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Author Topic: First attempt at photography  (Read 469 times)

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Offline Adrian H

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First attempt at photography
« on: October 02, 2022, 01:25:14 pm »
My first attempt at coin photography is linked here: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=177345. Image was taken with my phone and illuminated by a small LED flashlight against a bright green microfiber cloth. I edited it in GIMP. How can I improve my photos/cropping without buying any more equipment or software?
My gallery: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/index.php?cat=53699

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Offline Adrian H

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2022, 02:04:06 pm »
After I posted, I noticed a lot more light green between 10 and 12 o'clock on the obverse. I've cropped that out now.
My gallery: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/index.php?cat=53699

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Offline Heliodromus

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2022, 03:49:24 pm »
I think it's excellent for a first attempt - smart phone cameras are surprisingly good for coin photography.

Since it's well focused I'm assuming you're already resting the phone on something and using a timed shutter release to avoid camera shake?

I use an iPhone and prefer the "Halide" camera app to the default one. Has some nice macro features.

From here its a matter of experimenting with lighting to see what works best for different types of coins, and getting used to what you can do in GIMP to fix up exposure issues/etc.

I'd suggest a black or white background rather than colored. White is useful in that you can fix up colors by using that as a white point reference in GIMP.

GIMP features you will find useful are Colors->Levels and Colors->Hue-Saturation. In the levels screen you can either move the three black/grey/white point sliders around yourself or use "Auto Input Levels" which also does some color correction. You can also use the rightmost of three "droppers", which color corrects by clicking on a part of the photo that should be white (= advantage of white background). The colors will always be a bit off depending on what type of light source you use and will need correcting. You really want to use a single light source (or multiple of same type), since otherwise you'll have multiple color shifts to deal with. e.g. close curtains, turn room light off, and only use your photography light.

Colors->Hue-Saturation can be used for removing unwanted color shifts after you've adjusted levels. Depending on light source it seems quite often you may want to desaturate yellow a bit. My goal is always to make the colors look same as the coin in hand under some natural lighting conditions.


Offline Altamura

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2022, 04:09:52 pm »
The picture is really good, but the attribution of the coin is perhaps not correct :-\.
In my eyes the coin has been minted under Artaxerxes II from Persis (and not the achaemenid one):  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardakhshir_II

Regards

Altamura

Offline Adrian H

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2022, 05:05:28 pm »
In my eyes the coin has been minted under Artaxerxes II from Persis (and not the achaemenid one)

Aha! That makes sense given what was on the coin flip Joe sent it to me in. Thank you! I have to admit I'm a little disappointed that it's a few centuries younger than I thought  >:(
My gallery: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/index.php?cat=53699

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Offline Adrian H

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2022, 06:14:59 pm »
using a timed shutter release to avoid camera shake?

I am not, thanks for the tip.
My gallery: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/index.php?cat=53699

$G_{\mu\nu}=8\pi GT_{\mu\nu}$

Offline Virgil H

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2022, 08:03:17 pm »
I think your photography effort is quite good. I struggle with photography or coins. I also use Gimp. Regarding the Levels adjustment, I always use Auto Levels first, but then 80% plus of the time, I cancel, and then move the adjustments manually. I try to get it looking as close to the original colors as I can while also making it more readable. The only downside is that every monitor is different, even if your screen is calibrated, most of those looking at your images are not. So, in the end, when it comes to digital photos, everyone sees them a bit differently. All you can do is your best at the source.

Cheers,
Virgil

Offline Heliodromus

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2022, 08:58:32 pm »
I always use Auto Levels first, but then 80% plus of the time, I cancel, and then move the adjustments manually.

Same here!

The auto levels tends to make things a bit too contrasty and often gets the color correction wrong. I assume it was tuned to work on normal photos.


Offline Altamura

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2022, 01:58:47 am »
By the way, there is a podcast from the ANS "Tips for Photographing Coins with a Smartphone": https://numismatics.org/pocketchange/03-04/
Their photographer Alan Roche gives a lot of hints how to proceed and to improve pictures.

Regards

Altamura

Online Ron C2

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2022, 10:56:21 pm »
Your photo is not a bad first attempt.  If you stick with the hobby and the sub-hobby of coin photography, you may eventually find a decent macro camera setup that blows the doors off a cell phone camera can be had for the price of one decent ancient denarius of mid-range price

Maybe take a look at this forum stocky to wet your appetite :)

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=124294.0
My Ancient Coin Gallery: Click here

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Offline dougsmit

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2022, 11:02:11 pm »
Quote from: Heliodromus on October 02, 2022, 05:49:24 pm
using a timed shutter release to avoid camera shake?

While I never use a phone for coins, my Samsung has a feature where you can trip the shutter by saying 'Shoot' or one of a few other words (cheese and smile work).  This is the least vibration causing way of doing it but it is a feature not available on my fancy camera so I use a wireless remote release. I took this photo of a phone on a juice glass shooting a coin lighted by ambient light which is good if you have a nice indirect, softly lit place in the house.
 

