A Quick Video Guide To Dealing With Moire

As a fashion and catalog photographer moire is an issue I am all too familiar with. These days, as more and more cameras opt to do without the low pass filter, you might find yourself dealing with moire in some unfortunate places. Adorama has put together a wonderful video that explains moire, how to avoid it before taking a shot, and how to deal with it after the shot has already been captured.

When shooting clothing moire is something I deal with quite often. With the higher resolution cameras of today the issue is not as prominent as it used to be, but even still, moire can creep up in some circumstances. There are certain precautions you can take before you capture your image to help prevent the issue. Gavin Hoey goes over these steps in his Adorama video. Sometimes moire is unavoidable though, and if that is the case, he also offers a look at how you can easily remove these artifacts in your post process.

Peter House's picture

Peter House is a commercial fashion photographer from Toronto, Canada. He shoots over 10,000 pieces of clothing every year for a variety of lookbooks. Clients range from small local boutiques to international brands such as Target, Winners, and Sears. In addition to that Peter runs one of the most popular rental studio's in the Toronto area.

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If your going to be shooting things where the false color moire is going to be a problem why not simply use a tool that isn't prone to the effects? After all the camera is just a tool so it make sense to use one more suited to the job.

The Sigma Foveon sensor camera's are great for this type of thing.

I know this is addressing moire at the initial shoot, but there are other points where you can have this problem anyway.

It doesn't matter what resolution your camera is, or if it has no low pass filter, or even if you're using film! Moire can occur dependent on the nature of the pattern, the resolution of the image file and, most importantly, the final print or web size and orientation. The post production tool can help if you have an obvious nasty case of it, but but not down the line. Unless you're shooting tethered and can see it on a large screen, you may not know you have it either until after the shoot.

Unless you know all of these parameters, you'll never know if you're going to wind up with moire or not in your final destination. Even if you see it in your file, it doesn't mean it will show up at final print or web resolution (if you get color banding you'll obviously need to deal with that). I've had to deal with this issue since the photo-optical era. Fortunately back in those days, and especially during the 90s and 2000s in pre-press, we had actual size and orientation halftone proofs, so you could see and compensate. Unfortunately if it absolutely had to be at a given size and orientation that generated moire, your only solution was to blur the image

Nowadays you may shoot and you may never see how the image is laid out and distributed. Also, modern proofs are inkjet made, so they won't show halftone moire (assuming your image is going to press). This leads to a greater possibility of moire occurring in the final press run, even if your shot came out looking alright.

So, unless you have something really obviously nasty that needs to be addressed (and you may not see that unless you're shooting tethered and can see it on a large screen), keep in mind the final destination to make it the best it can be.

For some reason, Monty Python came to mind as I listened to this guy...