Thursday, May 26, 2011

Value pictures

I have had a lot of comments about my value pictures from the last post. So I thought I would share some more info on. First off, it wasn't my idea :) I have heard/seen around before.

 Once upon a time, I used to take black and white photos with that strange film stuff, I really haven't done anything with black and white since I stopped working/teaching at my college photo lab One of the tools you used to get good prints is value. We used to make these cool value strips by exposing our paper to light at different increments of time.
This is the first one I ever did, not the best, but the quickest one to find
Basically, the goal of a value it to make sure you have from the lightest to the darkest represented in your work. Doesn't mean you need one of each value, just that you have a good representation. If it is too light, you get a washed out effect, if it is too dark it is hard to distinguish between different things. Now if you are going for washed out pale beachy effect, that is one thing. Or if you are going for a midnight look that is another. However, most of the time you really to have lots of value.

Since I made many of these teaching at the photo lab I kind of have the image of one ingrained in my brain and I use it when I am thinking about values in quilts. So, I had actually never done the picture thing before. I had thought about doing it many times and never got around to it. I kept thinking I would have to take the fabric home and take a picture and covert it to black and white and so on. Ok, I was making excuses.
However, after seeing Leila post for her skill builder sampler that I have joined, I decided why not try it next time I pick fabric for a quilt. It probably helped that I decided to pick up new fabric a couple days later or I probably would have forgotten about it again.

Now, I am not one of those big process as describe above kind of girls.  So to do this I didn't get out any fancy camera. All I did was grab my phone, take it out at the my LQS, lay down my bolts of fabric and snap the pictures. Then I changed them to black in white on the phone and checked my colors. As you can see from above something was missing. So I grab some more bolts,  dropped them on top and took another picture.

I kept doing this until I was happy with my color choices. It is really simple and just takes a couple seconds. You should really try it some day.

These ones I did take home

This is still done with the camera on my droid phone

You can take some pictures right there as you are shopping, or try it with your stash at home. You don't need anything fancy. Most cameras have a black and white function or an setting for editing your picture to black and white right there on the camera. So you don't even have to go to your computer, just get your camera out. Oh yeah, and remember to ignore anyone who looks at your like you are crazy, they are the ones that are missing out on a great way to see value. *Technical Edit here, I know a lot of phones have the black and white option with the camera. However, I just found out that for iPhones you have to download an app for black and white photos (sorry iphone users, luckily there are free apps for that). 

It really is a great idea and thanks Leila for reminding me of it. You really should check out her skill builder.

BWS tips button

It doesn't start  until in June but I am sure she will have some great tips to help us get better at quilting or just to remind us of somethings we forgot that we already knew but haven't been doing.


  1. Great idea to take pictures with your phone while you're actually at the store! Thanks for the post.

  2. I love that idea for examining value-- I am totally going to try it next time I am making a values quilt!

  3. Wow! What a GREAT idea!! So glad you posted this! I can't wait to try it out on my phone...


  4. I love your explanation! Thanks for helping me figure out those mysterious black and white pics I've been seeing.


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