You will want to present your work to the judges in the best possible way. Many current smart phones, iPads and tablets have
decent cameras that you can use to photograph your work, provided you follow some tips which will make the photograph represent your work well and look more professional. If you have a
good DSLR camera, by all means, use it. The discussion below is by no means exhaustive. Hopefully it will provide you with information you can use to improve your submission
Resolution, lighting and focus are some of the important keys to creating good photographs.
In general the more megapixels a camera has, the better the resolution. However, the more megapixels, generally, the larger the
file and large files are difficult to send. Most camera, tablet, and iPad cameras have sufficient megapixels to take good photographs provided that the lighting and focus are
When taking your photographs, be especially aware of the lighting. The best way to light the subject is to shoot outdoors on a
‘hazy bright’ day. This helps eliminate shadows. Ambient light indoors can suffer from insufficient amount of light. To improve lighting above ambient, there are reasonably priced ‘ring lights’
specifically designed for taking photographs with smartphones. Always be aware of your windows and never shoot into the light. It is best to position the light so that is falling onto what you
are photographing. When working with artificial light, it is best to set up a 3-light set up and use light bulbs that mimic natural light as much as possible. Have your most intense light
(main) fall onto the subject from a position behind you and slightly to one side. The second light (fill) should be a softer, less powerful light positioned to fall on the subject from the
opposite side of the main light. This helps eliminate shadows. The third softer light (rim) is positioned above and slightly behind the subject to restore delineation lost because of the other two
lights. The following video link provides more information: Three Point Lighting Basics for Photography and Video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBGuQZo0g94.
The focus needs to be sharp in order to assure clarity of your photographs. Most of todays’ cameras autofocus but the camera must
be held absolutely still. That can be accomplished by using a tripod or stable platform that will hold the camera steady while the picture is taken. There are several commercially available
tripods or tripod adapters for smart phones/tablets/iPads.
The tips below will help produce a better photograph no matter the camera you use.
- Do not use a flash, use natural light whenever possible. If you use artificial light, use a 3-light set up with light that mimics
natural sunlight as much as possible.
- Use a tripod or some stable platform for the ‘camera’.
Any movement will reduce the clarity of your photograph, which is especially critical for textiles.
- For flat textiles, focus on the center of the piece, making sure that the plane of your lens is level to the plane of your piece. If not level, the proportions of the piece
will be distorted.
- For three-dimensional works, you still want to be sure that the angle at which you take the photo does not
distort the proportions of your work.
- Do not use a wide-angle
lens. This will distort the proportions of your work.
- Be aware of shadows. Try to eliminate them as much as
- Use solid color non-shiny backgrounds. White or
off-white is probably most appropriate, but some work may show better on a darker background, like black or navy
Beyond taking the picture, there are many photo editing applications. Adobe Photoshop and Elements is probably the most
well-known, but many devices come with editing tools for adjusting brightness, contrast, color and cropping of the picture. At a minimum, adjust the brightness and contrast of your picture to
better reflect the actual piece. Crop the picture to remove unnecessary background.
For more information, google ‘photographing textiles’ to find many websites and blogs on the subject.