Some reported analyses of images of deforming granular materials have generated surprising vermiculate strain features which are difficult to reconcile with the mechanics of deformation of granular matter. Detailed investigation using synthetic images and improved processing of images of laboratory experiments indicates that such features can emerge as a consequence of the image acquisition (sensor, contrast, resolution), the subsequent image correlation implementation, and the user’s choice of processing parameters. The two principal factors are: (i) the texture and resolution of the images and (ii) the algorithm used to achieve sub-pixel displacement resolution. Analysis of the images using a sub-pixel interpolation algorithm that is more robust than that used originally eliminates the vermiculate features for images with moderate resolution and texture. However, erroneous features persist in images with low resolution and poor texture. Guidance is provided on ways in which such artefacts can be avoided through improved experimental and image analysis techniques.