Photographing Your Quilt
for Entering the IQA Judged Show
With the abilities of today’s cameras, you do not have to go to the expense of having your quilt entries professionally photographed. You can do it yourself. Remember, your quilt’s image is all that the jurors see in evaluating your quilt, so the quality of the image is extremely important.
Digital images must be submitted online with your entry.
TAKING IMAGES OF YOUR QUILT
We recommend using your camera on the highest resolution setting, and saving as a JPEG file. Consult your camera or phone’s instruction manual to learn how to set your camera to take high-resolution photos.
Lower megapixels and resolution settings can produce poor results that will eliminate a quilt because its color, design, and detail cannot be viewed clearly. It is not uncommon to see a wonderful quilt eliminated as a finalist, because the quality of the image submitted is so poor that it is impossible to properly evaluate the piece, especially the details.
SAVING AND SUBMITTING YOUR IMAGES
- Upload one full view of the completed quilt and one detail view. Quilting must be visible in the detail, and the detail should also highlight any important portion of the quilt.
- If you open your photos in image editing software to crop the background, you will be asked how to save the photo when you are done. Save as a JPEG, RGB color (the default setting in most image editing programs), standard or baseline setting, and set the quality to maximum. No CMYK images or progressive setting JPEGs will be accepted.
- The finished image should be at least 1800 pixels on the longest side.
- There is no requirement to label the image file names. The system will automatically rename them after they are uploaded.
SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
- Make sure the entire quilt is visible in the full shot.
- There should be no objects, people (including fingers holding a quilt), pets, or scenery in the picture. Do not try to take a "pretty" picture with gardens, trees, mountains, etc. in the background. The background will distract from your quilt and be a liability, not an asset.
- Do not drape your quilt over furniture or lay it flat on a bed or on the floor.
- Take photographs on a light neutral wall or background.
- Learn how to crop your picture (in image editing software) so that a minimum of the background shows. Practice first on other quilt images to learn what to do. Remember, there is almost always a way to undo a modification such as cropping, if you don’t like the results.
- To take the photo, position yourself directly in front of the quilt so that you have a straight-on angle.
- Lighting should be as even as possible across the front of the quilt. Sometimes, your best lighting is outdoors, but be careful about the time of day. Direct sunlight on the quilt can cause shadows or a glare that obscures details in the photo and can bleach out the color of your quilt.
- Make sure your camera is focused. If your hand is shaky, use a tripod or a solid surface for the camera.
- Quilting stitches and design must be visible in the detail shot, and it is helpful to choose a section of the quilt that relates to an important aspect of the quilt and to the category entered.
We can heartily recommend the following book and website for user-friendly information about taking digital images of quilts. These resources have been developed by quilters for quilters to help them take better photos of their work. Both quilters have won awards with their quilts, have written articles or published books, and have had their work published in several books. Much of the information contained in our visuals webpage on the www.quilts.com site has been developed in cooperation with these two talented and generous women.
- DIGITAL ESSENTIALS by Gloria Hansen
- “SHOOT THAT QUILT! DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOR TEXTILE ARTISTS” by Holly Knott
Other Helpful Instructions
Quilt artist and teacher Libby Lehman generously shares instruction on:
- How to make a quilting sleeve
- How to bind a quilt.