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When Beth at Plum and June started writing about her Quilt Photography Workshop, I knew I was all in. I’ve struggled mightily with my blog photography. I know the quick shortcut of taking my finished quilts to gimmicky outdoor locations, but I have a lot of dirty little photography secrets.

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The first is that before today, I’d only used my entry-level (Sony alpha-series) DSLR on auto no-flash mode. Yep. I can hear you clicking “unfollow” from here. Above is a fabric stack, shot how I’d normally shoot it. Auto no-flash, natural light, in my bedroom, afternoon sun.

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Here is the same fabric stack, shot after having switched my camera to Aperture Priority mode (A), which allows me to tinker with a few things but doesn’t QUITE set me adrift like Manual mode does.

(For the record, here’s what I got when I switched to Manual.) (I don’t know which buttons to push to make it not do this.) (No, I don’t know where the camera manual is.)

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I kept taking photos, tinkering with three main things: ISO, exposure, and aperture. Much else is beyond my skill set at this point.

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I think you’ll find that many other people in the link-up can provide many more technical hints than I can. I strongly suggest you visit around this month’s Quilt Photography link-up for specific suggestions re: camera settings. Beth herself has a pretty good post up with specific tips.

What do I bring to the table? I really love to stage a photograph. I love combining a fabric stack with other things, and I love to see what kind of mood I can draw into a blog post simply by putting my fabric stack somewhere different.

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First of all, here’s my setup. My main tip is to find a camera angle that leaves out the mess. Really. All that crap was around everywhere, in every single photo I took.

YOUR SPACE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE CLEAN TO MAKE A GOOD PHOTO. You just have to know how to…frame things. Pull right up on that fabric pile. Get in its face.

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(I’ll solve the “why is this yellow-looking?” problem eventually, right? Advice-givers: any ideas?)

One of my favorite things to do is put a fabric or yarn stack right in a sun spot, partly in shadow, and take a photo. Sometimes this turns out bad. Sometimes it turns out great. I love this shot of Tule.

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Here’s Tule with some thread. Thread not in focus, Tule in focus. Love it.

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Fabric + yarn is another one of my favorite combos. The yarn is The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering in Buzz Lighter.

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Fabric + wine? (and perfume?) Buddy. (I promise no day drinking was involved, I put my glass right in the fridge for dinner later.)

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My favorite, though, turned out to be fabric and books. No surprise there. I dashed through the living room and pulled “white” books, piled them up, and got this:

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I had a ton of fun taking these photos, and playing with the settings on my camera. I encourage you to try your camera on a more flexible mode, and play around a bit–every one of these photos is straight out of my camera, and I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but I’m quite proud of several of them. Don’t let yourself be hampered by the no-clue thing. Play around, keep trying, and be proud of what looks good to you. Even if you don’t know what white balance is. (ahem)

Linking up with Beth’s Quilt Photography Workshop. Head over and check it out–many quilt bloggers seem to be photographers first, and there is a wealth of real information to be had.

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