Telling tales: Part two

Or: What I share where and why?

A couple of weeks ago I was talking here about how the blog has evolved and continues to evolve and my new found love of instagram.

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying taking the images for instagram – especially now I’ve taken delivery of my new camera, a rather lovely Olympus OMD ME10. Its a big learning process as I’m trying to grapple with learning the technicalities of photography, a new camera and photo composition rules all at the same time.

olympus omd


I am really enjoying the challenge of creating visually pleasing images that support my work and show people what I am up to but I have been slightly struggling with the idea that it is all a bit fake and slightly contrived.

Do I have flowers around the house? Yes I try to, starting recently as I am finding that they really cheer me up and make me smile. Are they naturally in every shot? No, of course they aren’t! I’m placing them there to make the picture more visually pleasing.

If I show you a picture of what I’m working on I have two options:Take it there and then, (on the left) or style it up a bit and adjust for contrast and light (on the right):


Clearly the right image is staged but I find it much more visually appealing and I was able to put props into the photo to tell the story of the rest of my day (I was heading off to teach knitting classes but hoping to work some more on the design if I had time.) So is that fake?

I’m also always going to be somewhat guarded about my personal life. You will occasionally see pictures of my children – I always ask their approval before posting but I am wary about telling their stories online. I feel very aware that anything on the internet doesn’t ever really go away and can be searched by future employers. I’m erring on the side of “this is not my story to tell” at all times. Also, as a mother I tend to want to present my children in their best light. If they have been little sods all week and had me tearing my hair out, I probably won’t tell you. If they said something sweet I possibly will. Is that sugarcoating life?

I think my take on it is that my personality truly comes through when I share with you. Lots of people who I’ve met in real life after they have been following me online have commented that I am exactly how they expected to me. You won’t get any sugar coating or fakery there. I’m also going to try and document how much goes into designing too. Show you some of the failed swatches, talk about how I was up until midnight because I had a deadline.

But I would like to make my online world look as pretty as it can be.

I know some people feel very strongly about this debate. That adding gloss to anything in your life can make other people feel like they are the only ones not coping and that every one else is doing better/more etc. I would never want to make anyone else feel bad or pretend that I “have it all”. So know this, know when I took that pretty styled shot, I was probably balanced on a pile of mess I had to move out of the way to style it!

What do you think? Do you enjoy enjoy styled images and exploring the pretty with your favourite designers or would you prefer we all kept it real?


  1. Solitary_cricket says

    I think that styled images in this case are inspiring. Its obviously fake but it doesnt feel like a complete lie. I like styled pictures because of the story they can tell and because they can give insight into how you as the designer, crafter, or photographer want the viewers to feel about a piece. I would assume lot of us are able to extrapolate all the behind the scenes fuss that goes on to get a nice picture.
    Background: I follow you on IG and always enjoy your posts.

  2. says

    Great post! I popped over from blogtacular, I’m a keen crochetters so I think I’ll be staying around!

    I’m also on the fence when it comes to ‘styling’ photos. I like to share ‘real life ‘ images because I feel they’re more accurate as to how my life actually is BUT I also love styling up photos and making adjustments to help them look even better. It’s hard to find the balance because my Instagram is full of low-light terrible photos next to pretty styled images and I wonder if the combination of the two is worse than having one or the other.

    I also agree that some people frown upon the styled photos, making out that they suggested you’re ‘faking it’ when really, it’s a hobby and takes a lot more time than just a snap-and-share photo!

    If there’s a balance out there and you find it, let me know lol :)

  3. says

    I have noticed you upped your game with your photos – they are looking lovely (what’s not to love with tulips AND yarn!?!). I happen to think it’s one thing to only post completely staged photos (these can feel like ‘wallpaper’ over time, and I stop really *seeing* them) and another to make the effort to improve pictures you’re going to take anyway (i.e. to show a project) to be more visually appealing.

    As for keeping it ‘real’ I have enough mess and strife of my own, so please show us the good stuff for the most part, and every now and again, remind us that you’re only showing the good bits – that you’re human too! ;)

  4. thehookstook says

    I think a bit of both – pretty/stylised and real (not necessarily in the same shot!) If you are selling a pattern, the images should be more ‘presentable’, of course. But included in a blog post, why not keep it real? Though it’s also fun to play around with props. Flowers and map are good!

  5. says

    Personally I love blogs with beautiful images; for example, the way you’ve combined colour and texture in the right hand shot is inspiring! It’s a hard balance; I also try not to sugar coat my life but I definitely don’t share everything and try not to give too much away about Little M.

  6. says

    This is how I see instagram – that it is a pretty portrayal of my life rather than the more grainy life I share on twitter (and via the blog to an extent) – still not really comfortable using my children in any of them though

  7. Dette says

    Definitely styled, surely everyone knows we all move the junk out of the way to take a photo! I have just found your feed on IG – lovely. Dette(dream of Anne on IG)