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July 31, 2012

When a designer is not a photographer. . . . . . .

Have you ever wondered who takes the photos for Little House?  The answer is, I do.  And it isn't easy!  I have had some very nice compliments over the years from stitchers and shop owners on the photos for our covers but in my mind they are never quite good enough.  They either don't capture the details, the colors seem off or the composition is all wrong.  

Just recently a shop owner called on the coloring for the photo "Old Nantucket."  We had a wee of a time trying to figure out if the colors for the house were labeled wrong on the chart or if it was just my photography.  In the end, it was the photograph.  The house itself was the only main color that looked off from the actual model and everything else looked fine.  Why is that?  Does anyone know?  I'd love to be able to bring you covers that would look exactly like the finished piece you are stitching.  

Some of the more difficult fabrics to photograph are grays and greens.  And don't get me started on the gingham checks!!  lol. . . . The greens look grey and the grays look green. Help!  Are there any stitchers that can offer advice as to how to get all the colors looking as they should in the photograph?  I'm open to suggestions.  :)

Happy Stitching,
Diane

37 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I was wondering that myself when I got the floss for the design! I'm glad it wasn't just me! :-)

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    1. LOL. . . . . I've bought patterns and felt the same way so I know what you mean. :)

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  2. The only explaination that I know to color correctness is that the underlying tones in the item being photographed come through and effect the final result.
    I use to do a lot way, way back in high school with costume design for plays and musicals. I had to learn alot with how certain colors looked under stage lighting so that individuals didn't get washed-out. I also did a lot of photgraphic modeling when I was a teenager and went through a professional modeling school where they taught us about applying makeup for photography and how to highlight and contour your face to get the dramatic or demour look in the final picture shot
    Hope that explains a little more for you.

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    1. I agree. . . underlying tones play a big role. I've noticed that in family photographs too. Also, since I only use natural light, the morning light is one color and the afternoon is another so I try to shoot mid-morning.

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  3. Diane,

    I am working on this piece currently. Is there a color you suggest to get the color similar to the photo?

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    1. Stitch it as the pattern states. . . .you'll love the outcome!

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  4. Have you thought about contacting Paulette from Plum Street? She does fantastic photograpy. Maybe she would have some wonderful ideas about how to help with the color issues. She was my inspiration to take my camera off the "auto" setting.

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    1. Yes I have. . . . in fact I am hoping she'll return my phone call soon!

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  5. Hi Diane,
    I don't know what kind of camera you're using, but if it's a dSLR, check into setting a custom white balance. That should help, if not completely correct the problem. :)

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    1. No matter what the color - your patterns are awesome ....and even with hand dyed fibers there are differences ....we as stitchers can use whatever color we want - i always look at the designers choices as suggestions & then i stitch as i please....

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    2. Laurel. . . . yes, a dSLR. . . . custom white balance? I think I better look into that. You may be on to something!

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    3. Thanks Patty! I'd like to try to do better so we'll see. :)

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    4. Laurel. . . . I could kiss you! I found the white balance and it is set to "auto". So I moved it to "Preset Manual", took a picture of a white piece of paper and then took a regular photo. I was AMAZED at the accuracy of the colors. I think you solved my problems!!! Thank you for posting.

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    5. Yay! I'm so glad I could help! I took a couple of online photography classes for my dSLR to improve my photos for my scrapbooking. It's paid off! :)

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  6. Today I got the latest patterns and when i took the threads for Around the world in 80 days, I first thought that one color was totaly wrong.
    I'm talking about the green color in the right corner. On the photo its a bit like bright green/yellow but the thread that is used for it is Desert mesquite and that is a lot darker. So now I have change that color with one I had in my stash that looks the same as on the photo.

    When i try to make pictures I make them often with a lamp above that has a daylight lamp in it. I let it shine on the work and most of the time I have the correct colors.
    I also make the pictures in the morning, and then later in the afternoon and chack both to see what the best colors gives.

    BTW... I just LOVE Around the world in 80 days, its so beautiful !!

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    1. Carin greens are the hardest. . . trust me. But yes, you should always stitch a design in the way that makes you the happiest.

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  7. My husband has done all of my photography and he always edits the photo in Photoshop and adjusts the colors as necessary. Another designer and I had this same conversation years ago. She uses some computer generated pictures because she has a hard time too.......Nancy

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    1. Nancy your post went up 3 times so I removed one but it made it look like it was bad so I left the other. :) I have used Photoshop too but I'm not by any means an expert at it. It's just hard to get the pictures "just right". Sharon C. and I discussed this today and she reminded me about computer monitors all being different too so what we see on one isn't the same as the other. And then there is the printer profile. . . . need I say more??? lol. . . . . . .

