Taking good pictures of textile art with a smartphone is just not working for me. For product photos for Etsy it works well but as my textile art has loads of colour and lots of detail and texture I have seen that with apps and even a good smartphone it just never looks right. I am not a photographer so I needed help.

I asked a really good friend Eric who is an enthusiastic self-taught photographer who makes the most gorgeous portraits of people if he would be willing to help me tackle this problem. We both share a love of learning and experimenting so we made an appointment. You can see his work on www.ericsnissaert.nl  

The first problem we had to solve was that of using natural light, as many recommendations for taking good pictures of your textile art are to try not to use flash if you can.

To the left you can see a picture I took with my smartphone of my piece called ” Ancient Textile Nr.1″.It has been made with threads and bits and pieces of embroidery all sewn together on water soluble fabric which is then stitched. Then the fabric is dissolved. To the right you can see our experiment.

This has been a big problem for me as I live in a small flat as you can imagine crammed full of colour and things. Colour on walls reflects and distance also becomes an issue in small spaces. For my buttons or small items this hasn’t been a problem, but for work on a large scale it is. Also if you have to rely on light coming through the window it is so dependent on time of day and weather.

We used Eric’s flat, which was also small and crammed full, this time of photographic equipment. He has a professional camera and quality lenses and a tripod. He also had a tripod with a clip on it to hold a piece of card so we could put the textile art on the card as it was very light. This meant we could set things up in a relatively small space by the window.


What we noticed was that pictures taken in raw ( natural light) needed very little adjustment and fine tuning with Lightroom after. This does depend on the quality of light of course, too much sun and too overcast will decrease the quality of the results. We also tried with professional daylight flash lights, which after some adjusting in Lightroom also gave good results but it took more effort to get the set up just right. The lights had to be placed just so. We also tried a tele lens just to see  what difference that made.

To the right are close up detail pictures of ” Ancient Textile Nr.1″


After 4 hours we think we have found what will work for taking pictures of my work that I feel show the work as it is, not enhanced or distorted but shows the colours and structure of the piece.

This was our first attempt. We are going to try our next appointment in the stairwell of my flat as it has a ceiling light and a window and hopefully just enough space to set up. You will hear what we discover.