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photography tips For sewing bloggers

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In light of being nominated for the Craftsy Blogger Awards, I thought it would be appropriate to explain how William and I take photos for Lucky Lucille. After all, it is an award for best photography on a sewing blog that we’re hoping to win! Before you say “hey wait a minute, she doesn’t even take all her own photos”, let me explain that I still plan, direct, edit, and blog my photos. Yes, Wil does a fantastic job of capturing my vision, taking direction, and pushing that button, but it’s still a team effort to do what we do.

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Why do I care so much about photographing my sewing projects? Well, long story short: I got bored and frustrated with trying to take photos all by myself with no tripod and no remote. I also got bored with my sewing and with my blog when I only took photos in my sewing room or back yard. I wanted photos that told a story and had some depth. I knew my blog would never remain interesting to others if I couldn’t even keep my own interest with the content I was sharing. So I set out to change that and asked Wil to help me. I still shoot my own tutorials and garment construction photos, but any shot with me in it, Wil gets the credit for.

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Basically, this is how we work: I sew a garment that I want to share. Wil and I drive around and find a location either on a whim, or based on some kind of plan for the shoot. I give Wil some ideas as to the theme or general feeling I want to convey with what I’ve made. I also tell him what “must have” shots I need in regard to garment details. Then I let him do his thing for a few minutes to warm up and check lighting. We both review those few warm up shots together and discuss what we like and don’t like. If I’m really having a hard time explaining the shot I’m looking for, I’ll actually have Wil stand in my place so I can take the shot I want and he can recreate it. About 100-400 shots later (yes we take that many photos for every shoot!), we’ll go home and I’ll start selecting and editing the photos I want to share here. Wil actually doesn’t get to see any of his shots until they’re live on Lucky Lucille, so he gets to see the story for the first time along with you!

So what does that all look like in practice? Well let’s break it down in photo form!

First I think about what story I want to tell with my photos. With my 1942 Sears reproduction outfit I wanted to portray a WWII farm girl, but sometimes garments don’t need a story as much as they just need to convey a feeling. For example: did we capture the brisk warmth of Autumn in this shoot? If you can feel the location through the photos, then we did our job. Think about your location and consider props to help you capture the story.

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Wil usually does a great job of capturing my visions for the shoot, but sometimes I just don’t do a great job of explaining myself. So I’ll have him stand in my place, and I’ll take the shot so he can see exactly what I want! Obviously, taking blog photos with your significant other is totally different than shooting professionally! In a professional setting I wouldn’t be modeling and directing, and I would trust my photographer to capture what they envision as the best shots. But in this case, yeah, I’m going to ask Wil to stand in for me so I can show him how I want to look in my own photo.

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When I use the term “edit” I mean downloading all 100-400 photos into my computer and weeding out the good shots from the bad shots. Bad shots are any photos that are blurry, have light that’s too dark or too blown out to fix, or shots where I’m blinking or making a stupid face (which is usually A LOT of shots haha!). After the bad shots are deleted, I go through a second time and pick the shots that really speak to me. The “speak to me” shots have depth, movement, focus (both literally and subjectively), and mood. I try to pick at least 10 to 15 “speak to me” shots to then import into Photoshop for further editing. Now, Photoshop gets a bad reputation because people tend to equate it with airbrushed faces and making people look 25 years younger. (First of all, I do not airbrush my face, and if I looked 25 years younger I would be a fetus.) Let me show you how I use Photoshop and then you can judge me accordingly…

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By amping up the brightness, I have turned this decent shot into a “Wow!” shot. These are the photos that Wil gets compliments for, and yes he 100% deserves them, but again, it truly is a team effort.

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of free photo editing tools and action filters you can use to help enhance your photos (utilize Google search!). You can also try Photoshop for free to get your feet wet before making the investment.

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Another thing that’s important for sewing/craft bloggers is to take photos of your creative process. It helps you create more content for your blog by breaking your projects down in pieces, and your readers will really enjoy taking that start-to-finish journey with you.

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Wil and I are not professional photographers. We’ve scoured the internet for tutorials and online classes to help us get better and we laugh at our failures along the way. Which brings me to my next tip:

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When you take blogging really seriously, it’s easy to get all worked up about photos. I’m totally guilty of being a brat when the lighting isn’t right or I can’t seem to find the good side of my face. But at the end of the day, taking photos should be fun! Especially when you’re shooting with someone you care about. You’re at an advantage when someone you feel comfortable with is behind the lens, so relax and enjoy it! We definitely do.

