Tips for Taking Project Photos, For Sewing Bloggers

Hey, everyone! I’ve read all of the comments on last week’s post  – Who Loves Taking Finished Project Photos? and I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts. It’s rather surprising that many sewing bloggers don’t enjoy getting their photo taken. Don’t you think that’s interesting? It’s the sort of blogging that requires photos, and photos of yourself most likely. Yet you don’t love posting your photo online!

So I thought I’d compile some of the useful tips from the comments of the original post, in case you missed them. If you have anything to add, leave a comment!

tips for taking project photos for your sewing blog

Tips for Taking Blog Photos

Location

Rebecca: I try to schedule a set day each week when I take my pictures, usually when I’m at my mother’s house, the park, the gardens or the beach since I prefer shooting outdoors.

Anneke: I try to make my photos interesting to look at so me and my boyfriend always look for nice locations, but I still feel awkward getting my picture taken. In fact, the preference for desolate industrial landscapes or nature as backdrops isn’t just the cool factor but also the lack of other people there!

Liliana: I do feel very akward photographing myself when other people are around – I prefer ‘abandoned’ places or just ask my sister to snap some photos, because then it’s obvious what we are doing and noone really stares (as if anyone would really care about what we are doing!).

Carlee: I feel really awkward when taking photos so I usually get my hubby to take a few at one of the empty downtown spots we know about or while out on a hike.

Choose what you show

Nita: It doesn’t have to be a full portrait, either…you can focus on the outfit or even just bits of the outfit (bodice, sleeve, cuff) and crop out things like your head, legs, etc. then you can still have the outfit but not the portrait. And it looks fine to do that. And if you’re going to do that, you don’t even have to smile at the camera.

Scuffsan: On my blog I never post pictures of my face, so I never had to consider my facial expression or bad hair days.

Get help from people who like taking photos

Katryna: I actually like taking the finished photos. I like to get a little extra dressed up and play with the concepts a little bit to keep it interesting. I am lucky to have a boyfriend who usually doesn’t mind spending the time to shoot with me. In the beginning I had to teach him tip #2 – he would just snap a single image and go ‘okay, next location!” and I was like…yeah, no, take 20 more haha. If he’s there with me I feel less weird taking photos in the wild.

Sewn by Ashley: I take most of my blog photos with my friend Amy, who is also a sewing blogger.

Kaoru Marie: I’m too self-conscious to take photos of myself in the wild so I limit myself to my sewing room and patio. If I’m visiting my parents, then I can get my photo taken in their backyard, which is a nice change of scenery and my dad enjoys practicing his camera skills ;)

Sarah: I find if I get a friend to do it, it’s so much more easy to smile naturally.

Think outside the box, improve a little at a time, and make the most of your photo day

Karen: I don’t mind taking the photos of my projects as long as I’m not the person wearing them. Luckily my daughter will usually oblige me but it means several projects get finished and have to wait until she has an hour or so free to put them all on and model them. I always use both my phone and a camera (35mm film type) so I have a backup copy of everything.

Anne: I’m slowly equipping myself: I bought my daughter’s camera when she got a new one, I got a dress form, then I bought a cheap tripod… got myself a nice corner in the house and now, from time to time, I have pictures I’m happy with :-)

Deanna: I find that taking photos in bulk bundles works well for me. It just requires planning!

Motivation & final thoughts on the whole process

Gillian: I actually quite like taking blog pictures! Over the years, taking all those blog pictures has actually made me like my looks more, and feel way more confident in front of the camera! I think the big difference for me is that when I take blog pics, I take TONS, which helps me feel like, “Hey, I look bad in that one shot bc I’m blinking/slouched/moving…but there’s one where I look great!” instead of “I looked bad in the one pic so I must be ugly.” I’ve tried having people take my pictures, but I prefer a remote and tripod – that way i can take my time, be silly, try things out, and not feel rushed or self-conscious.

