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Your FOs deserve glamour shots!

Your FOs deserve glamour shots!

Remember Glamour Shots at the mall? (If you have no idea what this is, check out some of these examples.) 

Your finished objects (FOs) need Glamour Shots too. Skip the hairspray, but make your FO the star of the show.

You’ve invested hours of labor and your hard-earned dollars into a new knitted or crocheted item. Maybe it’s a gift or maybe it’s something you’ll wear for years to come, but either way, we hope you take a moment to document your handwork and maybe even post it as a project to Ravelry.

Let’s start with why some photos on Ravelry are not that helpful, and then we’ll get to the tips!

Inspiration or frustration?

We’re people who work in a visually-oriented craft, and we go to Ravelry because we want to be inspired. First, we find a design we like and start browsing the designer’s photos. Sometimes the designer’s photos may not include all the details a prospective crafter wants to see, or maybe not all parts of the pattern are shown. 

Next step? Check out the Projects tab to see examples of how other folks have made it. This is where we might see process photos of the project at various phases of making, or photos that indicate how the item fits, made with different amounts of ease, or how it looks on different bodies. 

Sometimes we encounter unhelpful project photos along the way. Blurry photos. Dark photos. Harsh sunlit photos. Scrunched-up projects. Sweaters on a hanger (GAH!). Hats laid flat on a table. Weird stuff in the background. Strange selfies. A cat lying on the project. (Really. We’ve seen it.)

Since we all have cameras in our pockets these days (aka your phone!), let’s talk about three things that will improve your photos now.

Tip #1 - Wear it

If your finished item is a garment, put it on a human! Photographing the finished project on a body helps us appreciate the fit, proportions, drape, and the details. Close-ups of special stitches or finishing techniques are helpful, but we want to see the whole garment too. You might want to enlist a friend or family member to model the garment or take the photos.

Imagine if we'd taken a photo of Elaine's Misti Brioche Honeycomb Sweater laid out flat. It may have looked really strange or out of proportion — and we would have missed the unique and absolutely elegant overall effect.

Tip #2 - Natural Light

Natural light is the best light! If you can be outdoors, avoid midday or direct sun because the light is harsh. A shady park or cloudy day are perfect — avoid strong contrast between deep shadows and bright light. 

Indoors can be good too. Look for a spot that gets indirect, natural light like the corner of a sunny room. Pat chose such a spot for the photo of her Shift (Andrea Mowry) with naturally diffused light and a neutral background.

Charlotte's in our favorite photo spot at The Goat, wearing her Tessellated Vest, also by Andrea Mowry. She's standing right by our bright windows, but set back just enough so there's no distracting direct light.

Tip #3 - Backgrounds matter

Since the garment is the star of the show, choose a neutral background so your finished item really pops. We love using portrait mode on our phones — for Android and iPhone — which results in a gently blurred background. 

In Kendra's Saturday Night Sweater (PetiteKnit), we chose an overcast day with portrait mode to blur the autumn colors in the background — our eyes go right to her smiling face and gorgeous knitwear. We captured Molly at a relaxed moment during a knit along meet-up. The ochre color of her Shift pops forward and the activity of a busy knit along recedes into the background.

Try it!

Here’s some homework: 

  • Start noticing how the light moves around in your home at different times of day. During a harsh light time of day, is there a space or corner where the light is less direct?
  • Now that you’re thinking differently (hopefully!) about photographing your finished objects, go to Ravelry and browse some project photos. What about the photo is helping or hindering your understanding of the pattern? Notice the light and whether it’s natural or artificial light. Stay tuned for a follow-up to this post where we’ll dig into some other helpful tips for photographing your makes!

Happy making! And happy photographing!

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