Better Photography Through Knitting

I started thinking more about knitting photography last year when I got my Canon Rebel XSi. I think one of the most significant challenges a knitter faces is sharing her work with the rest of the world in a way that gives the work the respect it is due.

When I first started knitting, I didn’t document my projects – at all. And while I still have my first scarf and hat (they remind me that there’s no where to go but up), I don’t have photographs of some of the early things I made and gifted – a few baby hats, a fabulous purse I designed myself, a crochet wire necklace. I wish I had photos of these projects for my knitting portfolio – I don’t think you need to be a professional to warrant a portfolio! – but not badly enough to risk the heartbreak of tracking the projects back down again. If the recipients no longer have these five-year-old gifts, that’s fine. You give a gift and let it go.

Even the early projects that I do have pictures for, the pictures aren’t fantastic. I’ve noticed – especially since starting to try to take much better photographs of my knitting with my new camera – that people really do admire your work more when it is more favorably photographed. The better-photographed pictures get more views and favorites on Ravelry and more comments from my friends on Facebook. Even super-simple projects get wows.

So what makes good knitting photography? Like all photography, ingredient one is good light. Indirect natural light is ideal. A standard flash just sucks the life out of knitting. For instance, this past week I finished the bulk of the knitting for a baby blanket for some good friends. I wanted to get a pic as soon as it was all done, but it was late at night. Lit by a lamp in my apartment, here’s the photo I posted:
Blanket under artificial lights

Now, this isn’t the worst photograph ever taken. It does capture the size of blanket and basic colors. But the colors are just off and look funny. The color combination actually looks a lot better together than this. The photograph, while it contains the basic information about the project, doesn’t do justice to the forty-plus hours of knitting represented there.

I tried again on Saturday morning, using natural light. I think I captured the essence of the project better this go round:

blanket via indirect natural light

This better represents the colors found in the blanket and their relationship. It has a much more interesting angle on the project, but doesn’t give a good sense of scale or allow someone to see my entire project. I’ll be trying to photograph this guy some more over the next couple weeks, and will be sure to document my progress.

About Kristy Lamb

I recently finished my PhD in genetics at Yale and am currently a postdoc at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University in NYC. I love science, people, and the fiber arts. We'll call it my muse. I taught myself to knit over Christmas break in 2002, when I was home from my sophomore year in college and was terribly bored. Despite starting with three big mistakes (very long aluminum needles, a very bad Coats & Clark how to knit book, and Lion Brand Homespun), I kept at knitting, even after that first 1/2 hour trying to tie a slipknot. Science...seems to be much the same process as the above.
This entry was posted in photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s