We’ve all heard, “ A picture is worth a thousand words.” In a world where Pinterest is exploding and Instagram is on everyone’s smart phone, you can’t escape the need for really good photographs…luckily, in this digital age, we can take a 100 photos in order to choose a really good one and it only costs us a bit of time. When you’re presenting a proposal for a workshop, the quality of your photo could make or break your chances in getting Jury votes and later on, student registrations. Let’s imagine I’m proposing a course entitled Bare Naked Bear? No! Designing Knitwear for Teddy.
Subject & Background: Your image must be attractive, inviting and tell a visual story about your workshop! Everything in the composition should add to what you want to say and not distract. Choose only what you want the viewer to focus on in your composition. Keep the background simple or out of focus, remove all wrinkles, creases, pet hair and fuzz.
Lighting: Natural lighting is the best and easiest way to make your photo look great. A table next to a North facing window, or any window that’s not in full sun, in day light will work well. A grey or snowy day is awesome! Turn on all lights in the room to create “fill” lighting.
- Do not shoot directly into the light, position your subject at 90 degrees to the window to highlight the detail and stitches, or have the light behind you and be aware of where your shadow falls.
Focus: The portion of the image you want the viewer to focus on should be tack-sharp. There are several reasons your photo may be out of focus.
- Camera shake is one of the main problems. Some point and shoot cameras and smart phones are so light and portable that the action of pressing the shutter will shake the camera causing the image to be blurry.
- Using a tripod or bracing the camera on a solid surface will help solve this. Small tripods are available for reasonable prices for your camera or smart phone you may also create your own stable camera base. Here’s a very inexpensive and clever DIY bottle cap tripod.
- Another way of eliminating camera shake is to use the delayed shutter setting in your camera or smart phone, or use remote shutter release. (I discovered the volume setting on my EarPods also function as a shutter release when using the camera!)
Choose where you want to focus. Automatic camera settings may choose a different focal point than you would choose to create the best image. experiment with using “Focus Lock”
- Position your subject.
- When framing your subject put the central point of your frame on the point that you want to focus upon
- With the subject in the centre of your image half press down on the shutter button (not fully). This will tell the camera to focus on that point.
- Without letting go of the shutter (it should still be half depressed) move your camera to frame your shot as you want it (ie the subject doesn’t need to be centred now).
- Once you’ve got the framing right press the shutter the rest of the way and the shot will be taken with the right focusing even though the centre of your image might not be your subject.
Take many shots from different angles, use different backgrounds. For this workshop I want the knitted vest to stand out but I also want the bear to be cute and expressive inviting the viewer to take a closer look. Try to view your photo on a large screen, You’ll be surprised to see flaws that were not visible on a smaller screen!
Editing: It’s great if you have Adobe Elements, Photoshop or Lightroom on your computer, however there’s no need to buy editing software. Picmonkey.com is a free online photo editor. There are now also apps for your smartphone or tablet
- ProCam is a camera app that allows greater manual control of your smartphone camera it also allows you to edit your photos.
- Adobe Photoshop (PS Express) is available free of charge.
File Size: Save your image to a file size of 1 to 3 MB
Finally ask yourself and a couple of friends: does this photograph clearly illustrate the project or technique I am proposing to teach? Don’t show the jury a fabulous photo of stranded knitting in a vest if you’re proposing a tam class, don’t send a photo of an appliqued quilt if you’re proposing a strip quilt technique. For further inspiration, google “How to Photograph Knitting Projects”, “Photograph Quilts” or “Photography Tips Pinterest”
Have Fun Creating Great Photos for your Workshop!
photos for this blog were taken by
Alice Seeger of Seeger Solutions Photography