Monday, March 23, 2009

Looking for a few good necks [MFM]

I've got this Artfire shop, or at least I've paid for one and hope to open it soon. What's been holding me up is getting some good product shots: I've been pretty happy with the close up pics I've taken of each scarf but I want to show off them off in such a way that folks can see how long they are, get an idea of what they'd look like worn, that sort of thing.

I've been perusing sites like Artfire, Etsy, and Flickr to get some idea of what makes a great product shot and have come to the conclusion that scarves almost always look better worn than they do flat or hanging on some kind of fixture ('tho I have to say, this hanger is Pretty Cute). For some examples of what I mean, check out this, and this, and this entire photo set by larimeloom, which is chock full of stunning scarves that are beautifully photographed. It turns out the whole thing is pictures of products available in their etsy shop as well, which is definitely worth a look.

Sadly, it is nigh on impossible to take a picture of your own neck, nor is my neck (or either of my chins) really photo-worthy, which means I need a model. On the other hand, most of my fave photos don't show much of the model's face and one rather effective photo didn't even show the model's chin, just a high turtleneck.

"Oh ho!" thought I, when I realized this, "I can use Lola!" Lola, you see, is my mannequin. She hasn't got a head, so no chin - a bit of a drawback. Technically she hasn't got a neck either but I thought a turtleneck top might solve that. I set Lola up down in the yarn room, draped the background to hide all the yarn, and started flinging scarves around her neck. It worked... in theory. Not so much in practice. The background was awkward 'cause it never quite covered the whole frame from the angle I wanted to shoot. Also the lighting was a big problem - I could balance the white no prob, but the scarves either weren't well illuminated, or were lit from strange angles. Also, the black was okay for the first scarves I tried but wasn't going to cut it for other colours. Clearly some revisions were called for but the idea was a sound one, I thought.

So Thursday night I dragged Ron off off to Le Valu and bought Lola and me some tops. Then on Friday luck was with me weather-wise. It was a perfect day for shooting pics outside: overcast but bright, so great light with no harsh shadows. Sadly, there was no heat either - it was -5 C out there which was Pretty Dang Miserable, letmetellyou. Lola stood there with nothing on her head or arms ('cause, you know: no head. no arms.) and never complained once, but I was bundled up as much as I could manage and still work the camera, yet I fear the wailing and chattering of teeth could still be heard by the neighbours.

Me freezing out on the deck, in spite of wearing considerably more than Lola had on.

I didn't last that long out there, but I did get a handful of pictures, wot I have cleverly turned into a slideshow for you. I would dearly love some feedback on them - the good, the bad... well, maybe not the ugly. But the good and the bad for sure!

I'm... moderately happy with them. I do not love them, but I think they are... meh, alright. Acceptable. I might even go ahead and use them until I can come up with something better. I think they'd be much improved with a real neck and, yes, even a bit of chin. I think they'd be better with a lower neckline rather than a turtleneck. Which means I'm back to finding a live model (and, I suspect, a warmer location).

And so the hunt for a nice neck continues. I've been asking around for volunteers; I'm even considering offering Scarfabucks - model some scarves, earn yourself a free one! I was even so shameless as to ask one of my students, who called today to ask if I would loan her a fringe twister and show her how to use it, if I could borrow her daughter's neck. I didn't say, "I'll loan you my twister if you loan me your daughter's neck!" but it may have been implied.


Jade said...

I'd be glad to model some of your scarves. Just let me know when you'd like to work on it... a weekend would probably be better, since I could show up before it was dark out. ;P

Jade said...

P.S. That's my neck in the little thumbnail picture there. :P

Janet said...

Ooo, I know it is, and it's a luvverly one, too! I must confess to eyeing your neck consideringly when you were over last. ;)

Sue said...

Thanks for the closeups of the finished scarves. On the loom the "web" looks really loose, especially at a gentle beat, but when finished, the drape looks wonderful and soft. I'll get to pet them in May! Hooray! Now -- back to my tencel scarves. Almost finished weaving the first one.


Beth said...

I battle with the photography part all the time. Since I don't have a model, I make due with a wooden hanger on top of a dowel which is set in a block of wood. My Dad made it for me. I "dress" it best I can. It's either that or the "fancy" shots on white paper with my Ott light shining down from above. Jade has a lovely neck. You should take her up on her offer.;-D

Janet said...

You can be sure I'm gonna! What Jade didn't mention is that both she and her husband are both whizbang photographers, too - I may see if I can mooch photography as well as modeling! [You Have Been Warned!]

Peg in South Carolina said...

I'm afraid that I don't care for most of the shots, or maybe it's the scarves and scaraflets I don't care for. Hard to separate. But I really do like photos such as those you shared earlier. And for some really stunning photos of scarves check out The WEaving Studio: I don't care for the one on his front page particularly, but some of the others are just amazing.