Shooting Tapestries - any hints?

JackAllTog Plus
10 5.6k 58 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2019 1:46PM
Hi There,

A friend has asked me to shoot a small transportable tapestry, i'm thinking that it's easy to lay flat, and then use diffuse bounced lighting to evenly illuminate it.

Are there any hints you might also recommend?


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Belleyeteres 8 264 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2019 5:48PM
I would probably hang if it Is a tapestry designed to be hung then use a tripod, low ISO and a longer shutter speed. You could use natural light through a window. Using flash might render the colours of the tapestry different to what they are.
Tianshi_angie 4 2.5k England
8 Jul 2019 8:40PM
If the tapestry has been hand made then the likelihood is that it will need stretching. Even if the tapestry was made using a frame then once removed from the frame the fabric will pucker slightly which may give an unsatisfactory result. As it is small it should be easy enough to either acquire a frame for it or to improvise.

As you can see this one has been framed and unfortunately I was unable to avoid the shine of the glass.


8 Jul 2019 10:24PM

Quote:I was unable to avoid the shine of the glass

Polarising filter...?

Just a thought.....okay...back in me box...Wink

cattyal Plus
14 8.9k 6 England
9 Jul 2019 9:41AM
If it's tapestry then it is unlikely to be framed and behind glass? I used to do a lot of needlepoint (yes, I know that's different to tapestry) and if I wanted a photo then I simply took it outside where the sun provided nice even light Smile
Tianshi_angie 4 2.5k England
9 Jul 2019 9:43AM
Thanks Kev - I don't have one!!!! Make of that what you will - the only filter I have is a 10 stop neutral density filter.
Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
9 Jul 2019 4:23PM

Quote: I don't have one!!!!

Tis all about angles.... incidence = reflectance.

Be good to know the size of the tapestry. Easier to give advise then.
dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 579 England
9 Jul 2019 4:47PM
Soft light such as that from a softbox. Overcast day outside, too.
That way you retain maximum detail.
If it's transportable that suggests mot large so ringflash is another option for shadowless light.
I can't think of any reason why flash would give 'wrong' colours (unless you're talking about the harsh look of direct on-camera flash which won't do any subject any favours.
If you are concerned about colour (nd overcast daylight is so variable) then take one shot with a grey card in shot to allow colour correction.
JackAllTog Plus
10 5.6k 58 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2019 4:55PM
Hi Philh04 ,The tapestry is between A3 and a2 i believe.
Its a blue background and yellow/orange patterns about the size of oranges.
Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
10 Jul 2019 8:19AM
Hi Stuart,
The norm would be to either mount the tapestry on the wall or lay flat on the ground, provided you can get the camera central to the subject, lighting would be with two softboxes both larger (it is the size of the source relative to the subject that dictates softness) than the subject each at a 45 degree angle each side, you can bounce your lights off large flats each side which would have the same effect, as previously mentioned include a digital grey card (note that the old Kodak grey cards are not as accurate with digital, something to do with the inks).

thewilliam2 2 1.2k
10 Jul 2019 9:55AM
I've found that semi-directional lighting brings out the stitch texture and patterns better than straight "copystand" or soft lighting.

I'd use one or two lamps in reflectors to one side at 45 degrees and a large reflector, such as the white side of a California Sunbounce angled to even out and slightly soften the lighting.

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