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Suggestions For Good Photography

Picture this: You’ve spent months cutting, sewing, and striving for perfection. You’ve been up to your ears in batting, thread, and fabric. You’ve made the quilt of your dreams. After all that hard work, your quilt is finished. Your quilt entry has to get in the mail today! Frantically, you throw your quilt over a banister, shoot a picture, and get your entry in the mail.

You may have just made the best quilt of your entire life. It may, in fact, be “Best of Show” worthy. But you’re forgetting one important detail: In order for your quilt to hang in one of our shows, it must first be juried. How do we jury your quilts? You guessed it…by YOUR photography.

We’ve received our share of excellent photography…but we’ve also seen some of the worst. Below you will find some helpful hints to go by when photographing your next masterpiece! Remember, your pictures are all our juries can see…show your best work!

First, make sure your camera is on the highest quality setting. This will, indeed, make your file sizes larger. This is NOT a problem. In most cases, the larger the file size, the better quality the image; the more megapixels you use, the better your photograph will be. Also, (and we can’t stress this enough) be sure your camera is in focus when shooting your quilt.

The full shot image must be exactly what it says: a FULL shot. This means no folded corners, no bushes or trees in front of the quilt, and no fingers peeking over the top. For the best results, suspend your quilt from a curtain rod, letting it hang freely. Shoot your quilt at a 90-degree angle from the CENTER of the quilt. If you shoot your quilt from above or below, the quilt does not appear square (see illustrations).

Use your best source of lighting. The best results come when shooting outdoors on a cloudy day. The distilled sunlight creates just  the right lighting for your quilts. Avoid harsh, direct sunlight as it blows out the color of your work. If you must shoot your quilt indoors,  choose a room with the most natural lighting, and try to avoid any shadowing over your quilt.

When selecting your detail shot, choose a 12″ section of your quilt that is your best work. You know your best work, so show it in your detail shot. Make sure you’re not physically too close to your quilt when taking the picture, as your camera may have trouble focusing.

  • Save Images As: (JPEGS in all lower case with no spaces. Use _ in place of a space as shown below.)
    1. FULL image as: title_of_quilt_f
    2. SMALL DETAIL image as: title_of_quilt_s
    3. HEADSHOT image as: firstname_lastname

A headshot is a photo of you from the shoulders up. If you are a group or team of quilters, please use a group photo that includes everyone. Burn your images to a CD. If you don’t have the capability to save your image to a CD, simply take your camera or memory card to the nearest photo-processing center and they will be happy to do it for you. (If you are a group of quilters, save as group_name.)

Not only will your photographs be viewed by our jury, but if your quilt is selected to hang in any of our QuiltWeek events, your photograph may be used and re-used for publication and re-publication in AQS QuiltWeek material, digital or printed. We know you’ve worked hard on your quilt. Don’t jeopardize your quilts’ future with bad photography!