Dynamite Knitwear Photos in 30 Seconds – Here’s How, According to Photography’s Grand Master

Instantly Improve Your Knitwear Photos With Posing Secrets That Surprise Even the Pros

Taking 30 Seconds to Pose Your Model Will Give You the Best Photos of Your Life

This short guide will revolutionize the way you photograph knitted garments.

Whether you model the piece on yourself or someone else (and you should model it on a person), take 30 seconds to pose your model according to this simple guide.

You’ll see a dramatic improvement in the power and grace of each photo, as well as your pride and enjoyment in sharing them.

Knitwear Designers: This Free Guide is Worth Thousands

If you are photographing your pattern knitwear to submit or sell, you are in luck. You’ll no longer be at a loss when it comes to directing a photoshoot or any female model. Your photos will be evocative, beautiful to look at, and the garments irresistibly knitable.

The Problem With Your Photos: Models Don’t Know How to Pose and You Don’t Know How to Pose Them

99% of the time, whenever you take a photo of a person, they will have no idea where to stand or what to do.

Even if they want to help you, they will still stand there awkwardly and say, “So what should I do?” Even a professional model, while more confident, will still ask, “Okay, so what do you want me to do?”

You will probably feel equally as clueless and uncomfortable when pointing the camera at yourself.

Your Knitwear Deserves Gorgeous Photos

Your knitwear is gorgeous. It probably took you dozens or hundreds of hours to knit and/or design, and your photos should do it justice!

The good news is that with this simple guide, you will have the exact blueprint to taking beautiful photos of any knitted garment.

Exactly What to Tell Your Model to Take Amazing Photos

In today’s video clip, Double Grand Master Photographer (and my personal hero) Jerry Ghionis breaks down the exact formula he uses to make any female subject look her absolute best.

This is his life’s work, distilled into a simple, 30-second formula. When applied, it will instantly transform any photo.

First, get your model set up next to a light source and position the camera in front of her. The schematic and instructions below show you how.

1. Find a light source where the light comes from the side

The first thing is to find a light source with soft, directional light. This will be easier if you are indoors – just look for a window that is casting soft light onto the people near it. When you hold your hand up to the light your hand should look like it glows.

If you are shooting outdoors, you will only get soft, directional light in the few minutes after sunrise and the few minutes before sunset, but those photos will be amazing and you pretty much can never go wrong taking photos at those times.

2. Place the model next to the window

Stand your model parallel to the window so that the light hits her from the side at 90 degrees. If you are going to be the model you will stand next to the window in the same way.

3. Place the camera facing the model

Place the camera or the tripod facing the model. You can see this in the screenshot of the video above where Jerry has his model posing near an open garage door that lets in some beautiful soft light from one direction, and he is directly across from her.

4. Turn the model’s body away from the light

Then, turn the model’s body away from the light about 45 degrees past you.

5. Last, turn the model’s face towards the light

Have her rotate her face past you towards the light, about 15-20 degrees. You may ask her, while she keeps her face in that position, to look at the camera with her eyes or to focus on any object in the distance that you indicate.

Create the “short side” of the face by turning body away from the light and the face back towards the light

This is How You Create “The Sexy Side of the Face”

Turning your model’s face in this way will illuminate her features in the most flattering way. This is called “photographing the sexy side of the face” or “creating the short side of the face.”

This pose illuminates the face in such a way that the far half of the face is in the light and the side of the face that is closest to you has a soft shadow on about half of it. In other words, 3/4 of the face is in soft light and 1/4 of the face from the cheek to the jaw is in shadow.

Here is a photo I took of myself yesterday with a hat I just finished, showing you how to position the face so that the shadow falls correctly.

Correct lighting and posing will dramatically improve any photo. This is me photographing myself on the short side of the face. No makeup, no haircut, and… I’m in my bathrobe. But the light was perfect and I had just finished my hat, so it was time to practice these concepts.
Here is Milo with the same perfect, soft, 3/4 light. While kids are much harder to pose, you can do most of the work by getting your camera in position and telling them to look at the phone. After about 40 goofy faces, the magic words to get this pose turned out to be, “Give me a soft smile.” 😍

Now: Use Master Photographer Jerry Ghionis’ 30-Second-Female-Pose to Bring Out the Best in Any Female Model

Now that you’ve gotten the light, the model, and the camera positioned, have your model perform the 7 micro-movements below in the order listed (demonstrated in the video clip).

Pro Tip: To avoid any “my-left/your-left” confusion, perform the movements opposite her and ask her to mirror you.

