How do I get good photos of a largish afghan?
March 2, 2016 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm writing a chapter in a book about some of my crochet. Yay! But I need good photos of afghans lying flat, and I'm pretty sure I don't have the equipment.

The designs are novel enough that artistically draping the projects won't cut it --- I really need photos of the works lying flat. All I have in the realm of photographic technology is an old point-and-shoot and, of course, my cellphone. I can get a halfway decent picture by spreading it out on the floor of a room and standing on tiptoe, but even then my position vis-a-vis it results in keystoning. It feels like what I want is an overhead boom camera directly above it and enough light from below the camera that the boom doesn't cast a shadow. Is this the kind of thing some sort of business can just do easily? I'm on a university campus, and if there's some sort of office or department that would likely be able and willing to do this that would help.
posted by jackbishop to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
Would hanging/taping the afghan on a wall distort the design too much?
posted by nerdfish at 10:09 AM on March 2, 2016


Hooks on a wall, if you have one large enough.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:10 AM on March 2, 2016

You know who photographs blankets all the damn time? Quilters.

It seems like vertical hanging is a popular method.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:17 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Possible university departments with a photo studio setup: Photography, Reprographics, Press, Fine Arts, Museum, Theater, Archeology.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

We use a wall mounted overhead camera to shoot documents (old architectural drawings) all the time. It's a decent set-up but can only get about 40"x60" before things get tricky. Our library preservation department has an overhead scanning-back camera with a huge bed - 6'x8' - we use them for very large documents. Your library might have the same.

To DIY, I would find a full-wall bulletin board, and place a line of pushpins along the top, and hang the afghan off the pushpins, which should be barely visible in the 'holes' of the crochet. Then borrow a tripod and set up your point&shoot and away you go.

Alternately, my mom hangs quilts by (loosely) sewing a long strip of velcro hook along one edge of the quilt, and thumb-tacking the strip of velcro loop to the wall. This gives a full line of support to the fabric - no single-point-loading of the quilt.
posted by gyusan at 10:30 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

Combine using a ladder with taking multiple pictures of parts of the afghan, then use photo-stitching software (search for "free photo stitching software") to combine them into one image.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:37 AM on March 2, 2016

On a university campus, you likely have access to a variety of semi-public indoor spaces with balconies. (I am actually struggling to think of a building at my school that *doesn't* have anyplace where one floor overlooks another.) Just spread the afghan out on the floor below and take the picture from the balcony.
posted by cogitron at 10:45 AM on March 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

I have one of those weird ladders that can transform itself into a scaffold - I think at one point the style was an As Seen On TV kind of thing. Maybe a friend has one that you can borrow? Or maybe rig up something using a couple ladders and a stout board? I think hanging a crochet blanket would lead to the pattern stretching out of true.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:49 AM on March 2, 2016

I was going to say selfie stick too.
posted by MsMolly at 11:56 AM on March 2, 2016

Yes, selfie stick. They're not just for selfies.
posted by monospace at 11:57 AM on March 2, 2016

If you're on a uni campus contact the fine arts department! They'll be people used to documenting large works and they may have access to equipment and students who can help you.

Quilts really hold their form a lot more than most crochet afghans i've seen - I think hanging isn't a good idea unless the pieces are really stiff.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:56 PM on March 2, 2016

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