Last year we welcomed Ginny to our team. Ginny works part time at the mill and is responsible for preparing and packing orders to send to customers located all over the world. She also provides admin and operational support to Kamila, our brand manager and most recently has taken on the role of product photographer. Here she tells us more about how she is enjoying this new aspect of her role and her approach to capturing the perfect product shot.
I really can’t believe that I have been lucky enough to find a job that lets me use two of my main interests – knitting and photography. I also like a bit of an adventure, and trying to photograph the Blacker Yarns ranges in different ways has led me to a few interesting places and encounters.
I have been enjoying photographing some of the wool for Blacker Yarns. My interest in photography began when I realised that the photos I was taking for my own knitting patterns just weren’t really good enough. A slightly better camera, an adult education evening course, plus a copy of Nikon for Dummies, all really helped.
In my workplace I started by photographing the Shetland Coffee range, which meant trying to make the perfect cup of coffee and scattering coffee beans.
Next for the Westcountry Tweed I headed with my husband to Wistman’s Wood on Dartmoor, a really interesting place to visit and for some outdoor shots.
All went well, until heading back to the car an angry man accused me of stealing some moss! I suppose the big bag of wool skeins and camera equipment might have looked a bit suspicious. Perhaps he thought I had a sheep in there!
My second idea for the Westcountry Tweed was to attempt to have a sheep in the background of the shot. It wasn’t going that well, until I found a sheep super model, who seemed desperate to be the star of the show.
For the Romney Guernsey I spent a morning in Bude, rather than a trip to The Channel Islands that I was hoping for. I found some fishing equipment as a colourful backdrop. Down on the beach I had to be careful to watch the tide, and my dog who was taking an interest in the wool.
And finally, our latest new range Bam-boozle, which contains a blend of 20% bamboo, 40% Romney and 40% of BFL, had me hunting for a nice stand of bamboo. Harder to find than you would think, but on a recent trip to Brighton my family abandoned me in a public flowerbed as I was just being too embarrassing. In the end the beanpoles from my garden proved a much better backdrop as you can see in the image below.
My top tips for photographing knitting or wool are to get as much light as you can. But not direct sunlight, which tends to bounce off the wool, so that you can’t see the texture. I usually go for a natural background, or a plain background. Draping fabric can work really well, although once or twice recently I have found a suitable backdrop on my computer. I take loads of photos, as you can always pick the best later. How did photographers manage before digital?
One of my own photos that I am quite proud of was of a shell for my own knitting pattern. It was taken while on holiday in north Devon, where the window seat of the cottage we were staying in seemed to nicely trap the light. The picture was picked up by two knitting magazines, one in the UK and one in Australia, who had it as a whole page feature, and it led to me being commissioned to design a pattern.
Now I’m already thinking of ideas for our next Blacker Yarns range, and who knows where that might take me.