Diane: I don’t have a blog for my sewing, and I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable taking my photo for it, but I will say how much I have appreciated seeing what others are sewing. To see these creations on ‘real’ people is also encouraging…it gives me confidence to sew the garments and feel that I, too, can wear them and look good.

Jennifer: I agree that a mediocre photo is much better than no photo! And I think we should never feel the need to apologise for the quality of our photos – unless you’ve declared ‘I’m an awesome professional photographer’, no one has a right to expect great photos! Most readers care about the sewing, not the photography itself. It only needs to be good enough to show off your sewing. So I guess that’s my tip: make it easy on yourself, do it quickly and don’t worry about it being perfect, and don’t apologise to your readers when it isn’t!

Agreed! Thanks to everyone who shared their tips and thoughts. Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

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25 Responses to Tips for Taking Project Photos, For Sewing Bloggers

  1. Nina July 24, 2015 at 6:24 am #

    This is really helpful – thank you! I’m one of those people that likes the idea of having my photo taken in an outfit I’ve made myself, but then freaks out when I see the pictures, and start berating my looks, so having photos taken specifically to put online has been a bit of a challenge. But like Gillian having zillions taken is helping me accept that a single photo is just that – a snapshot – and if you take enough then there will be those that you like, and that reflect back to you who you want to be.

    • Tasia July 24, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      I like what you’ve said about choosing the photos that reflect who you want to be. Some photos might be OK quality but they don’t look like the way I see myself, weird how that works!

  2. Ofer July 24, 2015 at 6:53 am #

    Thanks for putting this together – it is really helpful. For me, getting a better camera, or even just a better smartphone is still the main issue. For now, I’m working on finding the right people to help out! (and taking pictures of my work without me in it…)

    • Tasia July 24, 2015 at 11:30 am #

      Glad it’s helpful!

  3. Gillian July 24, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    Oooh, one more tip that I thought of: Make sure you get a variety of shots! Close ups, full length, half length, horizontal/vertical, maybe some nearby scenery or a close-up of a plant, detail shots of your accessories, seaming or shoes, short from the front back and side, looking at the camera and looking away… no wonder i take so many pictures! :P That way when i go to write the post I’ve got lots of options to prompt my writing and hopefully it keeps things interesting for the reader!

    Even better, take pics in two slightly different locations, (just a few metres apart can make a big difference!) in case the lighting or exposure turns out better in one than the other. It’s so disappointing to download the pics onto the computer and only then realise that you are totally bleached out or there is a weird thing behind you drawing focus that you didn’t notice! (For example, I just shot pics of a pink shirt in front of a red door bc the red door was so cool… got home and realised the colour was a bit crazy and the exposure was off because the colours were so similar! Glad I also took a few pics in front of some flowers so I had more options.)

    Thanks for doing this round up, Tasia – interesting to read everyone’s perspectives!

    • Tasia July 24, 2015 at 11:30 am #

      These are great tips, Gillian! Thanks for sharing – again! Your suggestion about alternate locations a few metres apart is a good one. Helps to avoid the ‘tree sprouting out of head’ effect, too!

  4. Anne July 24, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    Here’s something I learned for when you’re using a tripod and having issues with the camera focusing on everything but you:

    Set up the tripod, then walk over with your camera to the spot where you plan on standing. Place some sort marker (like a rock) in that spot. Then take your camera and focus on the tripod head. Put the camera back on the tripod and walk back to the spot where you placed the marker. As long as you continue to stay in that spot while the photos are being taken you’ll be in focus.

    • Tasia July 24, 2015 at 11:28 am #

      Thanks Anne! This is a really good tip. When you do this, the camera doesn’t refocus itself on the trees when the photo is taken? The worst is a blurry photo of the clothes, with sharply focused trees behind me :)

      • Anne July 25, 2015 at 3:55 am #

        It shouldn’t, but if it does just enable manual focus after putting it back on the tripod.

        • Tasia July 27, 2015 at 9:25 am #

          Thanks Anne! I appreciate your tips.

