Happy Friday! I can’t believe January is already gone and this is the first Friday Finds of February (yay alliteration!). We’re having a snow day in Colorado, the perfect kind of day to be thinking of handknits.
- Alex Tinsley of Dull Roar posted her 7 Tacky Sins of Pattern Photography, and it deserves to be shared far and wide. As a person who spends a lot of time looking at patterns for this column, I can’t tell you how many times I may be missing an incredibly awesome pattern because the photography is really unappealing. You don’t need fancy equipment! Alex provides some helpful hints for getting good shots—this is a must-read.
To that end, I’m going to make notes about the photography for the patterns included in this week’s Friday Finds—things that work, and things that could possibly be improved. (Disclaimer: These patterns were not originally chosen because of their photography and whether or not I could make a point about them, I genuinely was attracted to the pattern itself, but I figure “hey, here’s a potential learning experience.”) Obviously, a lot of reactions to photographs are subjective, but there are some good rules that everyone can follow to take quality project and pattern photographs. And no slagging on the photographers is intended; these are merely things I would be looking at if I were to post pattern photos to Ravelry, and my notes are meant as constructive criticism for anyone taking photos of projects, or anything else, really. Allyson at the Sweatshop of Love posted an in-depth review of a new book, The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos, that could provide more insight.
- I’m in love with this Plotted Piece Blouse by Caroline Fryar is so, so pretty. Normally I try not to include patterns that aren’t currently available for sale—personal preference, I hate seeing patterns come through that are out for testing, because that means THEY’RE NOT AVAILABLE and DON’T ADD THEM TO RAVELRY. Ahem. Sorry. Anyway, I’m including this blouse because it is a) stunning, and b) a good place to start when talking about pattern photography. This isn’t the main photo, but it’s a good full-length shot. You can see that the sky is overcast, which diffuses the light and makes it much softer on the model and the knitwear. A full-on shot, as opposed to this three-quarter shot, would be nice, but you get enough of an idea of the sweater to be able to imagine the whole thing. Also included on the pattern page are a back shot (very nice!) and detail shots of the lace.
- Amari (free) by Marie Grace Smith is a sweet triangular shawl pattern with ruffly lace edge and contrasting bind-off (and again, is not available until March. WTH.) Again, this photo has nicely diffused light, and shows the shawl in an action shot. Also included on the pattern page are a detail shot of the lace (important) and a shot of the shawl when it’s spread out over the back. This one is here because of bonus cute animal.
- Ally Cloche ($3) by Alison Baker is a super, super cute hat. In this photo, the lighting is kind of dark, and this may be a personal Panda preference, but I hate photos that use mannequin parts (especially fake babies; those freak me out for some reason). I completely understand that folks don’t always have a model to hand, but taking the time to track down a friend with great hair for this style of hats would have elevated this photo.
- As we see in this example, Beret with a Bow (free) from Helen Limbrick. This beret is trés chic and retro, and looks perfect on the model. The resolution on the photo is a bit off—you can see that it gets a bit pixelated. Perhaps this is a crop of a larger image that’s distorting the resolution (in which case, just get closer to the model) or a camera or computer glitch. This is simply something to keep in mind when taking photos.
- Blossom (free) by Melissa Schaschwary is a super sweet, cherry blossom–inspired headband pattern, and a perfect accessory for spring, whenever it decides to arrive. Normally I would want to see this modeled on a person, but because the detail on the headband would probably get obscured by a model’s hair, I think posing it on the tree branches works (and carries the motif through the whole photo). I do think the background gets a little busy—fewer branches, and no nest would help—but the lighting is well-balanced and the focus is wonderful.
- I love the stitch pattern on Sand Tracks Cardigan (CAD$6) by Jenise Reid. A subtle chevron pattern with a shawl collar and deep v-neck makes for an uber-wearable cardigan. And this pattern page is accommodating enough to provide multiple photos for making points! In the first photo, you can see how the harsh light blows out part of the pattern and makes other parts of it too dark. In the second, the balanced light really lets the fabric take center stage. You can diffuse light in a number of ways—waiting for a semi-cloudy day, or dawn (if you’re one of those early riser people) or dusk are great times for out door shots, and a white sheet suspended over a window if you’re inside (not ideal, but sometimes it’s snowing outside or something) can also diffuse light. If you’re shooting inside, you can also use a white piece of posterboard or something to bounce light around and even out the lighting.
- I adore Oliver ($4.50) by Jones & Vandermeer. The stitch pattern on this baby blanket is incredibly awesome, and the contrasting edge is just the perfect amount of pop. I don’t really have too much to say about this photo, I’m distracted by the cute! (Cute is always good for photos.)