As a knitwear designer you are at a disadvantage. You probably don’t have a runway show to showcase your collection. And you probably don’t have a brick and mortar shop to display your designs. Your portfolio is likely Ravelry and your vehicle for sales are photographs.

Because photographs are your main method of selling your product, they better be good. But what makes good photos and how do you get them?

good lighting

Good lighting is very important. First it’s important to capture the true color of the yarn. Color is a lot of what draws us to knitting and yarn. People want to see the yarn. For whatever reason knitters still feel the need to make the pattern in the same yarn and in the same color. If they buy the yarn you suggest and it arrives and looks completely different from your photo, they might be disappointed.

Lighting also affects the mood of your piece. If your lighting is dark and dreary, your design is going to look sad and depressing. If your lighting is too bright and over exposed, your piece might look washed out and hard to see.

The best lighting is slightly overcast and indirect—light, but not too bright; soft, not harsh shadows. Outdoor shoots are harder because they require perfect timing or location to get the right sunlight and angle to cooperate. But they will look more natural if you can get it just right. Indoor shoots will look less natural but you have more control over lighting.

good details

You’ll want to make sure you show all the interesting details of your design. Do you have an beautiful collar? An intricate hem? An expertly applied buttonband? Make sure you take close-up shots of these details as well as overall shots of the whole piece. People want to see all the features so they can make an informed decision as to whether they want to knit your design. The more information you can provide, the better. Unless it’s a mystery knit, don’t make your potential customers guess.


Good photographs don’t just happen. Like many crafts, it takes time and practice to learn and hone your skills. Photographers take hundreds of photos to get a handful of good ones. Don’t get frustrated. Try different angles, poses, and framing. Experiment and have fun.

consider hiring

If you’re not confident in your photography skills, consider hiring someone to do your photos. If you don’t know anyone local there are services available where you can even send your items away to be photographed.

If you hire someone, make sure you’re clear on the rights of the photos afterwards. Can you use them for promotion on social media? In advertisements? Will they be watermarked?

Designer Jen Lucas has blogged about her tips for Photos That Sell over on her blog. Make sure you give it a read!

Heather Zoppetti

Heather Zoppetti is a knitwear designer, instructor, author and owner of Stitch Sprouts. She spends her days filling orders, knitting, and rambling on this blog. She can also be found at Heather Zoppetti Designs.

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