More steep learning curves

It may be becoming a tired phrase on the pages of this blog, but there really is always something new to learn when running your own business. While not without its frustrations, being permanently challenged is one of its great joys.

On top of all of the multitude of new things to master, the most recent has been photography. While I like to think that my snap shots of Jen's finished objects that we've been using on the blog for years have improved over time, I was (and to a large degree am) still in the dark about composition and most aspects of using a camera, beyond making sure that everything is set to fully automatic.

As our business has evolved however, our photographic requirements have changed considerably. For pattern and book photos and for video tutorials, we've worked with the brilliant Jesse Wild and hope to continue to do so well into the future. However, as our shop has expanded we have decided that we want a consistent look to our product photos and thought we could do it ourselves. How hard could it be?

The answer is a bit harder than I'd first thought. Our first attempts with our ageing Panasonic bridge camera were, to be frank, rubbish. Even out of automatic we couldn't get realistic colours, or even keep the background the same colour. Our unconscious incompetence suddenly became conscious incompetence as we grasped just how much we (it rapidly became the royal we) didn't know and couldn't do. 

 Light, camera, high-tech scrap of paper to mark the position of the yarn.

Light, camera, high-tech scrap of paper to mark the position of the yarn.

Fortunately, Jesse rode to the rescue with some advice on kit and generously talked me through setting everything up so that I could have a chance of matching my shots with the product photos he'd already done for us. That was all great and after a bit of fiddling about, I could reproduce the general look.

One of the other things Jesse talked me through was developing the images. However, not having years of experience or the budget to get exactly the same software as he uses, my first attempts were, to be perfectly honest, muddy. Knowing what I wanted to achieve was hampered by my ignorance in how to achieve it. More reading and more fiddling followed and slowly I am getting there. 

 My first attempt - dark and dingy

My first attempt - dark and dingy

 Much more realistic reproduction of the colours

Much more realistic reproduction of the colours

I still have challenges to face, not least the yarn itself. Schoppel Wolle Gradient is an absolute pain to show off: these 5 balls are all the same shade. 

 Schoppel Gradient Gelbfilter

Schoppel Gradient Gelbfilter

I hope I'm now able to show off the beautiful yarns we have on sale. It's not just that the colours are accurate, but also that you can see the subtle (and not so subtle) variations within each shade. Above all, I hope you can get a good look at the yarn itself so that you want to reach out and give it a good squish.

As I said before, much as learning how to do something new can be deeply frustrating, the satisfaction of having a finished product that you can be proud of makes the struggle worthwhile. And who knows, maybe the next time Jen wants to show off one of her finished objects I'll dare to disengage automatic.