The Importance of Good Photography

It’s so important to take good photos of the quilts you make. Case in point: This is the only photo I have of a quilt I made for my brother Bob in the mid-1980’s. I dug it and the other two photos out of my scrapbook. Bob’s quilt was/is roughly twin size, machine pieced and hand quilted. There are feathers wandering around the border, filled in with diagonal quilting lines. It was a good pattern for using up scraps, and I had a lot of them. I gave it to him shortly after he graduated from Michigan State University. The photo is a little blury, and I wish I had close-ups of the quilting. Darn.

The quilt on the right is another picture that’s not so great. This is a very heavy quilt. I bought an old quilt top, and many of the blocks were in very bad condition. I salvaged those I could and sewed them together into a top. It says “1983 Restored Pinwheel” in the center, along with an explanation of the process of restoring the quilt. The quilt is 82 inches square, hand quilted. Again, there is a very intricate feather pattern that winds around the quilt. It took first place at a Michigan State Fair for hand quilting. I wish I had better pictures of it. It’s still in my possession, so I think I’ll dig it out and take them before I forget.

The pink quilt below is an example of a good “quilt portrait.” Naturally, I didn’t take the photo. It was done professionally for my second book, Contemporary Quilts From Traditional Designs. Notice how the lighting is even all over the quilt? You can click on the photo to enlarge it and see the quilting design. Your quilting design should be visible in your photographs! After all, that is a huge part of the quilt!

If you don’t already own one, treat yourself to a good digital camera. Find a place to hang a full-size quilt. I used to use the back outside wall of my garage (at our first house). That had some limitations, though. It had to be a nice day with little wind. Slightly overcast days are best for shooting photos outside. If you can take photos inside, make sure you have enough light surrounding your area so the flash won’t bounce off the quilt in one area. It’s better to use more lights that are diffused than one very bright light. See how the center of my pinwheel quilt is brighter than the rest? That’s a big NO-NO.

Of course, if money is no object, feel free to support a local photographer. They need to put food on their table, too. Just don’t forget to take your quilt’s picture. Sometime. Soon.

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