Pretty Yarn Shots: A "sorta" tutorial

I've never really come clean about how I feel about photography, are you ready?  For me it's a necessary evil... the reality is that 99% of the time when someone chooses to knit one of my patterns it's not because they saw the finished garment and loved it, they saw the photo of it, right?  This means that if I have a sucky photo no one knits my design... which is sad, and not the point!

I am not a photographer, and for a long time I didn't enjoy the process of styling shots and taking photos, but over the last year I decided that if I threw some money at the problem, and spent some time reading and learning, that I could end up with a photographic style I could love.  I have worked with professional photographers, and adored it, but I find it SO much easier to not have to juggle their schedules with mine and my models. I will say, that if I am the subject I am happy to hire someone to take the shots!!!!

One of my biggest challenges was taking pics at home of yarn and beads for giveaways, cover pages, projects etc.  I've seen GORGEOUS photos of yarn and wanted to be able to recreate that.  Last year Mercedes posted a link on twitter to this great tutorial  for studio photography.  I got out my tracing paper, aluminum foil, and some sunshine and got a few great pics though I did find I had to do ALOT of Photoshopping to get the photos just right.  I ended up with tracing paper covering the windows in my studio for days on end... and pieces of aluminum foil everywhere as I tried to "hang" them to reflect the light... I definitely needed more hands to make it work! (I wish I had a photo of one of these set ups!)

For the holidays I asked my inlaws for this... and OH MY GOODNESS, why did I wait so long?  On a sunny day, in five minutes, a shot was set up in the dining room by the sliding glass door, see?  Kinda ghetto, right?

The inside of the reflector comes out of the cover and is the PERFECT light diffuser.  Then I hung the cover's reflective side to catch light and throw it back on the subject filling in the shadows.  Time to start snapping pictures! I played with the aperture, letting in more and less light to see what would kill the shadows and highlight the yarn best... in the end, a shot I took by mistake with my flash on, in automatic mode, ended up being the ONE. See?  I did NO retouching to this photo besides cropping....
Kinetik Giveaway!
Doesn't this shot make you want to knit with some green yarn and beads?

So, grab your camera, spend $14 on a 5-in-1 reflector... and take some pretty yarn shots!


  1. Thanks for the post! I have used poster board for studio shots before and always wanted a reflector set... Now a few clicks later one is on its way at a great price!!

    Thank you (also) for the effort you put into the post; it's thoughtful of you to share these tips with others!

  2. I had no idea reflectors/diffusers were so inexpensive! At the rate you go through aluminum foil for reflectors that price gets covered pretty quickly...

  3. I am one of those people who don't have any creativity. I rely on those pretty pictures - my mind can't figure something out without pictures or someone actually showing me how. I can though saw I've proudly recreated a designer's lovely design when finished (with a few modifications I'm sure the designer had declined to include!). So that picture makes me say yes I would love to knit something with that stunning green yarn and lovely beads!

  4. Just posted a photo where I attempted the foil trick. I'm going to have to get one of those diffusers. Thank you for the information! blessings ~ tanna