(read Photography Tips – Part Two!)

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*UPDATE – I won! Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who voted!! xoxo*

So with that said, William and I have been nominated in the Craftsy Blogger Awards for Best Photography in Sewing, and I think we deserve to win. If you found this post at all inspiring or helpful, please consider voting for us! The polls close at 1PM (MT) on October 28th. Click this link and scroll down to the second ballot box titled: Sewing – Best Photography. Click the vote button under the Lucky Lucille logo (all other options will dim), then enter your email address, and click the button to submit your choice (make sure the box is checked to vote in this poll!). If you have voted correctly, you will see a light blue image with a boys face that says “thanks for voting!”. You will also see the voting percentages. The winner is determined by number of votes, but only one vote allowed per person.

I don’t typically get caught up in awards and competitions, but it’s such an incredible honor for Wil and I to be nominated for our efforts and we really want to win!

We need your help.

xo
Rochelle

p.s. We shoot with a Canon EOS Rebel T3 in case you’re wondering.

 

 

Feedback

46
  • ThreadTime

    Fantastic post with great info.

  • bernieandi

    Thanks so much for this article! Your photographs are so inspiring! I really must put more effort into photos for my blog, because they are always kind of naff haha!

  • Sarah Rozelaar

    Your tips are great, I think I like the one about just having fun the best as I think sometimes I forget my pictures can be more playful.

  • tworandomwords

    This is gold, thanks – I’m going to send it to my husband, who takes about 20 pictures (almost all of which are of me making silly faces). He does seem more interested in taking photos of the animals than me.

    Seems like an excellent excuse to go for a drive or a walk though!

  • Nadine

    Great “Outtake-shots”! :-D As I already wrote: you guys are doing a great job!!! :-)

  • Kelly

    This is such an interesting post! You put so much thought into your photos… it’s neat to read the tips but the post has just confirmed that I will never have enough time for this sort of blog photography! You make a great team. Good luck!

  • poppykettle

    Lovely to read through this – because I really enjoy your (and Will’s) photos. I hope you win, because I definitely think you’re the best shortlister in that category :) ps – I’d love to know what lens you guys use (or use most?) xx

  • Apseed I

    Wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing!

  • Hope

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! I need to work on not being lazy and taking more “creative process” pictures!

  • Ainead

    Great tips! Thank you. I’ve put my vote in for you – very best of luck!

  • sallie

    Great tips Rochelle!! And good luck with the competition! You and Will definitely deserve it!

  • Shannon

    Thanks for this! As a new sewing blogger, I’ve always admired the photography on your blog. Unfortunately, I don’t have someone to take photos for me, or time to drive somewhere for a photo shoot, so usually it’s just me, a tripod, and a timer, in my backyard.

    PS: I’m off to vote for you right now, because you totally deserve to win!

  • Sarah

    great tips! and I forgive you for not putting my pictures in your slide show ;)

  • andrea

    Have just voted! Great post thank you!

  • tillybuttons

    Great post! I loved reading about what you and Wil get up to behind the scenes to capture such gorgeous photos. You do such a great job of it. I wish I had a helper for my photos. I’m also far too scared to take photos outside, you get heckled where I live! x

  • spinneretta

    You both do a great job :) Some of your photos are almost like paintings too!

    Two other editing software (free) that I have liked are paint.net and Gimp. There are others (I think Inkscape is the other) that I have heard of, but these are the ones I know artists have used and enjoyed for their art! Paint.net has add-ons you can use and Gimp has a photoshop emulator!

    You definitely deserve awards for your photography! I do have two photography related questions…

    1. Poses. How do you decide on a pose, and which poses are best?
    2. Lighting: how do you choose the best lighting? My photography skills are based more in capturing something to be turned into a painting later- so I opt for strong early morning or (my favourite) late afternoon lighting. What do you prefer for highlighting an outfit (obviously in the studio it is different LOL)

  • symondezyn

    Great post, thank you!! You really work hard to create beautiful photos for your blog and it shows – you have my vote!! :)

  • My Sewing Suite

    Thank you, This was really helpful. My teenage daughter usually takes my photos and her interest and patience is not always the best.. My hubby means well he just doesn’t seem to get very many in focus.I have a tripod and may try setting it up and snapping the timer or a remote.
    I voted already, hope you win.