Offline Virgil H

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2022, 11:16:08 pm »
Back in the long ago days of film, I had two different delayed release attachments. One I used on an 8 X 10 view camera that screwed on the shutter release and was operated with a bulb of air via a tube. You squeezed it and it pushed the shutter. The other was for my SLRs, including larger formats, it screwed in and was a tab you pushed via a cable. I have literally never seen such a feature on a digital camera and I never understood why. If anything, the digital cameras I have had are far worse for vibrations and smartphones take their time about actually taking a photograph. Not sure why. I set mine up on a surface and push the button quietly and hope for the best. And when I say that smartphones are better for taking photos of coins than anything else available today, I am not saying they actually take good photos. The digital zooms are horrible, for example. And there is literally no way to get a truly good photo from the tiny lenses. Oh well, yet another example of modern technology being way worse than the old technology. I still have all the old cameras and lenses, as well as a really good darkroom setup, all rotting away. I use my cellphone and grimace at the quality, but I haven't developed film in years. Everything is a tradeoff.

Virgil

Offline dougsmit

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2022, 01:20:13 pm »


I still have both types of releases mentioned and a Linhof 4x5 view rotting in the attic.  I sold my 8x10.  Current digital cameras can be released by a wireless Bluetooth transmitter the size of a USB drive. Fifteen years ago I had a wired release for my 'now antique' Canon DSLR that plugged into the fitting on the side of the camera but wireless is much better.  You can even trip the shutter using an app on a smartphone but the small releases are easier. 

Now to the big matter on which we differ.  No cell phone can take a photo the equal of cameras.  To make up for the tiny lenses and sensors, cell phone cameras rely on heavy processing to add fake sharpness and detail not recorded in the raw shot.  However, many people most certainly do take better photos using their phones than if they used a camera that they never took the trouble to learn the controls.  I am working on that but am nowhere near proficient.  Also, I'd estimate a good 99% of all photos taken of coins have no reason for being except to sell coins online or participate in discussion groups which limit the size/resolution of the images.  That means that for many uses the cell images done well are more than good enough for the purposes intended.  I take coin photos with the same cameras I use for the other parts of my photo hobby (birds, insects, flowers).  I rarely make prints of coins.  Most of my coins are poor enough that they do not allow being blown up to huge sizes even if I wanted to hang a print on my wall.  As a result, I only keep the full resolution shots of 'special' coins.  The run of the mill, record shots now get reduced in size to something allowable by Facebook.  I have not tried the full 2048 KB size limitations for Forvm but even the Facebook legal 2048 pixels (same number, different unit of measure!) on the larger side is plenty to make 4x6" prints or to view on a small computer screen.  My sample here shows the 10mm tall coin reduced to Facebook 'legal' size and a piece of the full resolution image tacked on at the bottom making a file just under half Forvm limit at 1.1 MB.  Why, then, bother with a camera capable of more?  I do make prints for wall hanging of non-coin subjects like the full size but not highest quality (due to the amateur photographer) of a sweat bee and mosquito on a daisy available on this link to the 3.48 MB original size image .  The center of the daisy is about denarius size but I have not tried to get a bug to pose on a coin. ;)
https://pbase.com/image/173120210

Offline Joe Sermarini

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Offline Virgil H

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2022, 08:26:56 pm »
Doug,
I don't think we disagree at all, I agree with everything you said. If I misspoke, I apologize. I get into arguments with people who try to tell me that cell phones with their tiny lenses produce good photographs. And I really agree about the level of processing that takes place, which very adversely affects photos of small objects like coins. I agree they take pictures suitable for the Internet and that is primarily what they are used for. I used to do black and white "art" photography and have transitioned to digital for that. Most of what I do is printed as 8 x 10 on an 11 x 14 paper that may be framed and hung and avoids needing a cut mat, which is important because I sign, title, and number my editions and I want to do it on the actual photograph paper. I use a digital SLR for these. I would never even think about using a cellphone. But, like you, I do not do this with coins, although I have a couple I may consider doing this way. But, I will figure out how to get a decent picture with the SLR when that time comes. I see you also have the macro side of things under control, that is one area of photography I have never been able to do well. So far, I do keep the photos of my coins I take as part of my records, but I leave them at the size I convert them to for uploading on Forum.

Virgil

Offline Elyshh K

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2022, 02:53:58 am »
There are a number of ways you can do this. One way is to practice and learn how to use the editing features on your phone.
Also, take advantage of free online resources. Also, use a free online photo editor to make changes to your photos.
For more, click here https://bestforandroid.com/camera-apps/

Online Ron C2

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Re: First attempt at photography
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2022, 09:03:15 pm »
While I never use a phone for coins, my Samsung has a feature where you can trip the shutter by saying 'Shoot' or one of a few other words (cheese and smile work).  This is the least vibration causing way of doing it but it is a feature not available on my fancy camera so I use a wireless remote release.

Most phones and cameras come with a timer shutter release.  set it to 2 seconds delay and bob's your uncle.  no need to buy accessories :)
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