Sunday, August 19, 2012

I’m no photographer, but…

I love a challenge as much as anyone else, but when customers or fellow rug cleaners send me photos of rugs for my opinion, I often (almost always!) have to ask for more or better images.  There isn’t a whole lot I can tell you about something I can’t see clearly.  I’m already handicapped by not being able to feel and handle the piece.  I thought it was time for me to lay down some ground rules, so…

This is what we professional Ruggies are looking for in any photo submitted for ID or consultation:

1:  A clear, well-lit image of the entire rug, showing all four corners.  The rug should have little to no furniture covering it.

2:  A clear, well-lit image of an 8”- 12” section of the back corner of the rug, showing BOTH the end & edge finish.  Include a coin of some kind (preferably a US Quarter) in the image both for scale and for clarity. If you can read the words on the coin clearly, the photo is a good one!

3:  A clear, well-lit image from both the front AND back side of any damaged areas or places of concern.  Please include in the image a ruler or open tape measure next to the damaged areas.  The ruler markings should be legible in the photo.

Several of the examples I’m going to share with you have come from the Facebook page “What Is My Rug?” where I am one of a handful of administrators.  The concept here is simple - you post photos of your “mystery” rug, and we will try to help you identify what it is.  Easy, right…?

NOTE: I want to stress that my intention is NOT to pick on anyone out there.  I simply wish to show examples, side-by-side, good and bad, so that you are able to see exactly what we’re looking for in a quality photo.  Once you see how best to photograph a rug, it will save you (and your chosen expert) tons of time and frustration down the road.

This image shows all four corners clearly, is well lit, and there is no furniture covering any of the design elements.

This image clearly shows the end & edge finish, and the coin is legible.


Not much wrong with this photo other than it's taken from a little too far away for my liking.

This photo of the same rug leaves much to be desired.
While the edge finish is fairly visible, I'm left wondering what is going on across the fringe end.
It's too far away to really "read" the knot shape and style.
A close-up with a coin included for clarity would have helped a great deal.


The tape measure is just too far away to count knots per square inch.

This one gives me a definite vertigo feeling.

Too close!!

Artistic shot.

Design motifs are so interchangeable between countries that you can't identify a rug based on that information alone.

I saved this next photo for last because it is my favorite example of what NOT to do. It has something for everyone! The lighting is bad, the photo is fuzzy, the rug is covered in furniture. Is it a 10 x 14 or a 5 x8? The photo was sent to a friend of mine for ID purposes because this rug may end up in court as part of an insurance fraud scam. It was the ONLY photo available and I could only scratch my head in wonder.

I hope my latest ramblings will help you with your future rug photo submissions! I look forward to seeing them either on Facebook or in my email. :)

As always, I can be contacted by email:


  1. I get many people who send me pictures and most are useless. I have come to hate I-Phone cameras. They may be OK for pics of kids, dogs, or drunken indiscretions but are not good enough for rug ID. Thanks for a good article.

    1. Good point, Barry!! The iPhone or any other camera on a phone should not be used for photo taking when fine details are needed. Thank you for pointing that out!

  2. Perfect post Lynn! Now I can send people to your blog to show them what I need to see too. =) Thank you!

  3. I have to agree that this is a tremendous resource for rug people to refer to before asking for ID help. Thanks Lynn.

  4. This blog is great, I have referenced it three times already and many of my clients find educational. I want to thank you again for your great blogs!!!!

    1. Thanks, Jan! I'm always happy to know that *someone* out there finds anything I share of use! :)

  5. This is a very HELPFUL post Lynn, Thank You!! Is there any camera in particular that you might recommend? Thanks so much!!

    1. Thanks, Aaron :)
      I use a Kodak something-or-other. Honestly, it doesn't have to be an awesome, state-of-the-art piece of equipment. It should have a decent zoom and if it takes higher definition pictures, all the better! As hard as it is to see rug photos clearly on my cellphone, it's even worse to try and capture what I need on one!

  6. Well Lynn I now know if I need any help taking pictures with my camera not only how to point it to get the best shot for ID but i will also point myself always to this great ID Resource :)

  7. Very informative and detailed post Lynn. A lot of people don't realize that for proper rug id you need to see specific areas of the rug. Plus you wrote this very well without offending or pointing finger!!

  8. Such a nice photos.. Thanks for sharing..
    For more details go to Ruckstuhl or click on the given link in this line.