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  8. My husband has done all of my photography and he always edits the photo in Photoshop and adjusts the colors as necessary. Another designer and I had this same conversation years ago. She uses some computer generated pictures because she has a hard time too.......Nancy

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. I'm awful at taking photos of my stitching - one of the main reasons I have never kept up with blogging - so I can offer no advice except to say that your photos already good as they tempt me to buy your charts every time.

    Can you tell me if the colour of the fabric is correct in your photo's, specifically in Elizabeth Hancock? I bought the recommended linen and was quite taken aback with how dark it was and that the color of the floss used for the verse and the fabric were almost the same yet on the photo the verse shows up fine?

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    1. Well Lisa, that could be a whole different issue. Anything hand dyed has variation. If my memory serves me (mom has Elizabeth at her house), the fabric did appear lighter in the photo than it did in real life. It's a problem I am having with photography. Hopefully now that Laurel has pointed out a possible fix, the pattern covers will get even closer to the actual model. In the meantime just remember, hand dyed is special so your pieces of fabric will be as unique as you are!

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  11. can you post a picture of the house now that you know how to take a picture? ;o)

    I'm interested what it looks like before I go on a hunt for a fiber that matches the color in the picture...thanks!

    Courtney

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    1. I'm joining to the question :-) I LOVE how it looks like on the photo and can't imagine how it would look with recommended threads...Waiting to start stitching...

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    2. Koala, I've been scouring the internet for something that would be similar to what the photo looks like, and I can't find a thing! I'll be visiting my LNS tomorrow to see what I can find in person...I'll keep you updated as to what I find...in the meantime...I need to see this house in its intended color!!

      Thank you!

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    3. Thank you, Courtney :-)

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    4. Courtney - I've substituted Weeks Dye Works' "Dove" - I posted a picture in my blog a couple of weeks ago...

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  12. I was curious about what others had to say and if they had a solution and I read that Laurel gave a good tip .... Glad she could help.

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  13. I'm always amazed at how well you take the pictures!!! I know it's extremely difficult to even get close and your covers are always some of the best!

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  14. Hi Diane, I've been searching the internet for something that would be simular to what the photo looks like too and...i think i've found it!
    If you like it you can take a look at it, i think it's very beautiful.
    http://www.livingbytheshore.com/2012/07/old-nantucket-little-house-needleworks.html
    the color is WDW Dove.

    have a nice day,
    Fem

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    1. Thanks, Fem! I just posted my own reply before I saw the replies to this post, and saw that you had also posted a link to my blog. :)

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  15. Hello I am writing from France, for years I embroider your designs, colors have always been very similar, and no worries that your models more beautiful! Continue to make me dream through your models, friendships Marylin from FRANCE

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  16. I bought the "Old Nantucket" chart because I loved the blue house in the photograph!

    When I bought the recommended floss "pebble", I was disappointed that mine didn't have any blue in it, so I ended up substituting. I'm using Weeks Dye Works' "Dove", and I love it - you can see how the color looks in my WIP picture:
    http://www.livingbytheshore.com/2012/07/old-nantucket-little-house-needleworks.html

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    1. I think everyone should choose colors that make them happy. If Pebble didn't suit you, I'm glad you changed it to a color that did. Pebble is a gray with flecks of tan, which to me looked like the weathered homes of Nantucket. When stitched it took on a silvery-like quality that spoke of weathered boards and the passage of time. Pebble is a cool color which is why I think in contrast to the fabric and other colors in the design that it looked more blue in the photo than it should have.

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  17. I just wanted to add - Diane, I'm in awe of all of your designs; I think I've stitched more of your pieces than any other designer's work, so I'm not at all complaining :) - I'm instantly drawn to a piece if it has a nautical theme, so as soon as I saw "Old Nantucket", I had to have it. When I posted on FB that I wanted it, all my friends responded that they thought of me as soon as they saw the design :)

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  18. Hi Diane,
    I have been chating to creative people on www.etsy.com. and alot of people have been raving about the Canon 50mm lens. It gives a soft glowing background, but a true-to-life detailed shot of close-up items. Most have said that you don't need to be a professional photographer, just point and shot, and really beautiful professional photos.

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Thank you so much for taking time from your day to drop me a line or two!

Diane