Photo shoot

On Sunday after the state band competition, Rhonda and I were in my sewing room when suddenly she said, “We need to get your quilts and photograph them for your pattern covers.”

We had talked about doing this during her next visit, which we were already two and a half days into. She knew I wasn’t thrilled with my current pattern covers;

pattern covers

while they do the job, the photos appear to have been edited by a Microsoft Paint hack, and I really needed her to put them right.

Rhonda is a big fan of staging where you show the quilt in a setting like on a bed, thrown over a sofa back, decorating a table, that kind of thing. I’m wary of staging because I’ve been frustrated in the past by pattern designers and magazine editors who take staging to such extremes you never get to see the ENTIRE quilt and sometimes you really need to see the ENTIRE quilt. I left it in her hands to convince me that staged was the way to go, but only if a majority of the quilt was in view.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we took the quilt I named Railroad Ties outside and began looking for suitable photography sites in and around the back yard. First we draped it over the seat wall next to the fireplace.

We protected the quilt from dirt by draping it over an old, clean sheet.

We protected the quilt from dirt by draping it over an old, clean sheet.

Then we had the bright idea to hang the quilt from the top of the fireplace which required human bodies to hold it in place because I didn’t want to use dirty rocks to weigh it down.


Next we fought the wind trying to drape the quilt on an Adirondack chair and ottoman


As we scrolled through the photos later that night, we could not stop laughing because in every shot it looked like there was someone or something under the quilt. We were laughing so hard, trying not to wake up Ross and John who had long ago gone to bed, and in the middle of our laughing fit began naming the mysterious bodies under the quilt:

napping man

napping man

wide man

wide man

hollowed-out man

hollowed out man

dead man rising

dead man rising

mummy man

mummy man

After exhausting places in back of the house, Rhonda wanted to try the front porch, but quickly rejected it when she spotted a fence bordering some open space nearby. It was the perfect spot. Of the 51 photos she took in that location, she got the perfect shot.


That night after dinner, Rhonda got a second wind and was eager to shoot the next quilt, one I named Starbright Holiday. She wasted no time clearing the kitchen table, pulling things from around the house to incorporate into the photo. This included raiding a bunch of storage containers in the basement for pinecones, ribbon and Christmas picks.


It was fascinating to watch her; she operated on auto pilot like she wasn’t even needing to think about it.

We did a good job of tearing up the house, but you go the distance to get the shot. Here is what John and Ross walked into the next morning while Rhonda and I were still asleep:

photo shoot1

We liked the shot of Starbright Holiday in the kitchen but Rhonda thought it might look better photographed on the dining room table, which has a darker finish, and she was right.


The patriotic wall hanging I named 5-Star Fourth! looked best on the kitchen table. I was extremely pleased with the way Rhonda used simple props to set up each shot and still managed to capture most of the quilt in each photo.


Don't you love how much ambiance a step ladder adds to your formal dining room?

Don’t you love how much ambiance a step ladder adds to your formal dining room?

After we selected the best three photos, we cropped and imported them into the pattern documents. This led to re-sizing the Chocolate Cake Quilt Designs logo and creating a consistent format for every cover. It sounds like work, but we’re both mega detail oriented people so it was fun having someone else to work through all the nitty-gritty formatting issues and offer an opinion about what looks best and where.

Here are the three finished covers:

finished covers

Loads of thanks, Rhonda!



Filed under miscellaneous

4 responses to “Photo shoot

  1. Mel

    Beautiful shots of wonderful quilts!

  2. Eric Dobitz

    I see chocolate chip cookies in the Five Star Fourth picture. Hint hint.

  3. jo ginther

    The covers look great!!! What a workout!! And they say quilting isn’t a physical activity!

  4. Step right up! Step right up! Get your step ladder here! This beautiful furniture piece is sure to impress even the most elite guests with its rugged yet refined utilitarian charm! It’s a definite must-have this holiday season!

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