Shooting antique flooring, Moroccan carpets and rugs are not as easy as one might think. Getting the angle, aspect, lighting and detail just right as well as taking into account the size of the rug or floor area can all become problematic.
Most professional photographers simply pin the rug or a sample of the flooring to a wall and photograph it in the same way you would a piece of art. This provides the illusion that the rug or floor was shot while lying flat, from above.
While you can achieve the same outcome with a Moroccan rug, you can’t use the same technique for other types of installed flooring. When using the wall technique for a carpet or rug, make sure that it is laid flat against the wall and that there is no sagging or bulging that could give the impression that it isn’t lying flat on the floor.
Pay particular attention to tassels and thick pile carpets where gravity will draw them downwards creating the correct impression that the item was not laying flat. If this does not bother you, it is the ideal way to shoot your rugs and carpets.
The perfect way to shoot antique flooring is to get above the floor. A GoPro can provide the perfect solution for this, and you can change the zoom and aspect ratio on your camera to achieve the best results. If this option is not working for you, it is still best to get your camera as high as possible and then shoot the flooring at an angle – from corner to corner.
Lighting is essential if you want to bring out the vibrant colours in a rug or highlight the flooring in a room. Never rely on the natural or electric lighting in the room and add as much additional light as possible. Aim to light the entire area evenly and ensure that no shadows are created. When shooting at an angle as described above, pay careful attention to providing additional lighting to the corner furthest from the camera.
We recently did a product catalogue photo shoot for Carter Jones textiles UK. The images can be viewed on their online store at https://www.cjmoroccanberberrugs.co.uk . Look closely at how we focused on using natural light to bring out the colours and detail on each rug.
To get the aspect right using this technique, place an object in the middle of the floor for you to focus the camera on. Once focused, remove the object and take another shot.
Alternatively, you can invest in a horizontal camera mount that is designed to take photo’s from above and is ideal for floors, rugs as well as flat lay photography. These mounts are relatively inexpensive and can be used in conjunction with an existing tripod. However, getting to the right height may still be problematic if you are looking to cover a large area of the flooring or are shooting large rugs and carpets.
If none of these techniques are working to show your flooring or rugs in the best light, it may be necessary to contact a professional photographer who has all the necessary equipment and expertise to provide you with the best shots. It is advisable to choose a photographer who had shot flooring before and had some experience.