For Your Bookshelf: Heidi Adnum’s “The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos”

Have you noticed our recent bookishness? Well, that trend continues today with a blog-tour visit by Heidi Adnum, author of The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos from Interweave Press. Check below for giveaway details and click here for the tour itinerary.

Heidi’s made her mark on Etsy offering fine art prints and handmade décor called Good Will Bunting, but it’s her photographic skills that have given her an enviable edge in online commerce and made her a go-to resource for photography tips.

The bottom line here:  I LOVE Heidi’s book! It’s my new blogging bible. Seriously.

It’s one thing to write a post, quite another to take the images that capture the spirit of a tale, illustrate a technique, or showcase handiwork. Who will be tempted to read a post if the photos don’t sell the message? (Much less spend precious bucks for a handcrafted item that isn’t drool-worthy.)

Photo by Rodica Cioplea

Of all the hurdles to setting up and running a collaborative blog like ours, photo taking has been among our toughest weekly challenges. Enter Heidi’s instructional guide complete with do-it-yourself accessories and real-world insight from featured artists. I’ve hopes that I can close the gap between my creative ambitions and technical skills now that I’ve perused the book and experimented with her suggestions.

While Heidi’s book tends to focus on photographing smaller crafts and fashion, her insights are equally appropriate for those of us who want to showcase quilts. Luckily, blog tour hosts can query visiting authors so I asked Heidi for advice when photographing quilts. She gave me so much great information that I’m splitting the details into two posts. Check back Friday, February 17 for the next installment–she’ll be covering flat shots of quilts.

What advice do you have for photographing large-scale items, like quilts?

I think in situ and neutral backgrounds are two great options for styling quilts. In situ styling (also known as lifestyle or on-site styling) includes homey settings such as a living room or bedroom, on a wall, draped over a sofa, or folded and stacked on a chair, etc. Choose an uncluttered, not-too-personal setting, moving the prop nearer to the window to take advantage of natural light, if necessary.

Outdoor settings can be lovely, too; just make sure that the lighting is soft and the scene is relevant to the object. For example, you wouldn’t normally hang your quilt over the verandah, but you might drape it over a chair.

Photo by Heather Moore

Neutral backgrounds in whites, soft grays, and natural colors will let the beautiful detail, color, and patterns of a quilt do all the talking. Neutral styling can also include walls, but choose walls without distracting details. Combining the two together, that is, a neutral background with a simple but relevant in situ prop, can give you a clean and contemporary result, similar to what you will often see in higher-end home décor stores, catalogs, and websites.

Using a white wall against a white or concrete floor and one or two simple but classic props, such as a beautiful chair or hanger makes a high-impact visual statement. Photographing a quilt that is laid out on a bed won’t allow the full pattern to show, but it will still give the viewer a good idea of the pattern and composition.

Photo by Helen Rawlinson

Try shooting your photo from eye-level or slightly below and consider framing a side-on view to the bed or diagonally across the bed’s surface from one of the bottom corners, depending on the room layout and quilt design. Check the book for tips on showing the texture of the fabrics that your quilt is made from. H.A.

Now about that book giveaway . . . Interweave Press is generously offering a copy of Heidi’s book to one of our readers. You know the drill: leave a comment by Friday, February 10 for the random drawing and I’ll announce the winner in my next scheduled post the following Friday, February 17.

REMINDER:  The Heartfelt Valentine challenge also ends on Friday, February 10–I’m working on the prizes so you work on your valentines! Click here for challenge details and our Gallery preview.

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39 Responses to For Your Bookshelf: Heidi Adnum’s “The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos”

  1. Pingback: In the Frame: Part 2 of Heidi Adnum’s Perspective on Photographing Quilts |

  2. Kristin M says:

    I would love a chance at this book. I have published patterns before and felt that the cover photo was the most difficult part.

  3. Lea A says:

    Looks like a great book!

  4. Mary Elizabeth says:

    How did you know that learning more tips about photographing quilts is at the top of my to do list right now. Thank you so much for this informative and timely post.

  5. PJ says:

    I would love to win a copy of that book!

  6. kathryn krauthahn says:

    wow this book looks amazing. I often feel like my photos don’t do my crafts justice. This book would be so helpfull!!!