Even if not all the body parts mentioned appear in the frame, have your model do all the micro-movements anyway. They will enhance the strength, dynamism, and grace of the photo.

7 Micro-Movements to the Perfect Female Pose: Tell Your Model To…

  1. Point the front toe towards the camera.
  2. Slide the heel back.
  3. Shift the weight to the back leg.
  4. Bring the shoulders back.
  5. Lean the chest forward.
  6. Lift the arms away from the body.
  7. Turn the face, chin towards the outer shoulder.

Bonus: 3 Micro-Movements to Evoke Emotion

  1. Position the hands so you’re seeing the thinnest part of the wrist. For example, tell the model to cross her arms, then roll the hands in. Or hold the wrists together then raise them up to the face.
  2. Tell the model to breath through her mouth. This parts the lips and makes them look fuller.
  3. Tell the model to give you a “hint of a squint” if she seems to be staring out expressionlessly into space. This gives more mystery and emotion to the eyes.

Keep in mind Jerry’s best tips for female posing:

  • If a body part can bend, bend it.
  • Photograph the short side of the face.

Caveat: Emotion Trumps Posing

Just as you’re thinking that perfect posing could be the #1 key to fabulous photos, remember this piece of opposing advice: emotion trumps posing.

If you have a model who is genuinely laughing and enjoying herself, or is inspired to move her body in different poses and it looks great, take the picture!

Never sacrifice a candid moment because you’re trying to get the perfect pose.

A word about female/feminine/male/masculine.

Regardless of the model’s gender, you can use these tips to make anyone look good if you or they prefer they look more feminine in the photo.

To create a more masculine pose, turn both the body and the face towards the light. Photograph the “long side” of the face (the sunny side).

Me applying the above concepts to show the back of the hat in the best possible light (literally)

For those who are curious: Here’s how I took a photo of myself

I set my iPhone 14 Pro Max on a wallet-sized tripod on a table with the back camera (the good camera) facing towards me and held a remote shutter in my hand. I used the 3x zoom and set the camera to portrait mode.

Since I cannot see the iPhone screen while using the back camera, I used the free AirDroid Cast app to broadcast my phone screen to another iPhone we have.

I held that iPhone in my hand so that I could see the photo composition and then adjusted my pose carefully until I was following the principles above. Then I snapped the photo with the remote shutter.

Please leave me a comment and let me know how interesting this was for you, on a scale of 1-10. What was the most interesting thing about this for you? Thank you!

Thank you so much for your feedback and see you next Wednesday with another eye-opening video clip.


If this clip made you curious about posing females for photos and you want to understand it more in-depth (as this was a very fast overview), check out the original 19-minute video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWx7SBvmFZE



  • I say this is a 10, when I want to share a finished project, or add to my Ravelry, why not take the best photo possible? Thank you for the tips!

  • Norma Byrd

    Liat, I just got time to read this. It’s fantastic! Love your little sketch especially. It’s cute but actually perfectly shows how to set up the shoot. And as someone wrote, it’s not too long or elaborate to digest. We knitters can stare at stitches growing on needles for hours, but otherwise I think many of us may have short attention spans. Good headline there!

  • This email was a complete 10! I am a beginner portraitist, and I have been having one heckuva time finding good photos of the people I want to paint. Now I know how to do the Photos myself, this opens up so many possibilities. I can now paint my loved ones when I want to, not when I come across a good photo of them. Thank you so much!

  • Thanks for sharing. Full of fascinating information & pictures that demonstrates what was meant.

  • Thank you. Very informative, especially as I will be test driving your tips on my grandchildren in a couple of weeks.

    Are you going to publish instructions for that adorable hat?

  • I appreciate the tips, especially for the selfie!

  • Paula Denman

    I love this. I never have spent much time. Thinking about these details. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • I’d give it a 10. Very interesting showing how I could take a better photo with just enough detail to instruct and not overwhelm with extraneous detail.

  • Excellent info. However, if the idea is to show off the knitted item the best, I’m not sure this formula always works to its best advantage. I’ve seen photos of knitwear in knitting magazines that make the model look great but are misleading as to the fit, drape, or special stitch features of the item.

  • This was an excellent read for me. I’ve been knitting for a long time, and frequently have occasion to photograph my finished objects (FO) or the FO of others in my guild. Thanks so much for the detailed, but not insufferably long article. I feel I can benefit from these tips today!

  • Amy Taylor-Brill

    Very 10

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