Posted by: bschutzgruber | November 29, 2015

Say “Cheese…..”

November has been one of those “but it looked so doable on paper” kind of months!  Between storytelling performances, the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild annual Holiday Sale, receiving/processing 69 entries from 31 states for the lottery drawing of 12 Fringe performance spots at the July 2016 National Storytelling Network Conference in Kansas City, MO, making special order items to ship, plus traveling 400 miles in a Midwest snowstorm to attend a family wedding…. I’m just now sitting down to write-up some thoughts on a workshop I took at the beginning of the month.

On November 8th the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild sponsored an excellent daylong workshop “Styling and Photography for the Fiber Artist” with Elaine Palmer and local Ann Arbor photographer Mike Gould.

Elaine has 30 years of experience in styling, most notably with Nordstrom’s and Eddie Bauer. She did all of the styling, photography, post production in Photoshop and laid out all 208 pages for the 90 Anniversary Monograph of the Boston Weaving Guild. That included the artwork of 95 artists.

The morning began with Elaine asking the question “Why are you photographing your item?” She explained the differences between editorial, sales, website, printing/publishing, personal record keeping, and submission for a juried competition.  She talked about lighting, cameras, and the difference between shooting items flat and using a human model or mannequin.

Then using our own items and cameras, we set about trying different ways of styling….

IMG_8147   IMG_8153

grouping items together…..



and seeing how shadows can enhance or detract from the photo.


I’ve always used mannequins to photograph my garments so I wanted to try my hand at a flat layout.  Tissue paper was used to fill out the garment and pins to secure it to the white board.  This is MUCH more difficult than having the garment on a mannequin!


In the afternoon, Mike Gould, took professional photos of our styled work.  We had garments, scarves, shawls, wall pieces, jewelry and purses which was a fabulous tutorial as Elaine and Mike explain what they were doing as we went along.  We learned tricks of the trade as we used fans to create ‘wind’ effect, or fishing line and tape to have the items look their best.

   IMG_8130  IMG_8154

IMG_8158    IMG_8159

Plus with Mike’s camera hooked up to his computer, we could what each photo clearly.

After the workshop, Mike used Photoshop for the final touches and to resize the pictures for use on the web, as photos or for juries.

bsgFiberArts___023 EP  bsgFiberArts___187  bsgFiberArts___096

This was a fascinating day.  I learned a lot – especially observing how all the different items that people brought were photographed.

I will never look at catalog in the way ever again!

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