more on photography

Last week I talked about how lucky I am to do my photo shoots close to home. Of course the second half of the equation isn’t luck. It’s planning.

Photography requires you to look with an analytical eye at everything around you. If you’re doing landscape or portrait photography the bits that you need to analyze are going to be different each time. For knitwear photography the primary focus is the item (obviously) but I put just as much thought into the back drop. Perfect locations can be found in unusual areas. Cropping is your friend. For instance, look at the Root Cellar vest:

vest buttoned

You would never know (except that I’m going to show you) that half my pictures ended up being in front of this ugly plywood wall


This shot shows the dichotomy of that scene, it’s a goat farm after all. One side of the barn is red and catches the evening light. But much more of the scene involved plywood, goat poop, and dirty snow. I took over a hundred photos that evening in order to get a double handful of good ones.

Want another example? Take my snippet scarf:


Most of my front yard (in that direction) is scruffy blackberry canes and standing deadwood. You can see a little in the above picture. But there’s a lot more I was able to crop out.

scruffy back drop

Cropping is key – I wish I had pictures of the location we used for Nymphaea. It’s not actually an idyllic and peaceful beach. It’s actually the boat launch for a scruffy pond full of milfoil. Neil was tripping over someone’s abandoned plastic furniture while he took photos. Even taking the photos he didn’t think they were going to be any good at all. But it’s not just about cropping.

Sometimes I get a lot of bad-angles before finding the good one. For each picture of Jubjub Bird that worked:

Jubjub hero

There are at least four pictures with too much grass, too little sock, a bad angle (taking pictures of your own feet is HARD) or all three problems in a single photo:

bad angle

And some locations just don’t work the way I pictured. I thought that the shoot for La Moelle was going to include the river, and a really cool hiking-trail-suspension-bridge

out take

But it turns out you can’t really get a WHOLE BRIDGE into a single frame and still see any of the detail on the vest. Also, chain link mesh only looks really cool from a distance. That shoot was fraught with other issues too, the lighting, the fact that the camera batteries froze up twice (it was cold out)


But again, persistence (and cropping) means I got the shots I needed. So that’s the morale of this rambling story. When taking pictures just keep trying, look for little corners of prettiness, and don’t be afraid to crop!


6 responses to “more on photography

  1. I really like these posts on photography. Way too often (or honestly; almost always) I end up photographing my knits laying flat on the floor on a blanket. Prettier, outside, pictures would do more justice to the insane amount of hours put into the handknits I make.

    • Yes, exactly! I was never much for photography until I started knitting. But even before I started designing I knew I wanted to be able to show off all my hard work! And these days even cell phones have good cameras.

  2. Thanks for showing the “reality” of the shots, as well as the tips and tricks.

  3. Cropping is awesome! Thanks for putting up these shots- they make me feel a lot better about all of the cropping that I end up doing :)

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