How I Improved My Instagram Craft Photography #1

So I’ve been pondering the above for quite some time. I’ve been on Instagram for over a year and have built up a pleasing following of 1158 followers at the time of publishing this. It’s been a gradual process of picking up a few followers here and there, people who genuinely like the things I’m making and the photos I’m taking of said things. However, I’m not satisfied! I want more people to hop on this journey with me and out of all the social media platforms Instagram is my favourite – it’s quick, easy and visual, in other words – perfect for crafters. I think I’ve picked up a few hints and tips by osmosis, for example crochet shots photographed against a white background are really popular, anything made in rainbow colours, or handmade goods in sugary pastel colours seem to float a lot of boats. The only problem is, none of it floats mine. It’s been so tempting to just take a load of photos in the style of other people, or in a popular style, just to get my follower numbers up, but really what’s the point of that? It’s hardly genuine or honest. I also suspect people would eventually realise I’m faking it. Thus, I started searching for better ways to engage with my potential audience (I know you’re out there!) by firstly…

  1. LOOKING AT INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS I LIKE (I mean REALLY looking)

This is something we should all do regularly – don’t just like individual photos as they come through on your home stream, regularly click and check out the recent feed so you can see the Instagrammer’s presentation of themselves as a cohesive whole. It was illuminating and one of the best things I’ve ever done. I adore so many of the feeds I follow for a range of reasons, but I’ve really homed in on those people who have got collections of photographs that you can see and feel are authentic representation of themselves – the photos also look good too, which helps. I looked at what my favourite feeds had in common. Here are my top 3 feeds for knitting and crochet with a specific focus on photographic cohesion:

  1. My top pick is the feed by knitbrooks in part because I love how she incorporates her location into many, but not all, of her shots. It gives such a sense of space and geography. It gives her feed roots, essentially. It breathes. There are other, more practical aspects that make for a cohesive collection of images. They are similar in colour and tone, there is an earthy colour palette, which in turn links to the outdoor photography that is often in wickedly mysterious woodland. It looks like the same filter has been lightly applied to them all (it’s hard to tell but I think that’s how it should be, certainly for this natural-looking collection of images). My take-away from this is that I need to show more of a sense of home and where my emotional heart it – it’s called inthecrochetgarden for goodness sake and yes, it’s an immature play on words (children’s programme In the Night Garden for my overseas readers) but it’s mainly because my garden is where I spend my time, I pour love into it in the way most people put their time and energy into their house. In fact gardens are where I always gravitate, those that are new and those that are familiar. My Dad’s garden never fails to soothe me on even the bitterest and most challenging of days. I visited an old friend today who’s just had a baby, we hadn’t seen each other since we were about 16 (both 36 now – left it far too long!) and so after much cooing at baby Byron, I ended up with my nose pressed up against her French windows, desperate to explore this new garden! This is my passion and my comfort and my life in many ways, so I MUST find a way to record it in a photograph. Thank you knitbrooks for pointing me in this truest of directions.img_2173
  2. the.hook.nook produces a cohesive feed linked by her personal style (just think cool and classy chick) and colour palette. She uses predominantly grey and black, a winning modern combo that drags crochet out of its vintage comfort zone (I like vintage by the way, but love to see traditional crafts pack a punch in the modern world). There are some on-trend accent colours used regularly such as teal, which really lifts the feed and keeps the viewer interested. It feels without a doubt like an extension of herself, her family and her soul (perhaps that’s too deep!). I’ll struggle to get near these qualities as I’m still finding my crochet style (see prev blog post) and the things I’m making are more a reflection of what I’ve just learnt how to do, but this is changing, so I’m hopeful my feed will move in this direction eventually. My takeaway is that for now I just want to keep it as honest as the.hook.nook, so me meandering through my crochet will stay as it is for a bit longer. I’m all for keeping it real! Thanks the.hook.nook for giving everyone your authentic self – it’s inspiring.img_2176
  3. woolandthegang regularly go through different colour palettes and include photos that aren’t necessarily wool-related but that do fit in with the colour and aesthetic of their feed. Here are some examples of a pink theme and a white theme. Both are fun, quirky and ever so slightly whimsical. It feels like a risk to include pictures that aren’t obviously connected to fibre arts, but they do it so well. This is definitely an idea I’d like to try in the future, but only when I feel ready! My takeaway from this feed is to look at my own feed with a slightly more commercial eye and also to consider a bit of the old risk taking!

The results!

I’ve made a few changes to my editing process for inthecrochetgarden. I had a good look at what’s most common in my own feed and I seem to gravitate towards a bright, clear aesthetic. So with this in mind I’ve tested out a load of filters on Instagram and Snapseed and realised that I cannot stand any of them at full strength! However, Instagram’s own Clarendon filter set anywhere between 25-35 strength brings a bright, cool clarity to my photographs that is in keeping with their original vision. I’ve also adjusted saturation, light and sharpness up by no more than 20 to add to the crisp and clear look I like. Furthermore, I’ve added in a few images that have been taken in the crochet garden itself. I think they’re looking better. These are my most recent 18 photos. There’s still a way to go but I’m really pleased with the difference these small changes have made. Dare I ask, what do you think…?img_2178img_2177

This has been quite a long post from me this time, but I have just been captivated by the process of analysing how to portray my vision through a collection of photographs. I’d love to know if any of you are thinking of revamping your craft photos or just hoping to evolve them into something that’s an accurate representation of what you’re all about.

Come back for How I Improved my Instagram Craft Photography #2 which will be about TIMING…

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4 thoughts on “How I Improved My Instagram Craft Photography #1

  1. The creative pixie says:

    A really interesting post (sorry I don’t know your name) . Instagram is definitely my favourite social media and I would like to increase my number of followers. One change that I made was to concentrate my photos on woolly craft content as that’s what people are mainly following me for. Instagram stories is great for sharing photos that would look out of place in my account thus making it look a bit more pleasing to the eye. Your feed is lovely and I love how you connect with the outdoors. I’m going to try and play with the filters more on my photos and see if I can develop my own style that way too. Jean

  2. Christelle Botha says:

    Very interesting read 🙂 I quickly had to check Clarendon again and see oh ja, that one – I love Crema and Valencia, sometimes Amaro works great on a dark photo.

    I stayed away from IG fro a long time, as I feared it might be a bottomless pit of beauty , and it is! I like miking new contacts there, as with a blog and on FB. Must say that I find like-chasing quite sad, as well as deleting of posts that drew no comments! It is a thing! Why?

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