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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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