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.
We’ve been a bit lonely this week as no walkies with our pals (little pal is sick with teethy stuff, poor lamb). It’s also been a bit wild in the weather department. Still, today was slightly milder so I was determined we’d get out and about.
Before lunch I filled the house with the heavenly smell of garlic and tomato, making the standby pasta/pizza/whatever sauce that will be a cornerstone of the Holy Eye Cookbook if I ever get around to writing with it. Must be over 15 years since my first boyfriend’s mother taught me to make it, and it just gets better.
Then off to Bowness on Windermere and a circular walk by Cockshott Point. Pretty views, with just enough sunshine to dapple the fells before low cloud moved in. A little too commercial and, well, civilised, for my taste (I like my nature a bit more natural), but P got some walking and boat/swan watching in and we bought a new folder of walks from the information point- we’ve nearly exhausted the South Lakes opportunities in the original book we got!
Back home and I made Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s gorgeous honey and almond cake (a prized clipping from The Guardian that’s already gaining the sticky spatter marks which signify a good recipe) before tackling the weird, deeply ridged squash that came in last week’s organic box. It was a complete bugger to peel and cube but roasted nicely with chilli seasoning and orange sweet peppers. We had it with goats cheese, bulghar wheat and that warm, nice-to-be-indoors feeling when an autumn night closes in and your family are all together.