Since arts and crafts have been steadily becoming the new rock n’ roll, we’re regularly asked to shoot needlework, fabrics and other such things, but we had a challenge on our hands when publishers Ivy Press asked us to photograph 365 individual crochet squares for textiles expert Tracey Lord’s book A Square a Day. Those of you who’ve had breakfast this morning will probably have realised that’s one for every day of the year, but since we had far less than a year to shoot them all, a system was needed to get great results.

Product photography is about taking care to achieve time-saving consistency and clean, crisp results, so first we sprayed our crochet pieces with water, stretched and pinned the corners to polystyrene. Once dry, we unpinned them and were left with nicely square products, ready to be shot. Since convincingly cutting out “hairy” fabrics can be a real nightmare and our backdrop needed to be pure white, we decided to backlight our subjects. Placed on tracing paper then glass above a light, then shot square on and lit from diagonally above with two large diffuse lights, we achieved great exposures straight out of camera. All that was left was to crop and straighten the images where necessary and use liquify and warp tools in photoshop to amend any evidence of stretching that the pins in the corners may have left; SIMPLE!….relatively. 365 crochet squares and not one crotchety photographer!

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