I was so excited to write this profile of Niq, our primary product photographer (and Sock Dreams founder!). It’s her style that defined the type of product photography we do here, since she’s the one who started Sock Dreams!

I mentioned in my own Behind the Lens post that Sock Dreams has a “look” and language to product photos, and that language and look is partially evolved from Niq’s early Socks of the Day photo posts! Sadly, multiple site redesigns and blog moves have lost most of those posts to the sands of time, but I was able to find these two images from a post made in December of 2003!

Split image: on the left, in a dark and heavy with flash image, a person wears black and white marled warmers over ribbed grey over the knee socks. They're kicking their leg out a little, showing old fashioned looking black ankle boots and raw edged denim shorts under a short grey brocade coat. On the right, a person squats, their arms stretched out past their knees to show off their black and white marled warmers. They're wearing an Ankh necklace and ribbed grey over the knee socks worn with shorts are partially visible behind the flash-bright arm warmers.

 

The welcoming and casual tone of her photos, merging lifestyle product photography with traditional product photography, has become a key part of how Sock Dreams portrays our products online. We want to show you not just what a pair of socks or arm warmers looks like, but how they look in life.

Split image: on left a person stands on mossy stone steps, the edges of the image touched by various greenery. They're wearing thigh high, thickly ribbed dark purple socks and mid calf black boots. On the right, a model is seen from shoulder to hip, wearing a fringed and sequined black dress. They're wearing burgundy textured sleeves that extend from wrist to above the elbow.

On the left: Long Cuffable Scrunchable Socks in Plum
On the right: Chevron Sleeves in Dark Red/Black

I sent Niq a questionnaire to see how she started this sock-tacular style, and I’m going to let her tell the tale in her words—because whatever I might know or share is nothing compared to her sock saga!

 

♥ ♥ ♥

When did you start taking pictures for Sock Dreams? I mean, we all know the answer is “since Sock Dreams was born” but give us a date so we can imagine the labyrinthine photo archives you must have!
My first rolls of actual sock shots were developed by Seattle FilmWorks on March 29, 2000... test shots were taken a couple of months before that, to see if I could even make socks look interesting enough for people to want them for themselves.

Do you remember your first photo for Sock Dreams?
Attached is not my first shot, but the first one that felt usable and gave me a direction to work with on this new venture of taking pictures of socks on feet.

An image with the texture of scanned photograph, of a person wearing a satin-and-sheer white slip, their leg stretched out to the side to show off a white ankle sock worn with a black velvet pump.

 

When/how did you start photography?
When I was about 8 I was out hiking with my mom and she handed me the camera to take a picture of her... not only was it my first picture, it was the first time tilting the camera to get what I would learn much later is called a Dutch angle, I still love my angled shots, but I do try not to overuse them.

A scanned Polaroid image of a woman standing in a forest, one hand posed on cocked hip, the other bracing against her knee. She wears a jaunty red scarf tied at her neck and a striped button shirt tied at the waist, open over a white undershirt. Her jeans have the high waist and full leg of true 1970s pants.

 

What was the road that led you to taking product pictures, was it through portraits of friends, necessity, or did you jump right in to working with folks modelling product?
It was necessity... since it was just me in the beginning I would use a tripod and remote shutter release.... I didn't even have a digital camera at the time, in fact, my first two years online I relied on SFW and digital scans but one particularly bad batch of images quickly made me realize it was worth the investment in the "new technology".

An album lays out, showing two sheets of contact prints from developing colour film and two prints themselves. The images on the contact sheets and the photos are of socks and feet in simple over the knee stockings.

 

What is the most difficult thing for you when it comes to taking pictures of product?
Keeping track of all the details so the picture comes together with minimal fuss... are the socks even and the lines straight? did a bit of fuzz magically appear since we started? ...probably.

A person wearing bright purple tights stretches their legs out across the bottom of the horizontal frame. Their hand is resting gently on their knee and an abundance of greenery and flowers is blurry and bright in the background.

We Love Colors Plus Size Tights in Purple

What is your favourite thing about taking pictures of product?
Seeing all the new socks in action.

Do you have a favourite thing to take pictures of?
Sockwise it is thigh highs.... outside of socks it's either flowers or bugs, especially bugs on flowers.

From the view of a step or two above, a person sits on concrete steps, their legs half-crossed at the ankle as they balance their feet on the edge of a step. Long dark hair is hiding the face and most of the outfit, but the edge of a short, ruffled skirt is visible. The person is wearing lacey floral thigh highs with attached straps that go up and under the skirt, like garters. The black of the net contrasts strongly with the person's very light skin.

Patchwork Floral Lace Stockings with Attached Garter Belt

Hardest question ever: what’s your current favourite shot?
ModSocks fiddle head ferns...

Seen from the knee and below, a person wears jeans rolled to just below the knee, over black socks covered in a knit design of green curling ferns. They're wearing low-cut black canvas sneakers with white accents, laces and soles.

 

♥ ♥ ♥

From film to Instagram, Niq’s style has sparked the fashionable flame that is Sock Dreams! Thanks to her, we’ve been having fun with our photo shoots since the start, and we hope it shows!

A person wearing grey, white and gold tartan thigh highs stands, cross-ankled, in the center of the image, in front of an irregular stone wall. They're hodling the edges of their pleated grey wool skirt, to flare the ends up.

Dreamer Tartan OTK in Charcoal/Sweet Cream/Ochre