7 Tips for Photographing Your Art Quilts for Challenges

One of the best parts of working on Quilting Arts Magazine is seeing the quilt art that comes in for each reader challenge. We’re always impressed (and sometimes surprised) by the way our readers interpret each challenge and enjoy giving quilt artists exposure in the magazine and in our online galleries.

“Sunset at Seaside” by Cynthia Clark, from our ‘Opposites Attract’ Reader Challenge, October/November 2014.

We spend a lot of time judging each art quilt and winnowing the finalists, but sometimes we’re hindered by less than perfect photography.

Good photography is absolutely essential when you are submitting a quilt for a show or challenge or exhibition of any kind. If you input “photographing your quilts” into an online search engine, you’ll likely get over 200,000 results. That’s a lot of advice!

For Reader Challenge quilts, however, we have specific requirements. We ask for only two photos–one of the entire quilt and one detail shot–for each submission. The photos should be low-resolution (each less than 1 MB). You may submit more than one quilt, but each entry must be in individual emails.

Tips for photographing a Reader Challenge quilt

• Place the quilt on a neutral background. A piece of pressed muslin or a smooth white bed sheet works–something not distracting.

• For the entire quilt shot, be sure we can see all four edges/binding, all around the quilt.

• For the detail shot, choose your favorite part of the quilt and zoom in–it may be a particularly lovely element, a well-executed technique you’re proud of, or something else you want to highlight.

reader challenge quilt art melanie johnston

“Giraffe Love” by Melanie Johnston from our ‘Opposites Attract’ Reader Challenge, October/November 2014.

• Shoot both the entire quilt and the detail straight on, not at an angle. Square quilts should look square. Rectangular quilts should look rectangular. (No trapezoids, please.)

• Study your camera’s manual for setting it properly. Although we want low-resolution photos–this ensures that your email will be delivered–that doesn’t mean lacking definition. We need to see your quilt to judge it! A suggested setting is 72 dpi with the shortest edge measuring 8″.

• If you are confused about photo sizes, know that there are 1024 kilobytes (KB) in 1 megabyte (MB). Our requirement is that each photo be 1 MB or less.

• Once you’ve attached your photos to an email, open them one more time before you hit ‘send.’ Are they clear and properly sized? Do they show off your quilt well? Is the color true? The colors in your quilt should look the same in both images. Test print your photos to see if they are large and clear.

By following this advice, you will have the best chance of becoming a finalist and seeing your quilt in Quilting Arts Magazine. Now, be sure to visit our Reader Challenge page to learn the details of our latest contests.

Good luck!

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