How to take a good fibery photograph

I think I take pretty good photos on Ravelry and Etsy, and all I use is a simple point and shoot camera – a little Samsung digital camera purchased at Sam’s Club. This is my model:

I did take a couple B&W photography classes growing up (one in middle school, one in high school), and I’ve always loved taking photos, but it really just comes down to a few simple rules. I’m so low-tech it’s funny.

1.) Indoors during the day: I fine a flat, plain white space like my desk to pose my yarn on. I open the sheers and wrap them around the desk, which creates a light box effect. Make sure that the sun is not shining directly on the yarn. The key here is a nice bright day with indirect light (and yes, cloudy days that are nice work too).

2.) Indoors at night: Use bright lights. I take two plain white/off-white pillow cases and cover my armchair with them. I turn on all the lights in the room and place them as close to the chair as possible. Make sure your background is plain. Busy backgrounds like carpets and prints detract from the item you are photographing.

3.) I turn off the flash first. I do not use the camera zoom. I use my macro setting, which is the tiny flower button on your camera:

4.) I get up close and personal (like within 6-12 inches) and hold the camera VERY STEADY in my hands. Sometimes I have to take several photographs because one or two might be blurry and shaky. I push down on the button HALF-WAY and allow the image to focus on something. When I can see that the part of the yarn or object I want to photograph is crisp, I take the picture.

5.) I pop the card into my computer, use a photo program like Microsoft’s built-in fix it tool (it’s part of Windows Photo Gallery) to auto adjust the image brightness and contrast, and my image is ready for Etsy or Ravelry.

And here’s a great “before” and “after” example of what these simple rules can do for you.

Before:

After:

And here are some examples of how different lighting situations can produce different results:

Ravelry Stash Photo – natural lighting, indoors during daytime on bedsheets

Ravelry Stash Photo – artificial lighting, indoors at night on sheet-covered chair

Ravelry Stash Photo – natural lighting, indoors during daytime, use of macro tool for extreme close-up

I know it sounds crazy, but its really that simple. I know that it’s not just me thinking that its easy either, because I was at a friend’s house this weekend playing with her stash and I showed her how to take photos like I do. Now she knows how to as well. Here’s her latest photo:

Ravelry Stash Photo – natural lighting, indoors during daytime on white windowsill

Good luck!

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