Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Photographing Yarn

I decided to photograph some of the skeins of yarn I have in stock for The Irresistible Ewe yarn shop. I'm grateful for the jpegs that Universal is allowing me to borrow for my site, but I'm not able to enlarge them so that the viewer can get the best idea of what the yarn looks like up close. I own a nice camera, but I'm far from being a professional photographer. Also, I'm finding that certain colors, like green, are hard to get a true picture of without the best lighting. In experimenting around my house, I've found the best time and place for natural lighting is my kitchen about mid-morning. By then, the sun is coming in enough to really brighten the off-white walls and give me some true colors. My kitchen table is a good height, but, being stained an antique color, may not give the best background for darker skeins of yarn. Always ready to try another way, I've experimented with placing some skeins on the windowsill, or on top of my laptop - of course, you don't want the logo showing behind the yarn. The only drawback to the windowsill is that it creates shadows around the yarn and may not show the entire skein in the best light. I've also found that a single sheet of computer paper will give a nice, mostly non-glaring backdrop for dark colors.
Lately, the weather doesn't want to comply with my schedule of weekend picture taking. As soon as I get started, the clouds roll in, not to give much-needed rain, but just enough to make me take unwanted breaks. I could go out onto the screened-in porch which has a nice light-colored table and plenty of indirect daylight. But, being in eastern North Carolina right now, this is just not an option with the high tree pollen count. At least everything isn't as yellow as it was about a week ago from the pine trees. I'm just not willing to put my yarn in the outside air to pick up allergens for future buyers.
I have found one more option in the kitchen area next to the stove. We have a large overhead fluorescent light with daylight bulbs. I can drag the trashcan over directly under this light and place a covering over the trash can and get pretty good results.
And it goes without saying , but I'll say it anyway, the same applies to the finished pieces I want to photograph. It pays to take the time to experiment in different locations when you're ready to pick up the camera to share your hard work on your latest fiber piece. With digital cameras, you can just download to the computer, then discard the ones that don't add up to what you're aiming for. No money lost. If you're lucky enough to have a friend or son or daughter to model for you, by all means use them. I haven't found anyone yet to use. I think knitted or crocheted pieces are so much better displayed when actually worn. If you're photographing your work when worn, try to do as much shooting outside if possible. You'd be surprised at how much the sunlight will make your fibers shimmer. So, go out and give it a shot. Happy pictures and I wish you no pollen, clear skies and willing models.

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