Show Off Your Rugs - Photography Tips From the Pros

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Why photograph your oriental rug?

You and I both know the feeling of wanting to show off that amazing rug in the most flattering manner possible. And this article has tips and tricks from photography pros! Watch out Instagram, you are about to wow your friends. 


Once you put these tricks into practice, share them with us! We would love to see your rugs and lovely rooms. Share them on our Facebook page and tag us @RugKnots on Instagram.


Oriental Rug Photography Problems

Knowing how to photograph an oriental rug is a bit more difficult than it sounds. I spent countless hours trying to capture that perfect photograph, only to find that it ends up looking nothing like it does in person. Often the intricate details and vibrant colors that make an oriental rug so special to me, just don’t translate well to photographs. I found myself, instead, left with a plain, flat and dull version of my prized piece of art. 


If you have found yourself in this same predicament (or simply wish to avoid the experience of disappoint altogether) you’re in the right place. I found some helpful tips and tricks that will make photographing your oriental rug less of a burden, and more of a rewarding experience! Whether you have chosen a modern rug or a traditional rug, these tips will help you to easily and effectible capture your oriental rug’s true essence. 

Tips for Photographing Your Oriental Rug

Optimize Natural Lighting

Good lighting is the fundamental foundation for photography. Photographing oriental rugs isn’t any different. You may need to carefully plan for the timing of your photo, to optimize natural lighting. This is especially important when taking photos of dark colored rugs like the popular Red Bokhara Oriental Rug


When at all possible, avoid using the lights in your home when photographing your oriental rug. You’ll want to be sure that all the lights are off before you begin your shoot. While the soft lights in your home may be helpful and calming any other time, they wreak havoc on photos. Your photos will come out with a yellowish tint that is seriously unflattering. 


Wondering when the best time of day is to photograph indoors? Most people will tell you that the best time to photograph is during the Golden Hour. The Golden Hour is considered the time during sunrise or sunset. 


Professional photographers like Chris Gampat disagree. According to Gampat, the best time of day to shoot photos is actually the “blue hour”. This is a term his team has coined for the time directly after sunset, and directly before sunrise. Gampat writes “This is when the sun’s ray are being reflected by the Earth and only slowly starting to seep in. During this time, the clouds and the sky are typically extra blue. The light is at its softest during this time because of the fact that the only light available from the sun is completely indirect”. You can read more articles by Gampat and his team at their website, The PhoBlographer.


Test Different Angles

It’s important to move around when photographing your oriental rugs. Sometimes the photo you capture on your camera, looks different than what you envisioned when snapping the picture. By taking photos from several different angles, you are ensuring that you will have plenty of photos to choose from once you’ve completed your photoshoot. 


Photographer Mohammed Ahmed recommends taking photos from each corner of your carpet, once your carpet is in positioned where you want it. He uses this rule in every photoshoot that he does. Not only does he change the angle of the carpet that he captures by moving around the rug, he changes the level from which he shoots the photo as well. You can do this by taking a few photos sitting or lying down on the carpet. These photos do a great job of capturing the depth and the texture of the rug. You can even try taking photos from a higher angle as well. Stand on top of a chair beside your carpet, and take a few photos of your carpet from a bird’s eye view. After reviewing a few of these shots, you’ll have a better idea of which shot more closely resembles the style of photo you sought to capture for your rug. 


Check him out Mohammed Ahmed in action in the video below, for examples on how to change the angle from which you take your photograph.



Choose the Best Rug to Photograph 

One common question about photographing rugs is: which oriental rugs photograph best? While there isn’t a definite right or wrong answer for this question, how your rug photographs will be a direct reflection of how well your rug ties in with your décor. 

Something to consider when purchasing an oriental rug is how it will look against the flooring in the room where you will place it. Whether you have carpet, hard wood floors, or a different type of flooring altogether, you’ll want to choose the oriental rug that compliments it best. There are many different styles of oriental rugs, so you’re guaranteed to find the rug that is most flattering with the room where it will be placed. You don’t have to be an interior designer to find the perfect rug placement. Read our buyer’s guide or Ask A Designer - we are here to help!  

If you are looking to purchase a rug for a children’s room, or an area where young people will frequent, you’ll want to purchase rug that is durable and sturdy (learn how to purchase the most durable rugs for pets and dogs here). 


You want your oriental rug to stand out in your room, not to blend in. Bold colored rugs like the Bokhara Oriental Rug stand out beautifully against light floors. If you are looking for a more modern style for your oriental rug, check out the many different options available like the Moroccan Modern Area Rug


Use A Tripod (or tripod alternative)

The best photos are taken when the camera is completely still. Whether you’re using a smartphone or more professional camera, mounting your camera to a tripod will help you to get the very best shot. On a DSLR camera, a tripod will allow you to let more light into your shot, without your photo getting blurry.


Don’t have a tripod? Don’t worry. There are several ways to make your very own tripod right at home, with items you likely already having laying around the house. The article “The Makeshift Smartphone Tripod” is a great resource if you are using your phone’s camera to photograph your oriental rug. This smartphone tripod uses binder clips to create a simple and easy tripod solution.


If you are using a digital camera, you should check out this video



The purpose of your tripod is not to be fancy and expensive. You don’t need to build up your photography equipment collection to get a nice shot of your rug. Instead, the purpose of the tripod is solely to balance your camera or smartphone in a sturdy fashion that will allow you to capture a great shot! 


Seek Design Inspiration 


Sometimes the only thing between you and your perfect photograph, is inspiration. Seeking design inspiration can help you transform from boring and plain photographs, to breath taking and eye-catching captured moments. 


You’re probably wondering what in the world could be so inspiring about photographing rugs, right? The answer is PLENTY! Check out how photographer Jalal Sepher managed to capture these amazing shots of Persian Rugs. Not only did he capture beautiful photos, Sepher used the rugs as a way to tell a story. Pay careful attention to the various angles he choose, and the way that he used natural light to enhance his photos. 


Ken Hayden is another photographer who is great at capturing interior design shots. His photo gallery showcases several different styles of interior décor and gives you an idea of different ways to capture your home’s furnishings in their best light. 


If you need helping with gaining inspiration, don’t be afraid to ask a designer! Watch the video below to learn more.



As you can see, learning how to photograph your oriental rug is not as complicated as you may have previously thought. The key points to remember to take the best photograph are to be aware of your lighting, angles, consider buying (or making your own) tripod, and seek inspiration from people who are experts in the field. 


I hope that you have found this article to be most helpful! Just by implementing these simple and easy tips, you should see a transformation in the way your oriental rug photos turn out. Once you take some pics of your rugs, tag us on Instagram, we’d love to see them! 


We have also created a detailed buying guide for you to use as a reference when purchasing oriental rugs for various rooms in your home! Feel free to download that guide here: Download “How to Have an Exceptional Oriental Rug Buying Experience”. 


Do you have any questions about how to photography your oriental rug, or about any of the information shared above? If so, please don’t hesitate to drop us a comment in the comment box below!


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