Late Roman Bronze Coins

Assorted topics => Photography => Topic started by: livingwater on September 23, 2016, 12:57:23 PM

Title: Photos
Post by: livingwater on September 23, 2016, 12:57:23 PM
Hey Victor and everyone,

When I buy a coin online I always save the photo for my records.  But sometimes seller photos are grainy, out of focus or make the coin appear a different color patina than when the coin is in hand.  I don't have an expensive setup, just a Cannon 10MP camera with macro setting.  Sometimes I lay a coin on the window sill in direct sunlight.  Most often I lean the coin at an angle under a table lamp with 100 watt bulb.  I put a white cloth behind the coin and I could edit out the cloth for a blank background but usually don't take the time to do this.  My photos are okay, at least better than some seller photos.  Here's two coins I bought from ebay sellers compared to my photos:
Title: Re: Photos
Post by: Victor on September 23, 2016, 01:13:21 PM
You should also try some post-processing using a photo editing program. I have an expensive program (photoshop) that I rarely use; I usually use an older program that came with a scanner called Arcsoft. All editing programs should have similar functions though, ones that I use most frequently are auto enhance, which adjusts brightness and contrast all in one shot. Another feature that I use frequently is "scratch removal" which helps when pictures look a little grainy. There are some free editing programs like Gimp, if you have not heard of it yet. I have not used it, but I have seen posts about it.

I used auto enhance on your picture below and bucket filled the background white. It's a little darker now with a bit more contrast, but photos are subjective and based on personal preference. I like a solid white background, but some like black etc.
Title: Re: Photos
Post by: livingwater on September 23, 2016, 04:07:13 PM

Your edited photo with white background looks nice.  I recently bought Adobe Photo Elements 14 and am just starting to figure out how to work it.  It does have a bucket icon and color selection, etc.  I have about one hundred coins purchaced in the 1980s-1990s from printed lists/sales that I had no photos of.  The last couple years I finally took photos using the cloth background.  Don't know if I'll ever take the time to edit them all and take out the cloth in favor of a solid color.  Maybe someday...... :) 
Title: Re: Photos
Post by: Victor on September 23, 2016, 04:25:09 PM
I shoot coins from a raised position so that I don't get the shadow around the edges. I use a container with a clear lid and line the container with white/ grey paper.
Title: Re: Photos
Post by: SolarDub on September 24, 2016, 09:11:55 PM
Do you (both) illuminate with direct or diffuse light?

What's your philosophy on the images, too? Do you wish to get the best representation of the coin (warts, scratches and all) or a nice edited version of it?
Title: Re: Photos
Post by: Victor on September 24, 2016, 11:14:50 PM
I shoot with direct light; but sometimes put something in between the coin and the light to diffuse it a little, if the coin is too reflective. I have tried a light cube (pictured below) but did not really like the results.

My pictures of coins never look better than the actual coin, in fact, like the old saying, they are better in hand. I shoot in macro with a 100mm lens, so the littlest things can be seen on the coin that in hand are not even noticeable. I have purchased coins from auction houses, mainly German, where the coins sometimes did not hardly look like the picture. Though I sometimes lighten coins if they have a dark patina, otherwise I want the picture to accurately reflect the coin and I think that it is very important that any problems like scratches or flan cracks are clearly shown, especially if I am selling a coin.