How To Size and Light Your Photographs Using A Phone Camera

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Let’s look at how to size and light photographs on Precious Lists. To make the most from your items in the collection view, it is good to be aware of two things: the aspect ratio of the ‘feature’ images and the power of using a good light source.

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Taking the right shape

The aspect ratio of the feature image of an item in the collection view is 4:3. When you take photos with your phone it is best to take with the phone in landscape mode which defaults to 4:3 ratio

For the feature picture we like to take a photo that shows the piece in context, on a wall, or a piece of furniture, which allows the mind to imply a sense of scale. Then take some more detailed pictures of part of the item that interest you, which might be the artist’s signature, or particular detail on a carving.

Here we have a picture showing the close up of a signature:

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In the item detail pane the pictures are in a portrait format, so take detail photos this way.

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The part of the photo that shows in the collection view can be rotated or zoomed in on the details


Artificial lighting to supplement the natural light really helps to give the photo depth, and shadow as well as allowing the camera to take the sharpest pictures.

We have found a low cost method of making a non-professional light source is with a readily available light bulb and a standard lamp with an aluminium reflector.  In this case made from on old cake tin!

The cool daylight colour of the lamp gives a cooler light quality that brings out highlights and shadows on the piece.

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