rather than just keeping it behind me to fully illuminate my sweater. I played with the camera position for more or less flare. My knit wasn't quite as visible, but I loved the overall effect. I then added a few detail shots with direct sunlight to make the stitch pattern clear.
I really like detail shots, especially if they are of a particularly tricky or beautiful part of a design that I want to remember. For these I use a wide aperture for shallow depth of field and get close. I can get excessive with these.
One last thing to consider is what you like about your knit. How you imagine it looking? Where do you imagine wearing it? Maybe you could incorporate this into your FO photo. Try different locations
or different times of day. (I know I have a million utility room door photos and I say this.) As with the Lady Bat photo, the knit doesn't always have to be front and center to be best enjoyed. Sometimes just viewing your knitwear from a different perspective can give you a new appreciation for the construction.
I think I love photographing things I make almost as much as I love making them.
thank you soooo much michelle! you rock girl! thank you for so much inspiration, kindness and for being you! hugs!
you can find more of michelle and her beautiful handknits below:
do you love taking pictures of your projects? do you have tips to share on taking selfies and project pics? we'd love to hear all about it! plus share how your project is coming along this week!
>> JOIN IN & SIGN UP <<
- sign up for the knit along by clicking "here".
- get inspired by checking out our kal pinterest board
- take part in all the fun conversation & make new friends in our ravelry group
- find out more and find all the posts and info "here" on our kal homepage.
- remember to tag your instagram/facebook/twitter/google+ pics with #sskal.
>>> OUR AMAZING SPONSORS <<<