Six Sock Pic Ideas.

You may come up with some pretty silly ideas along the way. But there is NEVER a bad idea. All ideas are just ideas.
— Claudia Altucher, Become an Idea Machine: Because Ideas are the Currency of the 21st Century

It is no secret that I love to knit socks. But I have struggled with how to take project pictures of them.

It’s not easy to make feet look good, even if they’re covered in beautiful hand-dyed yarn. And it’s a headache to wrangle tripods and timers to take a picture of your own feet. But the alternative is finding a model or photographer willing to help out just to earn your undying gratitude.

Let’s face it, these aren’t obstacles we want to overcome every time we need a new project pic. Sometimes we want a picture without an ordeal.

But socks don’t look like much without feet inside them. There are ways, still, to get some great images if you apply some creativity and strategic props.

So, here’s a few ideas to get you started when you’re photographing your next finished socks. These might not be the shots I would use if I were publishing a pattern. But for Ravelry project pages or for blog and Instagram posts, they can work well. See if any of these inspire an approach you haven’t yet tried.

hang them up

A clothespin or cute clip can be just the prop you need to show off empty socks.

Vanilla Socks; Yarn by Madeline Tosh in “Venti Dragon Mocha” on Euro Sock

This shot makes me think of hanging the wash out to dry. Socks hanging from a line strung across a rustic background, pinned with antique clothespins on a rusty wire hanger, or hanging off a latch on a barn door (like here,) all can give off a casual feeling; the story the image tells is that the socks have actually been worn and loved. I chose to photograph these unblocked to contribute to that lived-in feeling. I think this style works with either blocked or unblocked socks, but more on blockers below.

set up a flatlay

Flatlays are fun and trendy. First, find a photogenic background: a cute rug, wooden floor or tabletop, marble countertop, quilt, or even a big sheet of kraft paper.

Vanilla Socks; Yarn by  LolaBean Yarn Co  in “Bananarama”

Vanilla Socks; Yarn by LolaBean Yarn Co in “Bananarama”

Then, find some props that work together. Here, I surrounded my socks with notions I used to make them. You could instead lay out your socks alongside an outfit they go with, flowers from the garden, or a cute bag, sunglasses, and a book to evoke taking them somewhere cool. (Bonus if you’re actually going somewhere cool. Not necessary, but… lucky you!)

Getting the camera plumb and level is essential for successful flatlay photos. If you use an iPhone, turn on the grid in the settings. When you hold your phone flat, a small crosshair will show up in the middle of the screen to help guide you to a truly flat angle for your flatlay. Some cameras also have a level feature—check your manual to find out how that works on yours.

drape them artfully

Long and thin, socks can be draped prettily over the edges of things. Try to identify the part of the sock that you want to have as a focal point—maybe the contrast heel or the stitch pattern up the leg—and arrange them to feature that part.

Pattern: Tuku Honey by Andrea Mowry; Yarn by Once Upon A Corgi in “Ghoul Haunted Woodlands of Weir” on Marie Cutie

Here, I made sure that the contrast between the stitch pattern on the top of the foot and the reverse stockinette on the bottom are easy to make out. The backlighting further highlights the textures. Like the pinned-up socks, this shot can also evoke a feeling of actually using and living with the socks. You might drape them over a special box, the edge of your sock drawer, or a bag you’re packing.

Which brings me to the next idea…

add them to the collection

If you have knit multiple pairs of socks, then why not show off the whole collection? People love seeing each others’ piles of handknit socks. Really! Look up #operationsockdrawer or #boxosoxkal on Instagram to see what I mean.

The new socks on top are Vanilla Socks; Yarn by Mitchells Creations in “Silver Lining” and “Best of Mitchell’s Creations Mini Set.” You can look for the rest on Ravelry or ask in the comments if you really want to know!

Here, I combined a little artful draping and a collection of handknit socks. You could contain the existing socks in some kind of box or drawer, or you could just pile them up as neatly or messily as your taste dictates. The point is to give your new socks some friends and show off how busy you’ve been!

get thee some sock blockers

Sock blockers are the best thing to happen to sock photos. In fact, I hear knitters say all the time that they only ever use their blockers for photo purposes—they don’t typically block socks for everyday wear. (I know I don’t!) If you actually use them as intended, though, blocked socks look great in photos—their shape is more defined, even if they’re empty. You can also use the blockers to give your socks shape while you photograph them.

Vanilla Socks; Yarn by Voolenvine Yarns in “Figbash” on Footsie

There are many wooden handmade ones on Etsy. I have a set I use for flatlays or to lean socks upright against a nice background. But I also rather like these metal ones; they are inexpensive and easy to find with a quick internet search. They’re simple and clean in pictures, and the hooks open up even more possibilities: hang them from a tree branch, a hook, a drawer handle…anything.

roll them up and stick them in something

OK, this is a little silly, but I bet if you let your imagination run with this one, you could come up with something awesome.

Vanilla Socks; Yarn by Lavender Lune & MacheteShoppe in collaboration for the Indie Project

One day, I was playing around and I decided to roll up this pair of socks into a teacup. I like that this shot tells the story that my socks are cute enough to drink up. There are so many props around the house this could work with—see what you come up with!

Feel free to copy these ideas for your next sock project pics, but also let your creativity take over. I find that once I get going with one idea, more start coming along, and I often end up with my favorite after a few tries.

Claudia Altucher, in Become an Idea Machine: Because Ideas are the Currency of the 21st Century, says that coming up with ideas is a fantastic way to exercise and strengthen the muscles of your “mental body,” just like lifting weight strengthens the muscles of the physical body. I’d love to see what you come up with—we could all use a little FO-inpso! Please use the hashtag #yarnscaping to share!