The Photo Finish: Tips For Better Maker Photography - Photography is Light

As a fiber artist and maker I can tell you that there are never enough hours in the day. WIth the rise of social media and the interwebs, it has become more important than ever to have fabulous photos. but um... a photographer I am not. Sure I have learned things to improve and manage on my own, but I also know this is the biggest topic that comes up the most in my fiber groups (besides yarn of course). Well... fear not fiber friends!


A great thing about being part of a community is that we do not have to do it all alone! One of my testers, fiber friends and all around favorite humans Katiusca of Between These Stitches happens to have amazing photo skills and has graciously agreed to share them with us. HECK YEAH! So we are launching a weekly series and I will give my dear gal Katiusca the floor.

Feel free to share in comments your photo tips or any questions you may have!

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I first got started with photography about 10 years ago when I opened my Etsy Shop to sell my handmade crocheted accessories.  At the time I had a point in shoot camera and wanted to really get the pretty pictures I saw many other Etsy sellers had in their shops. I had no idea what I was doing or how to really use my camera but I knew I wanted to understand how they were able to achieve blurry backgrounds (bokeh), or beautifully lit images.  With point and shoot in hand I began experimenting.  It was hard getting those stunning images.  My images were discolored, dark, shadowy and certainly not worthy of any photographic prizes.  But as I continued to play with my camera, and eventually upgraded to a DSLR, I realized that what made the difference between a good image and bad one was light.

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At its core, photography is about light; how you use it, direct it, and manipulate it.  We are drawn to light, how it moves, plays, or even fails to show up.  We all know this because we feel the difference of the quality of light on a sunny day versus a cloudy and dark day.  Yet, we don't always think of light, and how we can use it, until we really need it.  I realized I needed it to take better photographs of my crocheted accessories.  So I dove head first into learning all that I could about how I could manipulate light.  While light is only the beginning of learning photography, it is its essence. 

When I told Michele that I had worked as a photographer, she invited me to help give makers some tips on how to make better photographs.  I jumped at the opportunity to share my love of photography with my passion for handmade items because it was my love of making that drove me to find photography, use it, and make it a part of my handmade work. In a weekly series here on Stitch and Hustle, I will share with you the tips I have learned about photography with the hopes that they will help you take better images of your handmade creations, and even make you a better photographer.  

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With that in mind, I invite you to think about how you use light and how you can use light to take better photographs.  More importantly, I invite you to use your camera, whichever one you have, to see how your camera uses lights to create images. A camera’s main function is to interpret light and to use that light to capture an image. Your camera is equipped with various settings that help it establish the right amount of light to take the best picture possible. Whether you own a DSLR, a point and shoot, or a camera phone, all of these cameras do the same basic function, using light to capture an image.  Most cameras have an automatic setting that will allow you to quickly capture an image.  What your camera is doing when it captures an image on the basic function is using the right mix of settings to take a picture without you needing to do anything but click the shutter. 

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The beauty of photography, however, is learning to use your camera settings so that you determine how an image should look, and not how the camera thinks it should. After all, a camera is a device to be manipulated to your whim, not the other way around.  This week, I invite you to play with your camera and take pictures of one of your handmade items.  In addition to taking pictures with your camera, I also invite you to see how the light in how your house (or wherever you take images) falls throughout the day and take pictures of that same item in different lighting scenarios.  What you will find is that the quality of light changes and that the quality of your image changes. 

I will meet you back here next week to talk about using light in a new way. 

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