One of the areas where I think I’ve done some learning since starting out as a designer last year is that of photography. Previously, taking snaps of my work was just about having something to stick on my blog and share on my Ravelry page. Now I think a lot more about how well the photographs show off my designs, whether they do their job as part of a pattern to help knitters making my designs and whether they reflect my aesthetic in a way that could tempt knitters to seek out and buy my patterns.
What I’ve learned so far has mainly been gleaned from reading threads on good old Rav about the subject, along with starting to take proper notice of the photography for patterns that draw my eye as a knitter. I’ve started using an SLR camera rather than my phone camera, only taking shots in natural light, thinking carefully about getting appropriate backgrounds (preferably complimentary but not distracting) and probably most importantly spending time- time setting up shots, trying out angles, thinking about which details I need to have close-ups of and doing some basic editing.
Sometimes it’s also been about waiting for the right opportunity. This weekend I’ve been taking shots of my Make Do and Mend Cushion, previously published in Knit Now magazine and due for individual pattern release at the end of May. I waited until I was visiting the farm my in-laws live on because, in addition to the fact that the house is hundreds of years old, it has several rooms full of what my father-in-law terms ‘kelter’ (junk to the rest of us), but what I see as treasure. The forgotten trinkets and ornaments of several generations lie gathering dust on any number of dressing tables and wash stands just waiting to provide the backdrop for a vintage-style photo. The results represent quite an improvement on the one I’d taken in haste with a phone camera before, for example:
Getting new shots for my Coniston Sweater was another case of finding the right location- I have to admit it ended up being Windermere, rather than Coniston, but I loved this jetty and on the day it was taken the colours of the lake and sky were perfectly picked up by the colours in the knit. The only problem with getting some decent shots was the fact I’ve managed to raise a hand-knit hater in my three year old son. Whatever yarn I use, however carefully I choose the design, if he knows it was hand-knitted he just won’t wear it. The only photos I’d been able get before were therefore not only hasty phone shots, but featured the grumpiest model imaginable- you can see an example at the top of this page!
So how did I get some wholly better shots, like this?
Reader, I bribed him. My children very rarely get chocolate. The main reason for this is to preserve their little teeth, but an extra advantage is that it makes it such a treat for them that when I offered my wee boy one a chocolate bar in exchange for his cooperation on the shoot he was as good as gold and twice as gorgeous. Needs must, and the new shots make the pattern- the first I’ve independently published for sale- look so much better.
More examples can be seen on my Ravelry pages.
>According to the weather reports, it seems we’ve been a bit fooled by the signs of Spring. Next week promises colder winds, lots of rain and even snow. This makes me even gladder that we’ve been getting out and about as much as we have recently. It also spurred us to go out this afternoon, despite the need to continue the big sorting out job we’ve begun on the house (a move is imminent, we hope, so we are trying to reduce our possessions before we have to pack and move them). Yes, Tarn Hows is becoming a bit of a predictable choice for us, but when you just need to get out and catch that last little blast of Spring weather predictable and easy fits the bill.
We found a little sunshine…
Spring really was in the air today- we could somehow smell it as soon as we stepped out of the door into sunshine and slightly warmer air than we’ve been used to for so long. We headed to Coniston, to try out the Yewdale Bridleway route, which was as lovely as the description promised, taking us through oak woodland below Yewdale and above Coniston Water. It was a bit tough for us mummies, given the steep start and a path that suffered in last November’s floods, leaving some rocky terrain.
The buggy passengers didn’t seem phased by bumping along but were soon keen to stretch their legs and explore- knee deep dry leaves, becks that disappeared under the path, drystone walls and more signs of Spring; catkins and these daffodils, not quite ready to burst into a Wordsworthian host but surely not far off if the sunshine stays.
It must be admitted that energy levels today didn’t quite carry us to the official ‘turning point’ of the route- you have to know when to stop sometimes, especially when you’re 23 weeks into a pregnancy! As we headed back to Coniston to treat ourselves to lunch in a cafe and check out ferry times for future adventures, this tree by the path provided yet another source of fascination. Small enough for little arms to wrap around and intriguingly covered in moss, it begged to be prodded, stroked and even hugged. Around the same time two horseback riders came thundering along- thankfully slowing down to a gentle trot to pass us. Well, it is a bridleway after all.