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How in the world can I take pictures of my crochet items that ACTUALLY look good?
I have found myself asking this question so frequently that it was time to research it and come up with a plan.
Many of my crochet pictures were…well…just ok. There was nothing to really stop someone from scrolling by or doing other than saying “yeah…that’s kind of cool”.
If you are trying to showcase your project or even trying to sell on Etsy, one of the top things to do to increase engagement is the picture. In this blog post, we are going to talk about a few things that we can do cheaply to take our product pictures.
Most smartphones (both android and apple products) come with a high-performance camera already built-in. Using a white foam board and poster board, we can create a studio in any room you have. With a few quick settings on your phone to take the picture and with editing, a product picture can go from a 2 to a 10 instantly.
How to prepare the shoot
Preparing your shoot will only take a few cheap items that you can get from any store and many of these items can be found at the dollar store.
Building your set is going to require 3 things:
|Flat Surface||Need to find something that is flat and enough room for the product and materials to take the picture. This can be as simple as using your floor space, desk, or even a counter.|
|Plain Background||Get a solid white form board (like we used for our science project boards) and a solid white poster board.|
|Even light source||This part is super important. Find a space that has even light. This could be outside on a day with an overcast or a room that has even light. For me, I like to take pictures during the day in a room with the lights off. I set up my desk in the middle of the room with light coming from the window only.|
Position your products
Make sure your product is clean and camera-ready by removing any loose threads, stickers, or tags that you do not want in photo.
For crochet specifically, there are many different positions/views that you can take from straight down, at an angle, to even finding a stand to lean the product against.
If you have a hat, stuff it with tissue paper to make it look full.
Get your phone camera ready
As crazy as this sounds, do a quick clean of the camera lens. So many fingerprints take over our phones! If you have a case that is extra sparkly, it may be a good idea to remove it prior to the shoot to avoid a shadow from the case.
If you find that your hands not steady, look at a cheap tripod. Check out this Amazon Find for a tripod that can adjust in height and has a holder for your phone.
We do have a few DON’Ts that are super important to keep in mind.
- Don’t use the zoom on the camera itself. On a phone camera, the zoom can make the image quality worse when you zoom in. Instead, physically move in closer to your product.
- Don’t use the flash. There is an option to turn off the flash (usually at the top).
- Don’t use filters. Filters are amazing and fun to use but for product pictures, it is best to stay with a natural look. We are going to edit (or post-process) or pictures where we can add a filter later.
Want the grids?
From your iphone, head to settings – camera – composition – turn on grid
From your android, open the camera app and tap the downward pointing arrow at the top of the screen. From the pop up – tap the gear icon. Tap Grid Type and select the grid option.
It’s super easy to focus on a specific spot with your camera. Line up your shot and tap the screen where you want the camera to focus.
White balance (and exposure).
For many cameras, the white balance/exposure (brightness of picture) will automatically set based on the lightening of the space and it usually does a great job of guessing this setting. But…there are times that you may want to adjust.
The iOS camera comes with AE/ AF Lock, exposure, and focus locking feature. This tool allows you to select the focal point of your image and lock it in while you frame your shot.
The AE/AF lock tells your camera what the main focus of the image is, decreasing the odds that you’ll have a blurry picture or lose detail in your shot.
This is important when you’re taking a photo in changing light, with moving subjects or in high-contrast settings!
To use the AE/AF lock on your iPhone:
- Turn on your camera
- Select the focal point of your picture by pressing and holding it on the screen.
- A yellow square will appear on the screen.
- AE/AF Lock will also appear at the top of your screen, letting you know your focal point is locked in.
You can also drag your finger up or down to adjust the exposure of your image.
And if you are like me and wanted to know the difference between white balance and exposure…this is what I found.
White balance determines the neutrality of the balance of RGB values (or colors) and exposure determines the darkness/lightness.
The camera photo app does a great job of auto setting the white balance and gives you control over the exposure. If you are saying…take me to the next level…take a look at the app called Camera+2 which gives you more control over your settings.
But…for the mass majority of what we are trying to do, the camera settings as they come will do the job.
Taking the pic
Play around with the different angles, placement of the product (center vs. to the side), and close-ups. One of the very best things about crochet items is the texture or design. Get that close up which will make the color and design pop!
Fill the frame with your product! Don’t be afraid to get super close to the product and frame it.
Use the rule of thirds. This is a handy trick that many photographers use as a hack to help structure a photo and where the focal point of the image is placed at a point along the grid.
Easiest way to do this is to structure the photo any way you like and put the focus point on of the line intersections in the grid. For the best effect, try centering the main focus point on one of the vertical or horizontal lines, or offset the product by placing it at a grid intersection on the top or lower corners.
Editing on your Phone
Once you have taken your pictures, it is time to edit. There are a million ways to edit an image/picture but for this post, we are going to focus on 2: editing on your device and on a PC.
When editing pictures on your phone, I would recommend using the editing options directly in the camera app that comes with your phone. There are several free and paid apps that you can get but many will find that the camera settings does a great job of getting a product picture that just works.
For Iphone users, click on your camera app and the last photo you took will be at the bottom left hand corner. Click on this picture will display this picture. You have the option to swipe across the screen to sort through your images or can click on “All Photos” in the top right hand corner.
Once you have found the picture you want to edit, click on edit.
When making edits, start small. Overdoing a setting can result in harsh, flat or overexposed images. That being said…don’t be afraid to play around. There is an option to revert the picture back to the original state if things go too sideways.
Want more settings past the camera app? Check out these free apps:
- PS Express
Many of these apps have sections that require payment or a membership. Highly recommend trying out the free version and if it is one that you really like, then review adding the paid components.
Want to edit on your computer?
Check out Ipiccy.com. It’s free and very user friendly.
Wrapping this one up!
The best advice I can give…..Just start. Play around with your location of the settings, props, and camera settings. Try out a new app for your phone with editing the image…tons of free ones!
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