Fibertography Lessons with Fiber for the People
A few months ago, I coined the term “fibertography” to describe what I do here. It basically arose from feeling the need for a single word to use as a category name for blog posts. I liked the phonetic consistency in altering “photography,” using the same sound for the initial consonant. (There’s probably a technical term here I’m missing, and I’m happy to learn it.)
To me, fibertography deals with issues surrounding photographing one’s chosen craft, with special emphasis on fiber arts. Ultimately, I’d love for my friends in all crafty genres to feel empowered to embrace the beauty of their work, using photography to help tell the stories around their creations. Sharing our craft is a pretty powerful way to connect, and I suspect that’s behind the amazing energy the fiber community has.
If you are into fibertography, you probably are already familiar with Tayler of Fiber for the People®, Small Batch Dyer Extraordinaire. Not only does her her yarn and branding have a bold and distinct style, but her photography skills totally stand out on Instagram. I am constantly inspired by her aesthetic and her intentional approach to creativity.
I had a great conversation with Tayler last month on topics ranging from momming to her dyeing style, and from creative perseverance to business growth—I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t already. The post is full of great lessons…and I didn’t even get to her photography! I found a lot to ponder in her photographic insights and decided to create a separate post. I hope the wait was worth it, because I’ve taken the time to put together another set of lessons, this time with photographs by Tayler instead of mine.
Fibertography Lesson #1 : It all starts with light.
No good discussion of photography ever omits the importance of light. (Ever. I’ve read them all.) I’ve most certainly dived into the topic a few times here on the blog, and will likely do so again. Yarn dyers especially are concerned with color accuracy in photos when so much of their business comes from online sales. Quality, consistent light = color accuracy that yarn buyers will appreciate.
Natural light will almost always be your best bet, assuming you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a studio lighting setup. Tayler has taken the time to find a spot in her home she can consistently use for reliable light…right on her dining room table.
Fibertography Lesson #2 : Accuracy isn’t just technical.
Consistent, neutral light does a lot for color accuracy, and that’s important, but yarn buyers don’t buy yarn because of accuracy. They buy because the yarn evokes a feeling and they literally want their hands on it.
While I have found Tayler’s photos to portray the product faithfully, by embracing a casual style and lots of contrast she also conveys an accurate mood. Directional light shows texture. Hands in the frame suggest softness. Flowing hanks invite creative possibility. This is what entices us to buy.
Tayler took a photographic leap forward when she switched from a white background to black, often showing the hanks unskeined and unlabeled:
Fibertography Lesson #3 : Embrace Happy Accidents.
Creativity is a process and sometimes the best ideas happen when we least expect them.
Hands-in-the-frame is a fabulous technique for Insta-worthy photography, and Tayler has elevated it from an oops into a feature. But you don’t have to wait for an accident; you can set yourself up for creative epiphanies by giving yourself freedom to explore. Deliberately practice your photography by changing up an aspect of the photo, switching to a new angle, changing the light direction, or playing with the styling and set up. Start with a vision, sure, then see where you can take it. You will regularly come up with great results you’d never expected before you started.
Fibertography Lesson #4 : Put Yourself in the Picture.
Tayler literally puts herself in her pictures whenever she includes her hands. But in a less obvious way, she includes her unique vision in her images as well. All the elements come together: the light, the composition, the styling, creating an overall feeling that expresses her artistry.
Going back to lesson #3, know that finding your distinctive voice takes a lot of experimentation. But it will feel so exciting once you start seeing it unfurl in your work…and this goes for lots of areas, not just photography. You have a way of seeing things that’s unique, and we want you to share it.
How to find Tayler and Fiber for the People®
And on Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/people/woolneedleshands