Recently I got to photograph the beautiful Bealtaine Shawl by Carol Feller for Woollinn. You can read about the design here on Carol’s blog and the exclusive Woollinn Kits and more importantly what the shawl stands for here on the This is Knit blog but today I thought I could chat with you about what it was like to be the person behind the camera and photographing a friend ( who is really family at this stage lets be honest). That is how I see an awful lot of the people that I have the privilege to work with. Friends or family.

I should probably set the scene like any good writer does. It’s spring here in Ireland and the weather has not been playing its part but oh my has the light been making up for it. So, an impromptu photoshoot with the lovely Lisa of Woollinn/This is Knit meant looking out our windows (we luckily live quite close) followed by a “Yes, now!” dive into a car so we could catch that glorious sunset.

Photographers will tell you that in spring there is a magical hour that arrives just before the sun sets or gets too low on the horizon. It’s a strange balance between a glowing warm yellow haze and magical soft light. I’m not really experienced photographing people but I love this light on the beach. Instead of water this time the sun was hitting the dunes in a beautiful way but I have this habit of turning into the sun to get those lace features to stand out but as you can see from this images I get a little distracted by the sky and, well just how beautiful my friends are in front of the camera.

You may have guessed these aren’t the images we used for the shawl but these are images that I love and ones that you won’t see anywhere else. It’s easy when you know someone to break the ice and be natural but if you ask Lisa I was really off my game and not in any way funny the evening we did this shoot and let’s not talk about how you could also look at this as me photographing my boss…..but between the madness of Woollinn, running TIK and well everything else on her plate, Lisa found the time to model and relax in front of the camera and sometimes we laughed a lot thanks to Lisa which gave us some beautiful images.

Taking images of people you know is both fun, easy and difficult. I still see myself as that person a year ago who didn’t know how to edit or use our Canon or frame an image. So this is a pretty big deal for me. Also, I would point out that Lisa neglected to mention that this was the one and ONLY time she had to take photos of the shawl before the print deadline, until halfway through this shoot. Picture me, pale and shaking and Lisa laughing her ass off and you have a decent understanding of the scene.

The difficult part was to stop taking images of Lisa and start taking images of the shawl. You will see from the previously mentioned blog posts that we did get those shawl images after about 1.5 hours on the beach (and it was cold!) but we were confident that we had enough to go through and still have some for teasers. Lisa has also an amazing eye for detail and light and these photos would have looked completely different if she wasn’t the person modelling them. We had originally said that we would do a sunrise shoot but here that means a 5.30am start and did I mention we have toddlers? This last image is one of my favourites even if it is a little dark. It’s a perfect Irish shot with the dunes, sunset and that beautiful maiden tower in the background.

Sometimes we never know how far we have come until a friend asks you to help support what they are doing. That they think what you have been working on is good enough to collaborate with and with both Carol and Lisa I am still in shock that they asked me and I still squee about it. Sometimes as a blogger etc. you can feel a little lost and not realise that you are achieving things little by little even when it doesn’t feel like it. That’s the importance of having a network of friends/co-workers who support you as you support them and it’s why I love this world of craft so very much.

When you pick up and look at your next pattern, ready to cast on. Think of all the people who put it together. The designer, the test knitters, the tech editors, the model, the sample knitter, the yarn support (or dyer) and the photographer. That pattern means the world to each of them.

Will you look at pattern images the same way in the future?

If you want to come and join me at Woollinn you can still reserve your free spot on the guest list for the Yarn in Ireland panel here

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