Photo shoot day

Perhaps the aspect of Onward Knits I worried about the most was the photo shoot. There were a lot of decision that had to be made and only one thing was certain: I had to do the photos at the railway station.


All through writing the book I dithered over who I wanted to model. I knew I wanted ‘good-looking normal-looking’ people. Not, well, models. I asked a good friend of mine, Nicola, to model for me, thinking she was good-looking and a dancer, so she moved well. She offered to be my photographer instead (tactful!). She then made the excellent suggestion that I should use a ‘range’ of friends.

That’s how I ended up with the excellent group of people that feature in my book. Two are Nicola’s friends, three are mine. All of the models were truly amazing. It’s no easy thing to have your photo taken, let alone show off the accessories, all the while in a very public place.


Okay, I lied earlier. There were two certain things: I also needed to finish the samples before the photo shoot.

When Nicola and I sat down with our calendars we found out there was only two weekends we were both free before she left for two months: one in two weeks and Beervana weekend. Beervana weekend wasn’t really an option: a) at least two of our models would be drunk and/or hungover and b) every beer geek from Wellington and indeed New Zealand would be traipsing through the railway station. So we went with the Saturday that was two weeks away.

One small problem: I hadn’t finished my samples! Cue a bit of frantic knitting, some terrifying (but ultimately the right decision) ripping, and some calmer re-knitting. And then a few days of impatiently waiting for the samples to dry after blocking (shakes fist at Wellington weather).


Early one morning, Nicola and I headed down to the railway station for a recce, to pick out spots for each photo and check how the light looked in certain places. The low winter sun bounced off the building opposite, creating some weird light-play on the front of the station:


And we discovered the problem of trying to photograph reasonably small accessories with large architectural features – a challenge I ended up resolving through the layout of the book, rather than clever photograph work.IMG_3831

Photo shoot day!

The day itself ran very smoothly. I borrowed a car and picked up Nicola and our first model of the day (Emma, who modelled the Alight Hat and Mitts). We were at the station by eight in the morning.


The big white thing? That’s a hunk of polystyrene we were going to use to ‘bounce’ light into the places we needed it. But, as it was a super sunny day, we used it as a shade instead! (It’s now a pinboard for my future pattern ideas).

Everyone had an allotted time on the day and – you’re not going to believe this – we ran on time. We even finished half an hour early.

The only thing we hadn’t really planned for was differences in height; Nicola’s not really short, but neither is she particularly tall. Fortunately, there was an unattended milk crate nearby:


And I had to get used to being a lot closer to my friends than usual – I don’t normally rearrange my friends’ clothing!

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There were, of course, some amazing outtakes:

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A very Wellington shoot

In the end it was an exceptionally Wellington shoot, because (and maybe only Wellington people will get these):

  • Within ten minutes of getting to the railway station we saw two people we knew.
  • Half of the people involved worked in the public service.
  • One person worked in the film industry.
  • The wind ruined two photos (although it really wasn’t too bad).
  • Although the weather forecast wasn’t great, it was beautifully sunny on the day (#wellingtononagoodday).
  • The local newspaper we used as a prop was advertising the NZSO playing with the Phoenix foundation.

Massive thanks

I cannot thank Nicola and my lovely models enough. They were absolute champs!

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