Friday, August 28, 2020

Flatlay Tips For Beautiful Crochet Photos

 


Hello! Photography plays an important role when you are a crochet designer, indie yarn dyer, knit designer, product photographer, reviewer, etc.......Beautiful photography of your designs, yarn, products, or whatever you are photographing, for your website or instagram account, can be a key factor in getting those sells and capturing attention. Today I have put together a guide on how to get the best flatlay photos of your work and products! Scroll down for the guide! This is only the first in a series of photography guides that I am working on. More coming soon!


Growing up with a dad as a professional photographer, I learned to love photography from a very early age. As soon as I was big enough to hold a camera, I was begging for one and as soon as I got my first camera in my little hands, I realized exactly how much I loved photography. My dad has taught me everything he knows and because of him I have obsessed and learned everything I could about photography. It's in my blood and I absolutely love it. 

I began taking photos of the mountains and beautiful scenery in our foothills of NC and I also loved taking photos of my pets and animals too. After growing up, I moved on to portrait photography and wedding photography. Now, I look back at that little kid and I am so proud and happy that she loved photography so much because now, I use those skills for crochet designing, crochet tutorials, product reviews, videos and more.

Flatlay Photography Guide

Flatlay photos are photos that have been taken from above, looking down on a product. These kinds of photos are very popular in the crochet, knitting and fiber arts communities. 

Camera Equipment

When taking photographs of your designs, works in progress, or products, you can really get away with using just about any type of camera as long as the resolution is high enough for your needs. 

Depending on your needs, you may want to invest in a DSLR camera that you can switch out lenses for different situations, high resolution, and manual controls that can give you more options and control over the final photo. With a DSLR, the most important things to learn are aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Once you have those things down, you can take photos in just about any situation.

Phones and point and shoot cameras can work well too, especially with the newer phones and cameras that are coming out almost daily. If you already own a good phone or point and shoot camera, you may be set for now and you could invest in a DSLR later down the road.

Personally, I switch between my iphone 8, my nikon d3200 and my nikon d5100, depending on what I am shooting or filming for that day.


Lighting

Natural light is always best, especially when you are trying to get true colors, like for yarn.

Do not shoot in direct sunlight. Always use some sort of filter to diffuse the light, such as: shade from a tree, a white curtain, tissue paper or shades over a window, and clouds can help too. I love shooting on a cloudy or overcast day.

Hold camera above and shoot directly below. If you are causing a shadow, you can try going higher and that should make the shadow disappear, in most cases.

I love to shoot indoors, next to a window so that I have filtered natural light on one side of my flat lay and then I add light to the other side by either using s softbox light on a stand or a white posterboard to reflect the light to help with shadows.

When using a softbox light on a stand, I use this kit that I got from Walmart but there are tons of similar kits on ebay and amazon too. I think one of the most important things about using a softbox light with stand is that you use the correct temperature light bulb. 6500K is recommended and I think it works amazingly. I have used "yellower" temperature light bulbs before and they can totally ruin the color of the yarn and can make editing a lot more work. 

I shoot my flatlays in mostly 2 places in my home. The first place is in my craft room under double windows that have shades on them to control the diffusion of light. I will have one softbox light to the right to help with shadows, contrast and sharpness. This setup works really well and I am happy with it.

Yarn is by Knitcrate (use withalex20 for 20% off!)

The other area I like to take photos in, is in my kitchen floor. Again, I will have natural light coming from the kitchen and dining room windows and then I will either use a soft box light or a white poster board to reflect more light onto my lay out. 

In this example, I have taken this photo in my kitchen floor, with natural light coming from the kitchen and dining windows, and then I have used a poster board to reflect more light onto the setup that I created. After capturing this photo, a quick edit and crop was all I needed and it was gorgeous. 


Yarn is by Aquarius Make

In this example, I am actually in my dining area. I used to use this area more before we got more furniture. Now I don't use this area a lot but for this guide, I think this example is a great one.

As you can see, I am shooting this photo in front of my dining room window, but I have pulled back my setup so that it is not in the direct light that is bright on the floor. I pulled it back to where the light was filtered more and then I used a softbox light on the left side to add a little more light. After a crop and quick edit, I think this photo turned out lovely!


Arrangement

Arrangement plays an important role in making or breaking your flatlay and I think this is often overlooked when you are in the moment of creating a beautiful flatlay.

Start with the background. I like to use a plain white poster board, white furry rug or faux wood backdrops. You can also layer rugs over wood or whatever, but I do like to try to keep it simple so that whatever I'm laying on my backdrop, will pop and stand out.

Position each element of your photo in the best way possible. If your tall flowers are creating an ugly shadow on your work in progress, try switching those flowers to the other side and see if you can play with where the shadows fall.

Another thing I like to do is to make each element look like it is really "flat" by tilting with your hands or propping your elements with a napkin or I use anything I can find that’s laying around that will work, to keep it in the correct position.

In the example below, I am tilting the flower pot with my hand and I also have a nail polish that is holding the crochet hook in the correct place. (I am obsessed with being able to see the hook from the side so it looks all awesome and is obviously a hook and not a knitting needle.) My hand will be cropped out and the nail polish will be hidden by a leaf from the flower. And after a quick edit, this photo was instagram ready! So, don’t forget the power of cropping too, especially if you will be turning it square for instagram anyways.

(Use withalex15 for 15% off!)

And remember, you don't have to fill the photo with tons of elements for a beautiful flatlay, oftentimes the most simple will be best! The photo below took only a couple of minutes to setup, shoot and then edit it and it is a very popular photo on my instagram. This simple setup allows the viewer to really focus on the beautiful blue texture of this work in progress and my gorgeous Furls Hook too.

Yarn is Rico Fashion Cotton Light And Long DK from Lovecrafts

Editing

I do not like to overly edit my photos but I do like to correct colors, brighten my photos, and sharpen them. When editing on my phone, I use an app called Snapseed and I think it is absolutely wonderful! I found out about it years and years ago in a facebook photography group and I have tried others but this is the one I always use and always go back to. 

If I'm editing on my computer, I use a program called Corel Photostudio, but there are many for free online and there are tons of other software programs out there. I suggest looking for one that is in your budget and at least does the basics like tuning, sharpening, contrast, color correction and cropping.

Below is an example of a photo that I edited using snapseed on my iphone. I took this photo with my iphone too. I used the healing brush to fix places in the rug, exposure and saturation brush to even out the rug and then I lightened it and corrected the temperature a tiny bit. 

Yarn is Mary Maxim Woodlands Yarn and the pattern is Mary Hooded Shawl

Remember to play around with different techniques, lighting and etc and have fun with it! Photography is a wonderful and fun skill to learn.

And don't forget that rules are meant to be broken. Photography is an art and you are the artist, so if you aren't looking for a true color for your yarn or if you are wanting to add a little flare or whatever and need to shoot in direct lighting and it works for your photo, then that's wonderful, go for it! 

The tips above are meant to help with generic flatlays. Put your on spin on it to make it work for you!

Do you have any flatlay tips or tricks that work for you? Comment below! I would love to keep this guide updated and continue to make it even better in the future!

Until next time, bye and happy crocheting!

<3Alex



Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links.




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