Whew… we’ve made through 3 parts of the 5 part Crochet Design Series. So far, we’ve covered design inspiration, the writing of the pattern, and the whether or not to test your pattern. Now we get to learn about the modeling of your finished project be it my picture taking or video tutorials.
I don’t know about you but I love seeing beautifully placed pictures of finished items. It doesn’t matter if the item is on a live model or is propped. I’m on of those whose attention will be captured by the simplistic beauty of the finished item.
Let’s see what these talented designers have to say about modeling their finished items.
Series 4, Crochet Designing, the Modeling of your Project phase.
Welcome, designers! I want to once again thank you for sharing your time and your knowledge to help others in their journey to designing crochet patterns. Your input is valuable. 🙂
We all know that great pictures attract attention. We try our very best to get the best picture shot that will grab a crocheters attention and make them want to snatch up your pattern quick. Video tutorials can also be a great addition to any free pattern design.
What best practices can you share for successful picture taking that will attract a crocheter? Do you use models, or prefer a mannequin/dress form? If you do video tutorials, what makes you decide to do one? Is it the complexity of a pattern, a rarely done stitch require as part of the pattern?
What best practices can you share for successful picture taking that will attract a crocheter? Don’t use flash, use daylight. Reduce clutter in the background and if it’s a wearable piece, using a model is best.
Do you use models, or prefer a mannequin/dress form? Personally, I prefer a human model because I believe you’re selling a lifestyle or a fantasy of a lifestyle. A mannequin just doesn’t do that as well. I’m usually the only person around to model so I’m usually my own model.
If you do video tutorials, what makes you decide to do one? Is it the complexity of a pattern, a rarely done stitch require as part of the pattern? I do stitch tutorials for rarely used stitches in my patterns and for stitch patterns that most people request. I think a lot of people, like me, learn best with tutorials so I’ll do them for any stitch that tickles my fancy. I also do requests.
This is an ongoing learning phase for me! I prefer natural light and minimal clutter in my photos. I want my designs to showcase themselves although sometimes the use of a prop can really help enhance it, I just don’t like to overdo it! I like clear photos, from multiple angles, if possible, so everyone can get an idea of the work involved. Special stitches and difficult techniques definitely need photos to go with explanations. If someone has to fumble through or are confused by your pattern they are less likely to try another of your designs.
Natural light! Even if you have to take your photos inside, try to get the natural light from your windows. Taking pictures inside under a light bulb makes them grainy and yellow and therefore very unprofessional looking.
Also, do not publish a photo with clutter in the background. Keep them clean. You put a cute sweater on your child and then snap the photos and oops, there’s a shoe and teddy bear on the floor and you can see your trash can in the background. Not at all appealing.
I am by no means an expert in this area, I have some photos that need to be updated and I’m just not the best photographer, but I do try my best to implement those simple tips every time.
As far as modeling, I don’t think live models are necessary. Some great photos can come from mannequin use or even creative displays, like draping an afghan over a rocking chair or even laying a sweater flat on a white background.
Photography is increasingly important as the online world gets more visual. I prefer to take pictures of accessories and garments on a person when possible, and I don’t really have space in my one bedroom New York City apartment for a dress form (especially one that is only being used as a pattern sample model!). As I mentioned last week, I’m also typically rushing to get a self-published pattern out when I have the time available. For these reasons, I tend to use myself as a model. This has the advantage of being free and easy to schedule, but there are also several disadvantages. In the past, I’ve arranged photo shoots with friends or by paying a small stipend to local college students. I took a (fairly expensive) photography class last year that really gave me the confidence to understand my camera and use it to its full capability. If you don’t have the time or the resources to take a class, I recommend The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos.
Making the move into video has been tough for me. I don’t personally learn well from video but rather from audio, reading, and face-to-face interactions. At the same time, I’ve had a lot of requests for videos from my students and from people who read my blog. It’s something I plan to introduce in the near future. Most likely, I’ll start with videos for new patterns as they are released, and as I have more time, I will go back and create videos for more difficult patterns in my existing portfolio.
The most important things to consider when taking pictures of your patterns are to have a clean, uncluttered background and clear images. There’s nothing worse than a photo with junk laying all around in the background or one that is fuzzy and unfocused.
I personally have a very nice, professional camera, but it is not necessary. Some phones even take amazing photos.
I prefer if the models clothes match the modeled pattern (colors, season etc). I like backgrounds like trees, water, brick wall, etc. Something that doesn’t detract from the model.
I prefer live models but I also like my mannequin. I have read that pictures that do not show faces tend to pin better, but I’m still researching this.
Video tutorials are something I have done in the past and plan on starting again just as soon as time allows. I find some people just prefer watching a video rather than reading a pattern. Some tutorials will be made because the stitches are more complex and some will be made to assist beginners with reading patterns.
I’m a HORRID photographer. I usually have to take several pictures in different lighting conditions before I’m satisfied. Different backgrounds in complimenting colors are essential as well. A plain white background looks so… stark. Harsh even.
If the design is clothing, I try to use a human model if I can. People and clothing come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes a person has a better “drape” than a dress form. Also, I don’t OWN a dress form, so for now I kind of have to use a human model. Usually me.
I don’t have any video tutorials of my own. My house is NEVER silent enough to make one unless it’s after midnight, and my day job requires extensive use of my own hands, so I don’t think they’re “good enough” for show. If I need a video link, I’ll share a link to another designer’s (of course citing the designer in the link). I’ll use the link if it’s a “new” stitch that most haven’t heard of or tried before. I try and keep my patterns simple, but I like adding a bit of a twist with a new and interesting stitch.
I believe a good camera really helps in creating a quality image but editing software can really enhance the photos. You don’t have to get the most expensive software either. I use Pic Monkey which has a free version, but you can also upgrade for a small fee of less than $40/year. It is very user friendly and can be a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.
I love to mix how I take pictures. Sometimes I will use a model but the other times, I will use a dress form. I think you have to decide and really sometimes it comes down to timing. I may would like to use my model but she’s not available and the pattern needs to get out…so dress form it is.
Photos is one of the driving forces behind the success of a designer. You can be an awesome designer with the best crochet pieces….but if they aren’t imaged well, the chances of the attracting an audience will diminish. Remember that first impressions are important in this business.
One of my next purchases is going to be a mannequin so I can get better pictures. I have a glass head that I use for my hats and headbands that are adult size and my daughter and son also get featured from time to time as well for kid sizes. I also use my tester’s pics if they are good quality. One of the biggest things is to get good lighting and an uncluttered background. It is a good idea to use mannequins or to have the model facing away when possible as it makes it where the viewer can “see” themselves or their intended recipient instead of the model.
What best practices can you share for successful picture taking that will attract a crocheter? Natural sunlight, a clean backdrop (poster board is great and cheap!), and getting in focus – these things are the key!
Do you use models, or prefer a mannequin/dress form?
Models are usually best, but not always available or cooperative. Having a pretty dress form is a good idea if you can afford it.
If you do video tutorials, what makes you decide to do one?
If it’s a particularly tricky pattern, I might do it automatically, but otherwise it’s usually a reader request!
I love how the main best practices tips were: natural and good lighting, and definitely a cluttered free background. I am one who is very observant and will notice the background clutter and I can get obsessive about some things and how they look. It’s great to see that great pictures have a reduced cluttered back ground.
I hope that you got some great tips from these designers as far as picture taking and/or video tutorials.
Thanks for reading!
Happy Hooking and Much Love,