Numismatic and History Discussions > Coin Photography, Conservation and Storage

First attempt at photography

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Adrian H:
My first attempt at coin photography is linked here: 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?

Adrian H:
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.

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.

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):



Adrian H:

--- Quote from: Altamura on October 02, 2022, 04:09:52 pm ---In my eyes the coin has been minted under Artaxerxes II from Persis (and not the achaemenid one)

--- End quote ---

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  >:(


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