But first I want to show you where I photograph and how I light my quilts. Unfortunately I don't have any room in my studio for a design wall and I don't have any walls in my house that are good for photographing my quilts against. But I do have a large finished basement with a nice big wall that's perfect for using for photographs so I had my husband cover the wall with some foam board from the hardware store:
I covered the foam board with some canvas fabric to cover the bolts and the seams and then covered that with some white cotton stretched over the surface.
This gives me a nice neutral background to shoot against. You can see in the next photo that I've got my quilt pinned against the background and I've set up my photo lights to light the surface of the quilt. I'm using photo lights because there is no natural light at all in my basement. These lights are very inexpensive (less than $50 for the pair of table top ones but I use the larger stand ones like the ones here) and they make a huge difference in the quality of my photos. I also have a set with an umbrella diffuser that do a nice job lighting objects with diffused light.
My camera is on the tripod and I'm ready to shoot...
and the resulting photograph:
Not a bad photo but can you see the shadowing along the left and right edges? That was easily fixed by adjusting the position of the lights and pulling them further away from the surface of the quilt. The new photo:
Much better! no shadows and the picture is nice and clear and the colors bright and vivid. The right lighting is so important. Take a look at this next photo. I turned the photo lights off and took this with just the overhead lights in the room on:
I took all of the photos above with my Canon Rebel t2i camera which is a great camera but it's an expensive investment that I know not everybody can or wants to make. So the question remains can you take a good jury ready shot of a quilt without an expensive camera? You certainly can! Take a look at this next photo:
I took this with my inexpensive Canon Powershot camera (a great camera for traveling with by the way) which goes to show that with a tripod and good lighting that you don't need an expensive camera to take a good photo of your quilts.