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3 Simple Steps To Take Great Photos of Your Weaving

This week our Community Coordinator Emma Rhodes is sharing some DIY tips and tricks for photographing your studio process and projects using your phone and a few simple apps for editing.

Tip #1: Photo Editing Apps

When editing iPhone photos I like to use Snapseed and VSCO. (Also available on Android and Google phones).

Snapseed is a free software that can be used to tune images (brightness, contrast, etc) and also has a very useful feature called selective editing. With selective editing, you can adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation and structure (sharpness/clarity) on any specific area of a photo. For a full Snapseed editing tutorial, check out this article on the iPhone Photography School website

After editing in Snapseed, I open the image in VSCO to apply a filter (see some recommendations below). VSCO is also free, but you can upgrade to a membership for $19.99 USD per year and have access to all of the filter collections. Once you have selected the filter you would like to use, tap it to adjust the strength on a scale of 0-12. I usually set the strength to about a 6 or less so that the affect is subtle. For a full VSCO editing tutorial, check out this article on the iPhone Photography School website

Getting Started with VSCO Filters -

AL1 LED Soften - Correct overly yellow and orange hues with AL1 to achieve a softer, more inviting scene.

AL3 Florescent Soften - When shooting under fluorescent lighting, such as in stores or warehouses, use AL3 to downplay the green and pale tones and realize a more natural coloring.

C4 Chromatic - Inspired by the aesthetic of early color photography, The Chromatic Collection embodies the bright and bold look of mid-century analog film.

S1 Bright + CleanFlourishing with brightness, S1, S2 and S3 generate splendid skin tones and achieve optimal results when paired with portraits or scenes with lighter backgrounds.

Example 1 - Easy

Here is an example of how I edited the photos for our Costal Linen Tea Towels project using Snapseed and VSCO. 

In the "before" photo, you can see that there is an overall yellow tone in the white background (my kitchen table) and the woven cloth. To correct this, I used the selective editing tool in Snapseed to remove the saturation from the white background, and adjust the brightness and contrast in the cloth. 

Next I opened the photo in VSCO and applied the C4 filter and adjusted the strength to about a 5. This example is very subtle, but it demonstrates how even the smallest changes can impact the quality of the photo. 

Before 

After 

Example 2 - Intermediate 

Here is an example of how I edited photos of the Color Field Scarf using Snapseed and VSCO.

In the "before" photo you can see the same yellow tint as the photo above and also the edge of the table. To correct this I used the "Healing" tool in Snapseed to fill in the white background on the top two corners, followed by the selective editing tool to remove the saturation from the white background. 

Next I opened the photo in VSCO and applied the C4 filter and adjusted the strength to about a 3.

Before

After

Example 3 - Advanced

This example of a photo taken for the Weaver's Playbox is the most dramatic of the three, so I recorded two brief videos of the editing process (see below). From start to finish it took about 3 minutes to edit this photo.

Using Snapseed I corrected the yellow background with selective editing, adjusted the brightness and contrast in the scarves and then tuned the brightness and contrast of the overall image. 

Next I opened the image in VSCO, applied the C4 filter and adjusted the strength to a 4.9. I wanted a little more contrast, so i adjusted the contrast once more.

Before

After

Tip #2: Setting the Scene

Create a photography set up at home with the help of a few simple props. Home Improvement and craft stores are full of supplies that can be used for photography -- have fun and get creative!  

Here are a few recommendations and examples of how they can be used:

Foam Board - a clean white surface that reflects light well and is available at most craft supply stores 

Plywood - available in manageable 2' x 4' sizes at most home improvement stores and can also be cut to custom sizes

Paper - add interesting textures and backdrops to your photos with decorative papers that can be found at stationary stores such as Paper Source

Frame/Loom on a textured paper background

Duet with a wood and paper backdrop

Duet with a wood and paper backdrop

Final photo

Tip #3: Lighting 

                     
                     

This summer I took these photos of the Allyson Rousseau Wall Hanging Bundles with a piece of foam board on the porch. The natural daylight and direct sun created these bright photos with unique shadows. Natural light is always best but there are solutions for times when you do not have access to it. 

EMART 400W Umbrella Lighting Kit - This super affordable kit will help to brighten, diffuse and soften the light in your home for a better quality photo. 

Foldio2 - For smaller items (like yarn!) try this compact, foldable, LED photo studio. 

Do you have tips and tricks you use to take great photos of your weaving? Please share them in the comments below! 

January 21, 2019 — Emma Rhodes

Comments

Elizabeth Springett

Elizabeth Springett said:

Really great information. Love the video! Thanks!

Lynn Tomczak

Lynn Tomczak said:

Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time and generously showing and sharing how you tweak your beautiful images and make them even more gorgeous and appealing! Blessings!

Kathleen

Kathleen said:

This is very helpful! Thanks so much!!

Katherine Ball

Katherine Ball said:

Thanks for sharing these useful tips. I used to use VSCO years ago and then forgot about it. I’m happy to be reunited. Great blog post as always, GIST yarn

Emily Hitz

Emily Hitz said:

This is so informative, thank you. It goes beyond all the other articles I have come across.

One thing I found interesting was the last bit where you have the outdoor light shot and talk about the interesting shadows. Where I’m at in my learning, my understanding was to avoid strong direct light specifically because of sharp shadows like these. But I think this goes to show that there’s not one set of rules, and all these components can be used to good or poor effect.

Similarly, in the past, the generic product photography articles I read indicated that NO shadow was desirable, but I have observed that, particularly in the world of modern fiber/textile art on instagram, a dramatically side lit photo has a very… sensous effect that people love, as do I. But even for those photos where the lighting is doing great things, the other aspects (coloration and the rest) need to be just right for it to be a great shot.

Lu Ross

Lu Ross said:

Thank you so much for these hints!

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