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Picture Perfect Quilts: How to Take Great Quilt Pictures

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Tori McElwain with The Quilt Patch by Tori

When it comes to showcasing your stunning quilts, a picture truly is worth a thousand stitches! Whether you're an experienced quilt maker or just starting your quilting journey, capturing high-quality pictures of your beautiful creations is key to attracting attention, engaging customers, and building your quilt business. In this light-hearted guide, we'll walk you through some practical tips and tricks for mastering quilt pictures. Get ready to snap some picture-perfect pictures that will make your quilts shine!

1. Let There Be Light:

The first rule of taking quilt pictures is to embrace the light! Natural light is your best friend for capturing the true colors and intricate details of your quilts. Choose a bright, well-lit area in your home or find a spot outdoors with diffused sunlight. Avoid harsh shadows by shooting on cloudy days or positioning your quilts in a shaded area. Experiment with different angles to see how the light enhances different textures and patterns in your quilts.

An Exception:: Shadows can be an excellent way to bring out the top stitch on a quilt. If you're a longarmer or just love the details in the quilting on your quilt - experiment with harsh shadows. Utilize the sunsets or sunrises, try a staircase or a particular wall in your home that throws your top stitching into shadow!

2. Set the Stage:

Creating an appealing backdrop and setting the stage for your quilt is essential. Keep in mind that your quilt should be the star of the show, so choose a background that complements but doesn't overpower it. Solid-colored walls, neutral fabrics, or even outdoor scenery can serve as excellent backdrops. Be mindful of any distracting elements and aim for a clean, uncluttered setting that allows your quilt to take center stage.

3. Composition is Key:

Composition - or the different elements in the frame- plays a vital role in capturing attention-grabbing quilt pictures. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find the most flattering view for your quilt. Walk around the quilt or from side to side to capture the quilt in its entirety. Consider the rule of thirds by placing your quilt slightly off-center to create a visually pleasing balance.

Play around with different arrangements and props, such as vintage sewing machines or colorful spools of thread, to add visual interest and tell a story. If you love a designer's work, take some time to see how they have constructed the quilt's environment. What is in the picture that helps set the scene? Where did they stand in relation to the quilt? Take note of the colors and objects and let them inspire your own composition - it's a free photography lesson!

4. Get Up Close and Personal with your Quilt Pictures:

One of the joys of quilting is the tactile nature of the fabric and stitching. Capture the essence of your quilt by zooming in on texture and stitching details. Focus on intricate patterns, unique fabric combinations, and subtle variations in colors. Capture the binding, the individual block, or the beautiful eye-catching design in the middle or even the corner of the quilt. Try and capture the happy crinkles or the intricate hand applique stitching or quilting designs. Experiment with different depths of field to create a dreamy or sharp focus effect, depending on the mood you want to convey. It's a fun and beautiful way to showcase your work.

5. Edit with Care:

After you've snapped your quilt pictures, it's time to give them a little touch-up to make them truly shine. Basic editing techniques can go a long way in enhancing your images. Crop the pictures to remove any distractions or unnecessary elements. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation levels to accurately represent the colors and textures of your quilt. This can be done quite easily on the editor on your smartphone or if you're a lover of Instagram, they have an easy-to-use editing feature as well. Be careful not to overdo it—maintain the authenticity of your quilt's or brand's appearance.

6. Tell a Story:

Your quilts have a story to tell, and your pictures can reflect that. Consider creating a series of images that showcases the different stages of quilt making. Capture the fabric selection process, the cutting and piecing stages, and the final quilted masterpiece. These storytelling pictures not only add interest to your portfolio but also allow potential customers to connect with your craftsmanship and creativity.

I love to throw the quilt (literally) over different things and see if I can capture the drape or the snuggliness of the quilt. Try an armchair or couch, a tree, or a ladder. You can even take it to the "wilderness" and find walls, fences, benches, pavilions, statues, or even heavy artillery to throw it on.

7. Experiment and Have Fun:

Quilting is an art, and taking pictures of your work can be a fun addition to your quilt-making process! Don't be afraid to experiment, try new techniques, and let your creativity soar. Play with different props, experiment with unconventional angles, or even incorporate whimsical elements into your shots. The more you explore, the more you'll discover your unique style and create images that truly capture the essence of your quilts.

Taking Pictures of your quilts is an exciting journey that allows you to showcase your quilts in all their fun and beauty. By following these practical tips and tricks, you'll be well on your way to capturing stunning images that truly represent the craftsmanship and artistry behind your quilts. Remember, it's not just about the technical aspects of photography, but also about infusing your own creativity and personal touch into each picture.

Pineapple Panel quilted by Tori McElwain
Pineapple Panel quilted by Tori McElwain

So, grab your camera or smartphone, find some great lighting, set the stage, and let your quilts shine! With a little practice, patience, and a dash of creativity, you'll be amazed at the captivating quilt pictures you'll capture. Whether you're sharing them on your website, social media platforms, or even entering them into competitions, these images will grab the attention of quilting enthusiasts and potential customers alike.

Embrace the joy of capturing your quilt as an extension of your passion for quilting. Let each picture tell a story and showcase the heart and soul you pour into your creations. So go ahead, click that shutter button, and capture the creative magic infused in your quilts.

Happy snapping and may your quilting adventures be filled with boundless creativity and beautiful images that inspire the world!


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