  5. Sewer July 24, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    Is wanting privacy surprising? I can’t read the previous post. I keep getting a log in screen.

    • Tasia July 24, 2015 at 11:26 am #

      Ah, thanks for pointing that out! I fixed the link.
      I don’t think wanting privacy is surprising, I think what’s interesting is choosing to write a sewing blog, but not enjoying the self-photography part. That’s what I found interesting – that so many people are writing sewing blogs now, but many of them don’t actually like the photo-taking part! You’d think (or I’d think, anyways) that all these bloggers really love taking their own photos.

  6. Amy G July 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    As so many of us are so hard on ourselves and the way we look in photos I was reminded of when I used to put together catalogues for an outdoor clothing and equipment company. We did photo shoots where we would take literally thousands of photos to get enough for the catalogue. Maybe one in twenty might be usable. Blinking, weird expressions, hair blowing in faces and that’s with professional models. So as most of us sewers probably aren’t pro models we should definitely cut ourselves some slack!

    • Tasia July 27, 2015 at 9:28 am #

      This is a really good point! Modelling is not as easy as it seems, there’s more to it than just smiling for the camera. It takes skill and awareness of your body and face, and most sewing bloggers don’t want to be models one day, they just want to share photos of their work. We did a few photo shoots with pro photographers and me as the model, and then started working with professional models. The ratio of good photos went way up when we started using models as opposed to me, and that’s with skilled photographers taking the photos! So yes, you’re right, let’s not be so hard on ourselves. :)

  7. Patrick Minor July 25, 2015 at 5:12 am #

    What a perfect timing to come across this post. I just started a blog and I worry that my pictures are terrible quality. I can rest assured that they’re better than nothing. I haven’t any finished projects to photograph yet but I’m thinking of finding friends of mine that are budding or aspiring photographers to help me out.

    – Patrick Minor

    • Sophie-Lee July 25, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      I wish I had budding photographers to rope into it – good experience for them, good photos for you! Otherwise I agree with Gillian – the trick seems to be to take WAY more photos than you’d ever need. On a bad day only 1 in 20 will be “good enough” (and more like 1 in 10 on a good day). My husband gets sick of it so we usually end up with about 60 photos

      • Tasia July 27, 2015 at 9:24 am #

        I know right? Though even then, you’d have to keep asking and I’d feel so annoying calling up photographer friends every time I wanted to write a blog post. 60 photos is a pretty good output from your husband, considering he’s probably not into it. :) At the rate of 1-10 or 1-20 that’s 3-6 usable photos at the end of it all.

    • Tasia July 27, 2015 at 9:25 am #

      That’s awesome that you’ve started a sewing blog – there aren’t many written by men (at least, in comparison to the number of women writing sewing blogs) so it’s cool to see more men getting into sewing! I’m glad you stopped by with a comment. :)

  8. Birgit July 25, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    This is a great post, very helpful! Thank you for taking the time to put it together!

    • Tasia July 27, 2015 at 9:24 am #

      Glad it was useful!

  9. Nedoux July 28, 2015 at 5:54 am #

    Hello Tasia,

    I’ll admit that I used to be quite camera shy when I first started blogging. Then I noticed that when I started putting up posts of my sewing projects without cropping my face, readers
    seemed to find my posts more engaging.

    I’ve learned to use the close-up setting on my camera to capture specific detail about both the sewing process and on the finished garment, to carry my readers along.

    Great tips, thank you!

    • Tasia July 28, 2015 at 9:32 am #

      That’s interesting! It makes sense though. I’d feel like I am looking at you, rather than just your clothing, if I can see faces. Especially if you’ve never shown your face before! I enjoy detailed shots as well and try to remember to share them as well as the big picture. Glad the tips are useful!

  10. Mai T August 1, 2015 at 5:31 am #

    Hi Tasia,

    I think it is great to show our own “masterpiece” in front of the lens of camera. It is also important to know how to perform the beauty of our products effectively.

    Great post, thanks for your sharing!

    • Tasia August 4, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it!

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