Shooting delicate, patterned fabric is a challenge in itself, especially when you’re trying to highlight textures while focusing on details. Several things come into play when capturing fine prints, like getting the colours right, controlling sharpness and blurs, as well capturing the mood evoked by the fabric artwork.
These six tips for highlighting fabric design intricacy will help you dress your portfolio to impress.
6 Tips for Highlighting Intricate Fabric Designs
#1 Suspend the subject
Hanging pieces are best for capturing the texture and flow of a fabric or item. It creates a sort of carefree stance for the fabric while you zoom in on the finer details.
#2 Adjust White Balance
You’ll need different white balance settings, depending on your light source. Don’t rely on the auto settings, because … just don’t. Experiment with a variety of white balance settings until you’re happy with the results. You’re best off viewing these test shots on a computer screen too, because camera LCDs tend to be inaccurate.
#3 Do not over-sharpen when post-processing
Contrary to popular belief, this does nothing to improve detailing on fabrics. In fact, it often makes it look unrealistic and can distort patterns. Instead, adjust focus when taking the photo. If the shoot requires you to show textures clearly, take other close-up shots.
#4 Avoid direct sunlight
Two things happen when you have direct sunlight on your subject – ugly shadows and inaccurate colours. Adjust the position or move your shoot indoors. Using sunlight to light the back of the fabric can work, too.
#5 Use a Reflector
Use a reflector to bounce light back onto the fabric at the right angles to avoid uninvited shadows. (Somewhat like the type that crashes your party at the eleventh hour.)
#6 Iron the Fabric
This applies more to product shoots. Crumples in the fabric detract from the beauty of the fabric’s design and introduce clutter in the frame, which you really don’t need.