Behind the Scenes at Quilt Theory Photoshoots

posted in: Designer Corner | 18

I’m so excited to be posting for our new weekly blog series, designer corner. Each week, one of the Quilt Theory designers will be sharing something new with you! If you’re looking to see more of what happens behind the scenes, more tips and tricks, or more fabulous quilty inspiration, make sure to follow our blog!

To kick things off, I’ll start with an introduction… my name is Michelle Bartholomew and I live in the mountains of Washington State with my husband and our 2 1/2 year old daughter. My background is in technical writing, design, and photography, and I love that I get to do all of these things while working for Quilt Theory! I’m typically the one behind the scenes posting on the site or on social media. I also have the amazing job of taking all of the quilt photos for Quilt Theory!

I thought for this post I’d share a little more about what goes on behind the scenes when I’m shooting for Quilt Theory.
For each collection, I do four main shoots… one for the cover, one styled at an indoor location, one of the entire group of quilts and one of each quilt in the wild. I try to take the quilts-in-the-wild shots at locations inspired by the quilts themselves, so it can be up to 7 different locations. That makes up to 11 locations per collection shoot. I’m tired just writing that!! Most of the time though, I try to take 2 quilts to each location to save some driving time.

I’m lucky to live in an area that has many amazing locations close by so I have a lot of great places to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites…

I found this amazing white brick wall in our nearby “big” city that I use for all of our cover photos. I noticed that the morning light right after sunrise is the best for the cover photos so I try to arrive around 6:30am for cover shoot day. On the left you can see my setup, the center is how the quilts look when I take the picture, and on the right is the image after color correction.


Another favorite location is about an hour from my house and it has the most adorable mix of modern and vintage furniture and accessories. The owner has been kind enough to let me come when the store isn’t open to take photos. She usually lets me be there for 2 hours. With 7 quilts to stage and photograph, that time flies by!! On the left you can see how the bed was styled in the store. After some clearing and rearranging, I got the quilt onto the bed (center photo), the photo on the right is the photo I ended up using.


There are so many amazing quilts-in-the-wild locations, but when I’m running short on time, this one is my go-to location. It’s within walking distance of my house so I can usually convince my husband to take a post-dinner walk and hold a quilt for me (when the light is starting to set behind the mountains). There are actually quite a few forest-y spots nearby, so while we walk, I snap pictures with my iphone and scout for the best one. On the left is my scouting pic. I didn’t like this location very much, so we headed up that hill and I found the spot for the photo on the right.


Thanks for taking a little photo tour with me! I hope you enjoyed seeing a few behind-the-scenes shots of where I take the photos. Stay tuned next week for a great post by Yvonne Fuchs!

18 Responses

  1. anne beier

    Loved reading this fun and interesting post. Learning about styling quilts for photos is a subject I’m always on the lookout for, and I appreciate you sharing your expertise. Thanks, Michelle.

  2. Jean McKinstry

    I am so lucky that we have 3 acres, lots of trees, from pine and macrocarpa for firewood, to planted ones for their greenery and beauty. The other day, I tied the cord ( I had pinned the flimsy to a very long cord ) onto a weeping silver pear tree, and Hugh held the other end, for my Freefall QAL flimsy. You do travel a lot, and I have learnt so much just by looking at your Quilt Theory photos.And that was when I realised a quilt doesn’t have to be spread out just so, but draped, flying in the wind, or angled somewhere is really OK,And I am sure it all take a LOT of time and planning.

  3. Lorinda Davis

    I love the glimpse behind-the-scenes. And next time I’m in town, we should get a photo in front of the brick wall together!

    • Michelle

      I would love to take you to the brick wall next time you’re in town! It’s actually not too far from the restaurant we went to last time 🙂

  4. Cheryl

    You and your photography are amazing! Your skill, dedication, and love show through each picture.

    • Michelle

      Thanks so much for your kind words. It is easy to be so passionate when I’m working with some awesome folks!

    • Michelle

      Thanks so much for visiting the Quilt Theory blog and leaving us comments! I’m so glad to know you found the posts interesting. It has been really fun sharing more about what goes on behind the scenes!

  5. ImprovQuilter

    Thanks for the beind-the-scenes look at quilt photography. Where did you get your quilt “stand”?

  6. Annette

    Great post. I love the photos. Can’t wait for more posts. Good job! 🙂

    • Michelle

      Thanks so much for visiting the Quilt Theory blog and for leaving such a nice comment.

  7. Shannon

    Such a great post, Michelle! I adore the quilt photos you take, so it’s really cool to see the behind the scenes shots of where you photograph.

    • Michelle

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed my photo post. I never know if that stuff is interesting to anyone else 🙂

  8. Leanne Parsons

    Thanks for sharing your process, Michelle. I still struggle with styling my quilts for photography, so any glimpses into how others do it are helpful!

  9. Ruth

    Great read. How do you handle the wind with a heavy quilt on the stand? I love your cover photo location and how great to have the shop owner offer such a beautiful space to photograph in.

  10. Paige

    Michelle, thanks for sharing the story behind the photo shoots, especially the perfect brick wall.

Leave a Reply