Catherine Bussiere: to take a picture of your rug

It’s a gorgeous sunny morning here today. I will most likely spend some time outside pruning apple trees later. Yesterday I had a peak in our greenhouse and discover a carpet of young tasty “mache” (it’s a type of lettuce that loves to reseed itself and is rather cold resistant). I want to start some flower seedlings; nasturtiums and sweet peas is all I could find at the local general store. It will do for today. I’ll get my fix with playing in the dirt and chopping some branches. I love this time of year.

Alright now, lets focus, and talk rug pictures.

I am sure you all spend a fair amount of time hooking your rugs. True.

Now let’s spend a few minutes together taking pictures of those rugs and make them look as pretty (almost) on print as they are live.

Last week Cynthia commented on my blog and mentioned how she was not satisfied with the pictures she took of her rug. To illustrate my answer to her here is one of Deanne’s rug at the studio. It’s called “Coral Pine”.

First I cheated and placed the rug up high on the wall. I did so to show you NOT to do this. First thing, place your rug or rather place yourself, eye level with the rug. Why? So you get strait lines. Also in the example I had the flash on. Have a look.

There is a few problem with this picture. First, if you were to crop it so all you see is your rug you would loose some of the bottom side edge because of the angle. Second, the bottom of the rug is in focus but the top is a little soft. There is no need for that. Also the flash in this case lit the rug unevenly.

So all and all it’s a reject.

Here is my second picture, still with a flash but this time I am eye level with the rug.

This is already better but I told you last week not to use a flash if at all possible.

Why? Flash has a tendency when thrown straight on to your subject to flatten the image. There’s light everywhere, no shadows, no depth. It can work and can produce creative pictures but for this unless there is no option I go without.

Now for Deanne’s rug I use two methods. One is I take the rug outside in the shade and hang it on the wall. It works great if the rug is large. I use a little step ladder to place myself level to the rug and I move in as close as possible so the rug fills most of the frame. Here is the set up.

The rug is right under the yarn sign and there is a line of screws sticking out of the bricks placed there for that purpose.

If your rug is small like this one then find yourself a spot by a window in your house with no direct sunshine. A North window is great. Here I placed that lovely little rug on a black piece of wool cloth. It makes a nice background and with a simple editing software I can crop my picture without having to crop the rug.

Notice how there is this piece of white cardboard. I will be using this as a bounce.


Now, placing myself above the rug here is my first picture with no bounce.

Pay attention to the bottom of the rug. A little dark if you ask me. Now let’s see what happens if I place my white cardboard right at the bottom of the rug and angle it so it bounces the light from the window to the bottom of the rug.

Now I am content. Notice how the whole bottom half is brighter and vibrant. We can almost feel theย  texture of this rug. You can see all the various wool cloth and yarn used.

I think you can all get great pictures of your rugs. Just take a little time. Try a few settings. Try it with flash and then without. See what looks best to you.

Good luck! Let me know how they turned out.



7 thoughts on “Catherine Bussiere: to take a picture of your rug

  1. Thanks for this post on showing how to use a light board. I have struggled with taking decent photos of my rug and recently gave up and took them to a professional photographer. This post will save me a bit of money! ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Catherine, you have an amazing way of teaching through this site. When I read your post this afternoon , I felt you were here in the room gently guiding me along as I attempted to take a picture of the rugs I am presently working on. Wow … The difference of the rug accompanied by the white cardboard is truly amazing. It really makes me want to re-visit my camera functions and even learn more. For now , I shall make white cardboard a regular in my supplies. Thanks so much. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.


  3. The final photo is amazing! Three dimensional…I can almost feel the differences in texture! Thank you so much for this blog. (And yesterday we brought herb seed packets home to start inside…it a good way to skip through the winter blahs!) Carol


  4. such great tips!! Thank you so much for this Catherine!! Love your photography!! You guys are such a talented group of ladies! :)….and have fun with those fruit trees! ๐Ÿ™‚


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