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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
The electronic flash brings out the color depth of this yarn. I love it!

Tour de Fleece, Day 20

July 19: Day 20

More Cheviot spinning this morning, with the lovely soothing sound of rain hitting the roof above me.

Which also means, when I needed to take a photo, I didn't have my lovely sunlight. So, I took out a flash and held it off-camera to take the shot above.

You don't need really fancy equipment to make great photographs of your knitting and fiberwork. The main thing I try to remember is to try different camera angles, but being able to change the angle of your light, by not using your on-camera flash, also makes a world of difference.

Most better digital cameras have a hot shoe attachment for a flash. It's usually on the top of the camera. It allows you to use an external electronic flash. They don't have to be expensive, or even made by the same company as your camera. I use an old Sunpak that I bought in high school. I found this one online today and it would work great. It costs about $40, which is about what I would spend on this.

I use the flash in manual mode and just change the power level I need until it looks right. One of the great things about using a digital camera is you can look, right away, and see if your lighting is correct. An automatic or TTL flash can remove some of the guess work, but, honestly, with darker and smaller subjects (like a bit of dark yarn), manual mode really is easier in the long run.

Now, to get the angle of the flash away from your camera, you also need a sync cord. I like the cords that connect from the camera's hotshoe to the flash, like this one. It's $15, which is a good price. Once again, it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, but it should be at least 3 feet long. A 5-foot cord will give you more options, but for most applications 3 feet is enough. After all, you will usually be holding it in your hand, and I don't know about you, but my arms aren't more than 3 feet long.

That's it. Better photos for less than $60. If you want to learn a LOT more, check out The Strobist's blog. He's awesome.