Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Colour photographing tip

I don’t think I have shared this with you, but I put myself on a fabric diet sometime in February last year. I have been very good at sticking to my goal which very simply put was Stop Shopping for Things You Don’t Need. I don’t know if you too have this problem, but everything was just piling up around here – in my sewing room, in the laundry room, on the landing where I keep my third generation stash. Somewhere between my early days of thrift shop shopping and last February, fabric hoarding had stopped being fun and started to be a bother.

Stopping shopping was way easier than anticipated, with only 3 relapses during these 18 months, all of them when someone was in the hospital. Just like when someone reward themselves with chocolate after losing weight, I would purchase raspberry pink and one of Deborah OHare of Quilt Routes' hand painted fabrics at the Festival of Quilts (hereby known as FoQ). Sweet reward indeed.

Now, light fixtures rarely provide proper light for colour judgement, so many of the fabrics that read as raspberry there had quite a different hue in daylight at home. That being said, I don’t mind the hot pinks at all, I think they are glorious.

See my alibi for this purchase, the raspberry-ish machine right there?

As I was taking the pre-washing-pre-wrinkling pictures of my loot including the fabulous Deborah fabric (you'll find her shop here), I thought I would share a little tip that might help you photograph colours properly. All the pictures are taken at the same angle, and in the same light.

Without any background,

against the light yellowish birch table

and with a little white as a reference.

See the difference? The last picture is pretty close to the real colours, isn’t it just gorgeous! Deborah was one of the people I was looking forward to meet in person at FoQ, and I did, unfortunately just very briefly. Her booth was rather crowded at the time so I was going back to see her later, but I got her time schedule mixed up so she was teaching when I got back. I missed Julie as well, and did not even realize that Gill was there until I got back to the hotel in the afternoon. Next time I’ll plot everything into my time table.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Luckily I have a white kitchen table that forms the backdrop for most of my pictures. That's a startling colour difference! And wall done on your fabric diet. Like a food one, I already know I would be hopeless, so never even try.

  2. So true about the background and how it plays with color. I am slowly learning a bit about that, but I have lots to learn.:)

  3. Nice tip! I find daylight usually helps, but snapping at night (or during the dark part of the year) is really a toughie for color trueness!

  4. That fabric is gorgeous but what a difference the photos have. I know white is the perfect back drop but I had no idea it could change that much. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Sorry I missed you!! I missed Deborah too - her stall was so busy when I got there!

  6. Thank you for the photography hints, I will try and remember them in future as I get very frustrated with the colours in photos. There's never enough time to fit everything in at these exhibitions is there?

  7. Wow Nina, I am sorry to have missed you on the Saturday. Maybe next year??
    Thank you for featuring my fabric:)