Having a fabulous setting when you photograph your sewing creations is great. But…

Having to recruit someone to take the photos, hoping for good weather and braving other people’s stares is not so great. I sew quite a lot and at times I blog relatively often. You can’t blog without photos, and if I had to go through a major production every time I would never get around to it. Even taking photos in your own garden is a bit embarrassing, in case the neighbours are watching and wondering what sort of vain idiot is posing for selfies all the time.

Inside the house, where it is private, taking photos can be another sort of problem. You need to find a neutral background without pesky furniture and pictures in the way, somewhere where you can sit the camera at the right distance and height and where there is good light. I don’t want to have to do a complicated set up each time, moving stuff, setting up lights and generally faffing around.

So I have designated picture taking spot in my house.

Plain background. Check.

Convenient window sill for the camera? Check.

Good bright light? Check.

Tadaaaa!

Doesn’t that look great? Maybe not.

Ok, so clearly bit of a tidy up is called for: Hellooo Photoshop!

I use Photoshop Elements, which is much cheaper than the full version and just a good for my purposes. It really is an excellent investment if you want nice photos. But if you prefer to hang onto your cash, there is a free image editing software called gimp. Plus a gazillion apps you can get for very little, which do at least some of what Photoshop does, such as cropping and lightening. I can’t help you with any of the latter, although there would be lots of online tutorials if you search a little.

What I do is take my photos with the timer and flash, load them on my PC and open them in Photoshop.

First I crop the photo.

Because my photo was not taken in a proper studio with professional equipment, I need to lighten it up, by going to the Enhance menu and clicking on Auto Levels.

I even lighten it up further on the Enhance menu by selecting Adjust Lighting>Brightness/Contrast. Lighten up your photo with the brightness slider until you are satisfied with the result.

Next I use the eraser on 100% opacity to get rid of the outer edges of the photo.

Then I turn the eraser slider at the bottom to 60% opacity and go around the edges multiple times until I have faded out most of the remaining background.

And voila, here is the finished photo. You may also notice that compared to the earlier photo I have smoothed my face out a bit to get rid of the worst of my wrinkles. (I use the blur tool, and there is lots more you can do, but that is a whole other tute.)

For now, I just reduce the size of the image. The bigger the image, the clearer your face will be with every little line and blemish on display. You don’t need any of this to show off your garment and give readers a good idea of what it looks like. I reduce the size of my photos to 40% of the original, sometimes even smaller.

Go to the Image menu >Resize

Set it to 40%.

Save your finished image and select the file size. A low resolution means a small file size, but this will still display just fine on a screen. However, if you think you may want to print the image or do something else with it later, you may want to select a higher resolution. I usually go for medium.

There are ways of removing the background completely and I used to do that with my photos, but found it far too time consuming. If you are interested, the are lots of tutorials on the web on how to remove the background in Photoshop. For my purposes the vignette style with the faded edges is just as good and much faster.

Good luck with your own photos!