This file is a collection of various messages having the common theme photographing felt.  The information is primarily from the feltmaker's list. I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, most of the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter. The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors. Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Pat Spark, Manager of the Feltmaker's List.
Return to feltmakers list FAQ

Back to Index


Wed, 20 Oct 1999. Wheat Carr.  There is a rather good book, Photographing your Craft Work by Steve Meltzer. Steve writes for The Crafts Reports, does guild lectures, and Oh yeah, by
the way is a GREAT photographer. Not in those books, but something that has been important to me in selecting the images to be used in a timely fashion was spending *many* hours looking over contact sheets so that it became much easier to select the "likely" final images more quickly and more inexpensively without having larger prints made. Again, it may be necessary to work with a professional color lab to get contact sheets, but in the long rum is well worth the effort.
Last year The Potomac Craftsmen had a mini-workshop and guild program on Photographing your work. The presenter, whose last name escapes me at the moment, was also really terrific.
Over the last few years, he has developed a fairly decent following in this area because Freddie *really* worked hard to find ways to best photo work. Even with some exposure (pardon the pun) to professional/advertising photography, I had forgotten how important it was to either bounce some of the light at about a 45 degree angle. This gives a wonderful "feel" for the texture of the piece by creating slight shadows. How to direct some of your lights to the rear of the piece, especially any 3D work really brings it to life, lifting it from the back drop. He also spent a good bit of time showing us how he uses Black & White instant photos to set up shots. B&W allows you to remove the emotional distraction of color so all you see is values and can better balance the photo. My brother used to do an entire contact sheet in black and white from his color negatives - because if the photo is good (stands out from the background, texture and shading is visible) in B&W, you can pretty much bet it will be spectacular in color. I was delighted to find that my Sony Mavica FD-71 was an excellent tool - set it to B&W, created excellent "contact print" sized shots so that I could see how the lighting was working and then go on to retaking the shots with the color film. BTW, although there are newer fancier version of the Mavica, my PRIMARY reason for buying it was for use in creating web graphics AND because of the 3x-10x zoom capability. Another important thing, INVEST IN A TRIPOD - man, NOTHING is worse than to get the lights right, the color balance, and then NOT be able to exactly duplicate the location and angle of the camera.

Wed, 05 Jan 2005 Jackie Fenton. I'm not a professional photographer, but after a lot of experimentation, this is how I take the photos for my felt items that are on my web site. I use a digital camera that already is a couple of years old. Nikon Coolpix 2500. They have much better ones on the market now and makes taking photos a lot more easily. With my current camera I TURN OFF the flash and set the camera to take portrait photo because more of my items are hats. I set up the items in a room with natural diffused light and snap away. I use textured brown paper as a background so the light doesn't bounce off. I'm OK with the way they come out, but my husband will put them in Photoshop and "fix" them up a bit. I found the time of day (with the right light) is most important because the light from the flash bounces off the felt as you seem to have experienced. There is also an article in the Crafts Report magazine Feb 2004 which talks about crafts photography which is pretty helpful. page 34.

Wed, 05 Jan 2005 Amy. For lots of good tips on tabletop photography (which is what we're talking about when we want to take pics of smaller items like figures or articles of clothing, etc.) check out this website. There's a FAQ, and a tips page and all sorts of good info:

Wed, 05 Jan 2005. Lori Flood. They key is to use lots of light but have it as diffused light to prevent shadows. This can easily be done by stapling sheer fabric to simple/lightweight wooden frames and clamping them somehow in front of your lights. I use a lot of ladders and clamps. Ladders are freestanding and you can clamp lights and screens all over them and move them easily. If you are outside take the pictures on an overcast day. Then the clouds act as your screens.  Just be sure to not get your fabric to close to the bulb - it can 'cause a fire. I know this...don't ask why.

Wed. 05, Jan @ 2005. Elizabeth Ferraro. There is a book, Internet Photography for Dummies that is very good for the inexperienced. Also if you have a photo supplies shop near you they will tell you exactly what you need. We just went through that. Look at  at our photos of roving and yarns. If you think it is ok then all you need is two clip on shop lights with reflectors from Home Depot for about $8.50 each. From a photo supply place you need a roll of white background paper for about $35.00 and two photo bulbs 250 watt. You screw in the bulbs and clip the lights to the backs of two chairs and focus on the white backing. Place you felt object, have your digital flash ready, turn on the lights focus and flash and then take one without flash. That gives you a choice. Now also get a nice black wide piece of fabric to use if you want a dark background. Do not leave the lights on except for a couple of minutes when you are focusing. The lights get VERY hot and only have a life of about 1 hour.

Wed. May 24, 2006. Pat Spark . I have been gathering information of photographing my glass beads, but the information would be good for felt jewelry too. Since Lark is asking for good slides or digital photos, here are the URLs of the information I've found:
Photographing Beads Hints:  "Improve your Glass, Bead & Jewelry Photographs" by Dale Lynn  "Digital Imaging for Glass Beads"by Lori Greenberg  Many links to tips on this page.

Light Cube Information sites "Light Box & Light Tent" by Bill Huber  "Light Box Project" by Jason Brown

I have just gotten a Light Cube (also called Light Tent or Light Box). For smallish items this is proving to be wonderful. I actually bought a cube system from Table Top Studio, but you can build your own from PVC pipe. I have been very pleased with the photos I've been taking and because the cube requires the use of daylight florescent bulbs, I can work anytime, even at night to get the photos I need.

Monday, June 5, 2006. Leslie. These are great links. Thanks for sharing! Also, check out this article on taking professional product photos. I like that this person offers specific directions on how to use Photoshop to enhance images. My photo setup at home is nearly the same as mentioned in the article.



Sat, 13 Dec 2003 Lori Flood. A few people have inquired off list about the photographer that does jury slides but also teaches workshops on how to do your own jury slides so, with his permission I am posting this to the list. His name is Tom McColley and he is located in West Virginia. You can e-mail him at . He and his wife were basket makers for many years and he developed his photography skills along the way. His own jury slides have made it into published books and were used to jury their baskets into ACC wholesale shows and the Philly Craft Museum Show (recently discussed on the list). In a one day class from Tom I was able to make my own "photo studio" with backdrop and lighting, and take slides at least good enough to use with my first roll of film. I have a long way to go but this was a huge jump up the learning curve. Since he is an artist he knows how to give artist what they need to acheive good pics without having to become professional photographers! If you go to my website you can see on my home page (dragon hat) and on the gallery page (purple vessel) images that he took for me. The rest of the pics with the same kind of backdrop were taken by me within the first three rolls of film after the class. You can compare those to the wrinkled or beige/grey background that I used for the shots before taking his workshop and see what I mean. The branch idea for hanging scarves came from a clever person on this list! Do keep in mind that this is now Tom's full time career and business and that he is not in a position to give his talents away. I do not know what he charges to do a workshop or your slides but I am sure that it is reasonable. He is busy too but should get back to you in a few days! My website is


Back to Index

Page Updated: Feb. 18, 2008