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Selling your hand crafts online is totally different to selling in a physical shop or craft stall. Your buyers don’t have anything to touch, hold and examine. How do they know that what they are buying is good quality and well made? That’s why it is essential to take good pictures! How else is the buyer going to be sure of what they are buying?
I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve come across an online shop listing or forum post where the poster has posted a terrible photo. You can see that they have amazing craft skills, but the pictures that have been posted just don’t do the item justice. I can promise you that most buyers will simply scroll right on past…that’s not what we want. I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but I’ve certainly learned a thing or two since opening my shop a year ago. So, here are some tips to help you photograph crochet!
1. Light, light, light
One of the keys to a great photo is light. Good lighting will help you to take crisp and clear photographs. You want as much natural light as possible (although not glaring noon day sun, I find morning sun near a window works well). Unless you know how to use a flash (and I don’t mean how to turn it on and off), I would strongly suggest turning your flash off as it can give a horrible glare to your photos. If your flash is going to come on automatically, it means you don’t have enough natural light. Consider building a light box as it helps to improve the contrast of your image and gives it that bright, magazine-esque finish. I used this great tutorial by Flax and Twine.
Below you can see a comparison of a photograph taken with a flash and one taken in natural light. As you can see, natural light gives a much better result!
2. Lose the clutter
Don’t clutter your picture with too many other things. Remember that your product is the hero and it needs to be obvious. If your beautiful handmade doll is sitting in the middle of a pile of other toys, it’s not going to be clear to the buyer. Your eye needs to go straight to the subject of the photograph. I like to use white backgrounds, but you don’t have to stick to stick to that. Just a note that if you venture into the world of color, try and be consistent and don’t use clashing colors or backgrounds that are too busy. Try and pick up similar colors to help make your picture cohesive. In the picture below you can see how the pinks, blues and yellows of the bunny are mirrored in the background.
3. Tools of the trade to photograph crochet
If you have a DSLR, then great, use that! However, not everyone can afford a high end camera, so don’t underestimate your cell phone. Cell phones these days have the most amazing built in cameras and can do a wonderful job of taking pictures. I have a decent Smartphone and a DSLR and I find it so much easier to snap a photo with my phone than I do with my DSLR.
A few tips for using your phone camera to photograph crochet:
– don’t use the digital zoom, rather move physically closer to the object you are photographing or crop your pictures afterwards. Digital zoom is just that, digital (i.e. it’s not actually zooming in). And while it appears to make your image more zoomed in, you are actually just reducing the image quality and your final picture will end up grainy.
– turn off the flash! Natural light is just so much better.
– don’t be tempted to take your photo with some fancy filter. Rather, take a regular photo and then add your filters afterwards.
– make sure your phone is set to take the highest quality pictures
– consider stepping it up a gear with your phone and getting a set of detachable lenses. I’ve got a set from Lifetrons which comes in a lovely little carry case which is small enough to pop in your handbag.
– make sure your crochet item is in focus and not the background!
– it may sound silly, but make sure that your phone camera is clean and not covered in smudgy fingerprints which will show up on your photographs.
4. Edit your photos
Don’t you just hate it when you are trying to capture a picture of an amazing sunset and your photo really just doesn’t look great? You will be astounded at how easily you can adjust an average looking picture to make it just pop. All you need is some photo editing software. You can use something powerful like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, however, if you are just posting the occasional picture then the price tag on these products is probably not worth it. There are also lots of free apps out there (I use one called A Color Story which is free!). Whatever you do, don’t be seduced by all the filters and stickers etc. Adding a few filters is just fine, but you don’t want your photo to look fake or overdone.
5. Consider the types of photo’s you take
When you photograph crochet, instead of taking just one photo showing the whole of your crocheted item, consider breaking this down into a few shots, including:
– A macro shot (a close up) so that buyers can see more detail
– A shot that has something to reference the scale of your item. In other words, take a picture of your crocheted item alongside an everyday item that clearly shows how big or small your crochet item is
– shots covering your product from different angles.
– style your photo’s so that they look neat and intentional. Many of my pictures are taken on my bed, propped up by a sock and surrounded by the chaos of what life is like with a small child. But, with careful angles and some editing, my pictures don’t give that away! 😉
Here are some examples of different types of shots:
SCALE REFERENCE SHOT
6. Practice makes perfect
Don’t expect to get an amazing photo with your first picture. Snap a few pictures and then choose the best ones. Practice, practice, practice!
What tips have you learned along the way? I’d love to hear them!
Yours in craft,
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