  7. Mousecat says:

    This looks like such a good book!! I need all kinds of help when it comes to taking pictures!

  8. Donna W Russ says:

    I sure could use a copy of this book, taking photos is my worst nightmare, they never turn out right….thanks,

  9. Skwishee says:

    This book would be wonderful to have – I’m just setting up to start selling some of my crafts, and any help with the photography would be great.

  10. Diane says:

    I’m always adoring the beautiful photos of crafts I see on blogs! I hope I can capture some of my crafty moments too :)

  11. Lynn says:

    What a great give away, it sounds like this book is a must have book for bloggers.

  12. We’ve been talking about photos of our artwork lately, so winning this book would be very helpful.

  13. Pat says:

    Would absolutely love to win this great book. Need all the help I can get photographing my qults and other vintage sewing collectibles. Thanks for the opportunity!

  14. Debra Lee says:

    I’m thinking of opening an Etsy shop this year and this would be great!

  15. Carmen says:

    Love the tips in this book! Thanks for the chance to win

  16. Carla Riggs says:

    Clever idea, this book!
    Like everyone else, I’d *love* to have this book. My business is longarm quilting, and while I’ve picked up a few pointers for taking photographs, I’ve wished I had a more professional & polished look to my finished work for my site.
    Thanks for offering this book!

  17. Karen says:

    I’ve been trying to experiment with taking pictures of my knitting and sewing projects, but they just don’t quite turn out how I would like them. This book sounds like an amazing resource! Thanks for writing about it and doing a giveaway. (And if I don’t win the giveaway, then I’ll just have to buy a copy.)

  18. Sarah says:

    I would love to win this book. I have worked to improve my photos, but I have a long way to go!

  19. brenda says:

    i would love to win!

  20. Christina in Cleveland says:

    Thank you for the review, interview and opportunity to win such a great book.

  21. Stacey says:

    This looks like an awesome book. My photography skills definitely need some improvement. Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. Audrey K. says:

    Sounds like a really great book to have. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  23. Karen Duling says:

    I am often photographing my quilts to post on my website, and am in need of some inspiration! Most of my shots are either on the outside clothesline or on my design wall, so there is definitely room for improvement. I think this book may be just what I need!

  24. I love photography but oftentimes run into some trouble. I’d love to hone my skills with this book!

  25. Wendy van Haastregt says:

    Well this is a happy coincidence! I’m in the mood to make some thank-you cards for presenters that come to our guild. I was just thinking about how to take a gorgeous picture of a quilt to put on the front. Ironically, I was thinking about draping it over a veranda (I’d have to borrow someone’s), but I obviously need some direction! Thanks for the tips.

  26. Pip says:

    Would love to be in the drawing for this giveaway, the book looks like it would be very helpful for craft photographers.

  27. Kathie L says:

    My photos are so ordinary. I’d love to learn the secrets of making them better. Kathie L in allentown

  28. Janet Busi says:

    I have a shop on Etsy and could still use more tips on photographing my items. Thanks for offering this book!

  29. Jenn says:

    I would love to learn how to take better pictures of my quilts. I can never really capture the true essence of my project. I hope to win this book and learn how to take better photos.

  30. Kathy says:

    I would love to win this book! As someone who is interested in starting to photograph some of my quilts this would be a fabulous resource.

  31. Sandy says:

    I know I could use lots of tips when it comes to photography, especially when taking photos of small items. Quilts look great photographed in a home setting, but when I look at quilt photos I want to see at least one of the whole quilt—face on without props and not draped anywhere. That way the focus is on just the quilt and the pattern and colors are easy to see.

  32. StephCat says:

    would love to win, thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  33. Colleen says:

    Cant wait to get a copy of this book!!!!

  34. Teri says:

    I like the idea of using natural light from a window to photograph a quilt.

  35. Margie says:

    Always look forward to tips to taking better pictures! Thanks!

  36. Tami says:

    I would love to win this book!

  37. Barbara says:

    Taking pictures has been a challenge. I hope this book could make it easier. Thank you for the giveaway.

  38. Mary Couch says:

    Love all the tips! Great ideas.
    Hugs from Mary

  39. Thank you for sharing this book! My wife is a crafter/sewer and is always asking me to take pictures of her items. I never feel I do them justice. I’m hoping this book will help me do that!

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