Hello! Lucy (editorial photographer) and Mai (photo assistant) here.
We thought we would not only give you some insight on what magic we have been creating here at the C&T studio, but we would also share with you some helpful hints in case you wanted to photograph your beautiful projects too!
Styling and photographing projects for a book can be exciting (and challenging too!). First things first: it is important to know the style you are going for! Here at C&T, we make it a point to communicate with our authors beforehand, to understand their vision before stepping foot inside the studio. In the end, you want all of your photographs to be cohesive and aesthetically pleasing, right?!
Sometimes there are general themes for books (baby quilts, seasonal décor, or clothing, etc.), and other times, we style quilts and projects based on current trends such as modern and contemporary, eclectic, or vintage.
Here is a favorite shot of ours from Riel Nason’s book, Sew a Modern Halloween. Let me tell you—we had some FUN shopping for spooky props. The ideas were endless. In this particular image, our vision was to play on the black-and-white table setting, while adding subtle fall accents to emphasize each project. (Remember, don’t overdo it! Also, know what you want to do before you prop, or else you might end up getting carried away and getting too many things at the store. Easy to do! Hehe.)
Let’s prep our projects! Mai always ensures that our projects are up to standard by steaming each project and removing any wrinkles or lint. Here, she is prepping and styling a quilt from Jenifer Dick and Angela Walter’s upcoming book, Nine-Patch Revolution. (Helpful hint: we have found that it is helpful to invest in a garment steamer. Trust me, it will not only save you time in the long run—but it also saves you the arm work, ha!) Win-win :) )
Location, location, location! Deciding on whether to photograph in a studio or on location is sometimes chosen on a project-by-project basis. In the studio, you can control the lighting and other outside weather elements a little easier than you would be able to do outdoors. Knowing that we were going to be photographing two kids surrounded by quilts for Stacey Day’s book, Child Play Quilts, we knew immediately that we would choose the studio.
On the hand, there is nothing quite like the gorgeous natural light beaming down on each project, capturing the vivid colors and detail of the quilting. I mean, who doesn’t love to take full advantage of a beautiful summer day?! If you do decide to photograph outdoors, just remember: don’t forget to bring a 5-in-1 reflector with you! This useful (and inexpensive!) tool helps eliminate any spotty shadows and diffuses harsh lighting that may fall directly on your quilt. Now, go outside and enjoy the weather like we did for Jenifer Dick and Angela Walter’s quilt in Nine-Patch Revolution!
Now that you have a few helpful hints, perhaps you are ready to take some photos of your projects! Before you take that picture, just remember to not overpower your imagery with any distracting props or backgrounds and to always bring your focus to the project—like we did for Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s quilt in Modern Quilt Magic. Also, don’t forget to bring your reflector/diffuser to your shoot! This will bump up your photography skills instantly, giving you that beautiful, soft, natural lighting.
Last but not least, HAVE FUN! It is always a fun day here at the C&T studio when we see new projects arrive full of inspiration and creativity! We can’t wait to see yours!
Signing off for now,
Lucy and Mai