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Photo Advice

Started by mawgwet, October 14, 2008, 05:13:48 AM

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This is to those who photograph in the field.  I've come across a rather large (too large to scan) photo. Very old. In a wood frame with mat, and old backing.

Problem is the photo has a deteriorating "thing" happening. It looks a bit iridescent(spelling) on the edges. (Greater than an inch on the sides) The family thinks maybe some silver oxidizing....

My point is, if this is true, I'm of the mind to photograph the image like you do. But because of the age, I'm a little leary to just jump in there without gaining some information.

My guess is to take it out of the frame, photo it, and put the original back in the frame and then do the restore.

Any opinions on care of the original, most of all the best way to photo the photo?

I've got a point and shoot 8mgp camera. Nothing fancy, does a fairly decent job.


Hi mawgwet, I am enclosing a link to the set up I used on my first copy fun in Coffeyville, KS. If you go half way down the page you will see a couple of photos of the camera set up. Normally the tripod would have the camera closer to the photo. You are right to want to take the photo out of the frame, especially if it is behind glass, which is not good because of the reflection. If you can set your camera to manual and your camera's to aperture priority to a setting that brings the entire photo in focus. If your camera is a point and shoot and doesn't allow you to do this; I think maybe landscape setting would do the same, but not sure on that one. I would also suggest using a gray card or something to set your white balance. Link: http://www.operationphotorescue.org/forum/index.php/topic,891.msg8588.html#msg8588

Once you have taken the picture of your photo, bring it into Photoshop and straighten and crop the photo to the right dimensions at 300 dpi resolution.

Hope this helps.

"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President


I have done this loads of times and had good and not so good results.

It would be better if you can take it out or the frame so there is no refection from the glass, although it is possible
to do it with the glass if it is too frail to remove.

It is best to light it at 45 deg from either side and don't use the in-camera a flash. Try set the camera as close as possible to parallel with photo.
Use a Tripod, but if you don't have one, support the camera on a steady platform that wont move when you press the shutter.
You can use a bedside lamp either side and if possible, put some grease proof paper to defuse the harsh shadows.

I am lucky to have a friend who gave me some  Pro studio lights but I have gotten just as good a result with the above process
after some experimentation.

At least you have the advantage of Digital so shoot till you get it how you want, and also the ability to adjust the color and exposure after the fact in photoshop, but you might not need that when you get it right with the camera.

Best of luck

Pete Bird


I agree with Pete and might add you can do this fairly cheap. I used PVC pipes, shop lights, and 2 daylight florescent lights. Others have picked up cheap desklights. Under the photo, I used a black poster board. Even though my light were rated as daylight; I had to do a custom white balance because of the blue cast. See if you can set your ISO at 200 or 400 and like Pete said, with digital you have the advantage of being able to experiment.

"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President