How to Stage and Photograph Rugs

How to Stage and Photograph Rugs

Learning how to stage and photograph rugs is an essential skill for anyone who wants to better sell homes or show off their personal style. 


When it comes to learning how to take photographs, there’s a lot of information out there. It can get overwhelming if you’re looking for basic tips but are instead finding a thousand different guides on portraits, landscapes, f-stops, styling, shooting, this, that, and who-knows-what-else.

That’s where this post comes in: all we’re going to focus on is how to take good photographs of rugs. Everything you’ll need for sharper, better, high quality rug photos in one place.

Whether you’re a realtor looking for staging tips, a stylist who wants to show off your work, or a homeowner who wants to elevate their social rolls, the advice below is for you.

What should I do to prepare my rugs for being photographed?

Before you take any photos of your rugs, you have to make sure they’re ready to be photographed first. This means taking a few basic maintenance and prep steps:

  • Make sure your rug has been cleaned. A good photograph needs a good subject. Before you take any pictures of your rug or the room it's been styled in, you're going to want to get it cleaned up. Vacuum the whole thing, remembering to avoid use of a beater bar on more sensitive wool rugs. Check for the things you might not normally check for: wayward pieces of lint, pet hair, or other blemishes. Since this is a situation where your rug will get more attention than usual, it's good to pay more attention than usual to it’s maintenance.
  • Pick a pose. Just because it’s a rug doesn’t mean it can’t pose for a photo. The easiest shots to get are going to be laid out flat or at an angle. If your plan is to only get a photo of the rug and not of the rug as part of a while room, you can be more creative by taking it outside so it can look nice and contrasted against the grass from your yard, wood from your deck, or stones on your patio.

How do I set up the shot?

We’re not here to give advice on which camera you’re going to want to use for your photos. Instead, we’re going to focus on basic things anyone can do to make a photo look better no matter what camera is being used to take it.

  • Make sure you have the right lighting. In most cases, this means adding an external light to highlight the rug itself or the space it's in. Soft light is ideal for this kind of photography because it highlights the subject without washing it out. Natural light is naturally soft, but nature won’t always agree with your schedule. If you can’t get natural soft light, store bought is fine. Soft light umbrellas are affordable, easy to acquire, and an excellent choice for accessible rug photography.
  • Check your camera settings. If you’re using your iPhone or similar digital camera, it’s settings are going to automatically adjust to fit your needs thanks to their internal sensors. If you’re using a DSLR or a film camera, you might have other concerns to worry about. Seek out a guide on film camera settings to double check that you have the right shutter speed and ISO for indoor photography.
  • Avoid using flash. Flash almost always tends to do more harm than good when it comes to staged or styled room photos. Avoid it when photographing rugs.

Do you have any additional rug photography tips I should know about?

Actually… yes! Knowing what to do to have your rug looking it’s best and your camera performing it’s best are the foundation for high quality rug photos. 

These additional tips will take that foundation and help you turn it into a series of unforgettable pictures that you’ll be able to use for business, social media, and more:

  • If you want to get an aerial shot of a rug, you can always pin it to the wall. By pinning your rug to the wall, you can create the illusion of a wide angle aerial shot without actually having to take one. A few tips for trying this:
    • Hang it in a spot that gets natural light, because overhead lights will create unwanted shadows. If you have the light umbrellas we previously mentioned, those will come in handy here.
    • Use map pins to secure your rug to the wall without damaging it. The holes left by these types of pins are nearly unnoticeable and won't stand out if they're hidden in the fabric of the rug. One pin every five or so inches should hold all but the most heavy rugs in place.

The advice in this post will help guarantee your success during your next open house, photo shoot, or similar event. While these tips will apply to any rug you already own, we don’t want to miss the opportunity to remind you that Sisal Rugs Direct offers one of the widest selections of photoshoot friendly natural fiber rugs on the internet.

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