Photographing textiles...
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Author:  Pamela [ Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Photographing textiles...

I have set up a new sub-forum of the forum ‘Photographing textiles’. It seems that most textile collectors sooner or later need to photograph textiles in their collection if for no other reason than to be able to add them to the records of their collection. Following on from that latter thought, perhaps I had better amend the new forum title to ‘Photograhing textiles and documenting a textile collection.’

I could have started a new thread on the General forum but thought that it might be more helpful if we had a special place to record information, questions and advice on this topic. I invite forum members to share the successes they have achieved and to ask questions of the forum so that we can all learn how to tackle, usually within the confines of our own homes, what can be a very challenging operation: reproducing photographically our cherished textiles.

Author:  MAC [ Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  what kind of camera and some how to?

I used to take a lot of photos back in the days of film. I have hundreds of photos and slides from Indonesia but they don't do me much good in the new digital age. I want to get a digital camera so I can share more photos of my textiles on the forum but don't know where to begin. I wonder what kind of cameras members use to photograph their textiles? The photos on Susan's website are really good and I wonder if she could give us some info on equipment and tricks of the trade for taking those great photos of textiles she posts on her website.
Do members take photos with their mobile phones or are they using digital cameras?The few photos I have in MY PHOTOS are just under 500KB. When I post them on the forum however, the size appears at less than 200KB. Why is the size reduced when I post the photos? Would the photos be clearer if the KB size was nearer to 500KB? What is the difference between KBsize and the pixel size or count? How can I make my pictures clearer? Any help, advice or info welcome. Thanks, MAC

Author:  Above the Fray [ Sun Nov 29, 2009 6:59 am ]
Post subject:  Our home-based textile photo efforts so far

We have just opened our new website gallery, and the photography of our textiles, baskets, masks, etc. has proven to be a time-consuming challenge. We use a relatively cheap small 10 megapixel Sony camera with a 15X zoom on a tripod. Individual photos average 1.7 to 2.5 megabytes each. More tricky is the lighting, as poor lighting changes the color of the original textile or changes a baskets patina. Having our colors truly represented is essential, as poor coloring will disappoint a customer, especially if they are choosing an item to match their personal coloration. We have a white (blue-toned) 7 foot by 4 foot piece of melamine behind the photographed object.

After lot of experimentation, we are now using two 23 watt florescent lights ("bluish" more natural tones) on the left and right close to the object, and then shine two large halogen 500 watt lights aimed head on from a distance of nearly 10 feet. We use the camera's flash as well. I'm sure we will continue to play with the options as experience and budget dictate. We're VERY OPEN to ideas for getting intense, natural-toned lighting indoors on a budget.

We import the photos into Photoshop Elements on our Mac where we eliminate any background shadows, sharpen all edges, and, most importantly, adjust the coloration to best match the true color of the item. The time to do this surpassed our expectations, and although we are getting faster as we better learn the ins and outs of Photoshop, in truth it can take over an hour to get the 5-6 photos of a single item to meet our website needs. Working with reducing our yellows and red-tones is vital - I wish our halogen lights had a bluer light with less yellow - it would help.

Resolution is more related to web needs/expectations than personal desires; our is set at only 72 pixels/in. and saved as a jpeg.

Author:  Above the Fray [ Sat Mar 06, 2010 7:31 am ]
Post subject:  photo skills update

Just an update to the last post.

We have stepped up to two 85 watt florescent bulbs (equivalent of over 500 watts incandescent), and use no other lighting. The lights burns at 5500K, a very natural bluer light than incandescents (very close to mimicking sunlight. This brings out the blue greens better. Still a bit of a struggle with the reds, but our continuing skills with Photoshop Elements has allowed us to "play" with the tints to derive a more honest color representation.

Camera must be used on manual, slowing down the snap a bit to allow for more light. We use the camera's flash from about 10 feet away with the florescents, and make sure that all other lights in the room are off. Cameras apparently get confused when different toned lights shine. We have found that our silks look more shiny and natural now, shimmering a bit with its natural complexities of color-play in light.

Also, moving the mannequin well away from the white background has greatly diminished issues with shadows. One of those obvious things that we missed for he longest time!

Is now only taking about 5 minutes per photo for adjustments on the computer - a big improvement.

Our greatest challenge is recognizing that a photo just can't be perfect with a complex cloth that holds many colors. So we're working hard not to be such neurotic perfectionists!

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