  • Sharon

    I’ve always loved your photography so thanks for the inside info! I hope you win!

  • Nisse

    Thank you for these tips! They’re both helpful and inspiring. My boyfriend helps me with taking photos of the things I made and for me it works so much better than taking pictures myself with a tripod. Your post made me realise that I really must put more work in the “story” photos need to tell. Good luck with the contest!

  • Janey Moo

    It’s so easy to look at photos and forget all the work that goes on behind capturing an image. Great post and hopefully my vote will help nudge you closer to winning!

  • Kirsty

    Your photos really are great and you deserve to win. Great post.

  • delightfullypeculiar

    These are great tips, I need to get the boyfriend trained to get outside, but I completely understand what you mean with Photoshop, some of the lighting effects, that do not distort the original picture, give it extra magic. I discovered you only recently but it’s hard not to notice how beautiful and well thought your pictures are and now I know why ;) You have my vote.

  • Siri Andersen

    Thanks for this useful post :) I am considering sending my hubby on a photography course now….!

  • Anne W

    Thanks for all the tips, hope my vote helps you two to win!

  • Anthea

    Thanks for sharing some more information about how you’re taking/editting pictures!

    At the moment I’m considering to take pictures outdoors, but I’m still a bit anxious about it. Stupid he.

    But this really inspires me to go out next time when I have finished a sewing project.

  • Amy

    I love this sneak peek into your photography. Good luck! And, just as a follow up about Photoshop – there’s also a freeware program out there called Gimp that does a pretty good job as well.

  • F. K.

    Thank you very much for sharing your tips! I am working on improving with my remote and tripod haha, but I am improving. ^.^ Your photos are amazing and you have my vote!

  • Jessica Cangiano

    This is such a fun, excellent post! I actually have one written and slated for the very near future about this subject on my blog, too (I keep getting requests for it, plus it’s just a flat out fun topic to discuss). How cool that we’ve both been thinking about and writing on this subject lately. You and your honey share much in common with me and mine. Tony takes all my vintage outfit photos, then I do the sorting and (usually minor) editing. Tony certainly knows how to do so himself, but I enjoy the process and it saves him a fair bit of time (of which he has precious little most weeks). The arrangement works great for both of us. It’s really cool to know that there are other bloggers out there who follow the same roles in their blog photo taking + editing relationship.

    You two absolutely deserve to win and I hope that my wee vote helps get you there.

    ♥ Jessica

  • vintagezest

    These are great tips! Unfortunately, I usually shoot on my dress form to avoid buying a tripod/remote. If I can bribe my guy to take pictures of me one day, I will DEFINITELY use these pointers!

  • Amy W

    I finally got a friend to take pictures for me this weekend. It’s on my iPhone instead of a real camera but it’s 1000% better than before.

    Thanks for the helpful tips!! I tend to be the “just get the point across” type person and not the “what feeling are you wanting to envoke” type person. I think bringing the feeling into it will be very good for me.

  • Stacia

    This was both helpful and encouraging. Thanks for the great tips!

  • Nessa

    Great blog and your photos are always pleasing to look at. Thanks for the post – I’ve voted!

  • Tasha @ By Gum, By Golly

    Your photos are always so magical. You’re really, really lucky that Wil is such a great photographer and willing to work with you on all your ideas. And you’re also really lucky you have so many wonderful photoshoot locations near you. :)

    My fingers and toes are crossed for you with the contest, you guys totally deserve it!!

    • Susanna Di Milo

      Hi your photography does tell a story, and it is why I love to come back and see what you are up to. I am sure your blog is going to be a winner, you make a great team.

      This post gives us insight to the thought and time you put in to make the blog interesting for your readers – I am sure you deserve to win – good luck

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A Blog By Rochelle New

I'm a fabric wizard and wielder of needles with a passion for quilt industry cottons, bygone eras, and natural things.

i.e. I mostly do nerd things like pretend I'm a wizard, collect moldy books, and spend too much time picking up acorns in the woods, all with my spirit animal (a dog named Lucille), my personal photographer (a man named William), and a few literal fat cats in tow.

Making magic and messes in the backwoods of New York.

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