It’s All Lies: A Better Pictures Project Post

Comino Cap Dress in Stretch Lace

This week I posted on the Cali Fabric blog about this cute new lace-overlay dress. It sewed up just like I wanted, and I was really pleased… until I realised I had to photograph a short-sleeved dress on a February day full of wind, hail and snow!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Better Pictures Project returns for just one post! Here’s my take on how to fake some decent pictures when Mother Nature is not on your side.

Comino Cap Dress in Stretch Lace

Let me set the scene: It’s mid-February in Canada. We’ve just had a week of unseasonably warm temperatures, so all the snow has melted (yay!) but had left behind litter, dog poop, and muddy piles of rotting leaves. Temperatures are right at freezing, and thick clouds mean the sun never really came up.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Comino Cap Dress in Stretch Lace

PROPS! Hot off my success posing with fake flowers in this Ebony post, I pur some fake hydrangeas into my largest vase. I considered bringing out all the fake flowers in the whole house (What? I’m terrible at growing things, and I worry that cats will get sick eating plants), but I decided the smaller vases would probably blow over in the wind.

I also strung up (with push pins!) some bunting made for my wedding by my mom and sisters. That bunting has decorated so many parties, birthdays and weddings over the years. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Comino Cap Dress in Stretch Lace

Editing: Overcast day with dim light? Not once you crank up the exposure and play with the white balance! You’d never know that my legs haven’t been shaved in 4 months and haven’t seen the sun in longer!

Comino Cap Dress in Stretch Lace

Hair and Makeup: aka. So much hairspray. Make that hair stay in place no matter how strong the wind! Also, so much bronzer! (And highlighter, lipstick, blush, eyeliner, everything.) Think normal amounts, time three. When photos are going to be overexposed and edited heavily, my pale skin gets washed out quickly, so it’s all about adding extra colour and definition to balance it out.

Comino Cap Dress in Stretch Lace

As for the dress itself, you can read about it here

What are your biggest photo challenges, and how do you work around them? 


23 thoughts on “It’s All Lies: A Better Pictures Project Post

  1. Gillian, I just LOVE your photos! And your sewing projects! Thank you very much for this post. I am also a sewing blogger, and taking photos have been my biggest challenge. I do have a question; do you set your camera on a “delay” and then get into your pose? Or take a movie and then take “stills” from the movie?

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    1. I always tae my pictures with a remote! i’ve done timer on occasion when I’ve gone somewhere to take photos, but forgotten the remote – like when I photographed my red long cardigan from the Concord tee pattern… but my camera focuses on whatever is in front of it when the timer is triggered, so if I jump in front I’ll be out of focus. With a remote, it focuses on me as long as I’m more or less centred in the frame. My husband used to take my pictures, but we both found that really stressful. If you haven’t tried a remote, it’s well worth it! You can even get them for a iPhone for $20 or so.

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  2. Oh, these photos are gorgeous! You’d never know the weather conditions you were dealing with, which I guess is the idea!
    I hate taking photos of my projects, it actually stops me blogging because I dislike it so much. I don’t have any nice locations within my house or garden to take pictures. Despite having a 3 bedroom house, there isn’t a single area with good lighting, a nice backdrop and a suitable place to put my camera. It seems that I need to follow your example and get creative.

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    1. I feel the same about my house! There is no space inside that is bright enough and not totally cluttered with stuff. I”m going to have to figure something out for me-made may, but I’m not sure what! I like the light outside – do you have anywhere that gets consistent shade? Much easier for photography if you don’t have to deal with bright sun and harsh shadows!

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  3. What a great post. Your photos always look so lovely and relaxed. It is nice to see how it is really going down. I hate taking photos of me and no one in my house knows how to take a decent shot. If you have a head or are in the frame they are doing well. Having no decent photos stops me blogging too. I think it is a common problem. Xx

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    1. You need a tripod and remote! I find it much easier to relax when I’m not directing my husband to take this photo or that, and with a remote it’s easy to take a ton of pics quickly. A basic tripod and a remote are both pretty affordable – you should give it a try!

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  4. What great photo ideas here -thank you. Oh, and the dress is very special too:) (No lack of sun here – still summer 33C / 94F although autumn.)

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  5. I love this post! It is sooo refreshing to see the behind the scenes nitty gritty of blogpost pictures. I’ll be using these tips for future pics myself. Thanks for the giving me the kick in the pants to give pictures a better go.

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    1. I did a whole series on blog photography last year, including interviewing different bloggers each month and trying out their tips. I think my pictures really did improve with practice and knowledge – no new equipment! You can do it too! Finding a trusty location is a good start – somewhere in shade is easier, I find, with a simple background of a wall, park, or whatever. Sidewalks or streets look really good in pictures too, with all that distance behind you! Do you have a place you like to take pictures?

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  6. This was very interesting (and very funny) I’ve only just joined Instagram after making for 2years I’ve decided to share what I make but really struggling with photos, I see everyone else’s and they look great and mine are meh. I will keep practicing (ps lynsey_makes, I have asked to follow you)

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    1. Thank you for giving me a heads up about following me – I tend to keep my social media locked up tight unless I know the person! IG is such a funny media… on the one hand, most pictures are just quick shots, but I bet most people spend longer editing than they did to take the photo! And some people, especially anyone business oriented, have such carefully curated images!

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  7. LOL! The dress is gorgeous, of course, but I’m going to have to look into some of this bronzer of which you speak. I’m one of those gals that never wears makeup, and when I do it’s typically mascara only–but when I take pictures, my skin turns ghostly white with my cheeks being super red. Not cool! Of course, part of that may be that I’m always nervous in front of a camera, but, even sneak pictures do that to some degree.

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    1. I use the lightest shade of The Body Shop’s matte bronzer, and I love it for us super-pale ladies! An alternative would be getting a powder foundation that is a few shades darker than your skin, and just using it around the edge of your face and on the cheekbones. Although now that I think about it… are you taking flash pictures? You could be getting flashback from SPF?

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      1. SPF, like from sunscreen? I don’t usually wear any, unless I’m going to be outside for an extended time (the moisturizer that has sunscreen built in makes my face break out like a teenager, so I don’t use it anymore).

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  8. Your dress is lovely! And I’m admittedly jealous that I can’t even tell about the leg shaving thing. It comes in dark enough on me that even going one week makes me look like a monkey, lol. I’ll have to try the makeup trick sometime, since my usual routine these days is “just enough concealer to keep me from looking like a zombie movie extra.”

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    1. It’s worth figuring out your timer, or remote if you have one! It’s as easy as pushing a few buttons on my camera!

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  9. What a cheerful photo shoot! Definitely an upgrade from the dreary surroundings. And what a pleasant surprise to see a one-off addition to the BPP – that was such a helpful series! My photos are still not where I want them to be, but they’re slowly improving. The BPP definitely kickstarted the process. 🙂

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