Design Your Biz: Photos That Sell

You've written a pattern. Hooray! And now you want people to buy that pattern. You need to make sure that you have quality photos so all those knitters and crocheters can see your awesome design and want to buy it.
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
(from left to right, that's Vauhti, Mandarijn, Demantur and Carefree)

When first starting out as a designer, for most of us anyway, you're overwhelmed by all the little things you have to do to make this a business that works. You need to pay to get your pattern tech edited, you might be dealing with sample knitters, maybe you're paying someone to do your pattern layout. Then, there's promoting your pattern on social media, possibly paying for ads, the list goes on and on. All these things are super important. But one of the first things you need to be thinking about when you're putting your pattern out there is photography.
Believe me, I get it. When I first started, this was the thing that I was neglecting. I'd snap a few photos on my living room carpet (yikes) or patio table (double yikes) and call it good. 

And, sure, I sold a few patterns. My patterns are high quality, other people were posting better photos than mine, I thought it was working ok. But then I started paying a little more attention on Ravelry. 

And what I learned was pretty obvious - the photos are a big deal. You want someone to freely share your pattern on social media? Well, what are they going to pick - the photo of your shawl on your rug* or the one that's beautifully styled? Look at the photos in the Ravelry "Hot Right Now." What do most of them have in common - a sale (maybe....that's for another post) or (more likely) beautiful photos. 

Turns out, you don't have to be a life-long photographer to get decent photos. While most of the time I send my pieces out to be photographed, you still can get good photos just using a dress form. 
Knitting Like Crazy Blog

Knitting Like Crazy Blog
I took these photos with my iPhone 7 Plus. And I took a ton of them. I probably took 60+ photos and narrowed it down to 5-6 photos in the end.

So, don't get discouraged if your photos need work. Find a friend to be a model. Get a dress form and practice taking photos with the different settings on your camera/phone. Or start looking for photographers that specialize in knitwear photography. I've found that hiring a photographer is not only completely worth the investment, but it's also usually not as expensive as you might think!

*I will argue that ALL SHAWL PATTERNS should show at least one photo where you can see the shawl shape. If all you can do to get that is take a photo flat on the floor in your living room, by all means, do it. Just don't make that the photo that's getting shared everywhere. :)

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