Photography Guide

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Here’s our tips on how to make sure the photos included in your Precious List look great. It’s always good to hear our users are proud of their list, they find it reassuring and enjoyable to look through. The better quality the photos, the deeper that pride. Plus of course clear, sharp images make it easier for insurance and collection planning.

Here’s our photograpghy guide on using your smartphone to capture great images of your precious belongings. It’s amazing how a sheet of A4 paper can make all the difference!


Most people use the phone, hold it to their ears, touch it repeatedly and it gets covered in grease. This will give a clouded and unsharp image. Clean it with fresh dry toilet paper!


Stabilisation is paramount to a nice sharp image. Hold with two hands, hold your breath and gently touch the shoot button. You could use a pile of books as a tripod, but this is too much effort for most often crouching down and rising on your knee will suffice.


Try and take the photo with as much natural light as possible. Ambient fluorescent light always appears to yellow. Make sure the light is coming from behind you and not in front of your subject. Items will appear too dark as the camera will try and expose the background evenly.

Avoid using direct flash or bright lights that can cause reflections. Instead, use diffused lighting such as natural light from a window or a softbox.

If you are using an artificial light try to get the light arriving at the picture to be indirect, either reflected off a ceiling or wall behind you this will reduce glare


Taking photos of artwork with glass in the frame can be challenging due to the reflections that the glass can cause. Some tips to avoid reflections and get a good photo that might help are:

Angle the artwork: Try tilting the artwork slightly to change the angle of the glass. This can help reduce or eliminate reflections.

Use a polarising filter: A polarising filter can help reduce or eliminate reflections. This filter can be placed on the camera lens and rotated until the reflection disappears.

Remove the glass: If possible, remove the glass from the frame to take the photo. Be careful when handling the artwork and the glass to avoid damage.

Remember to experiment with different techniques and settings to find what works best for your specific artwork and camera equipment.


Jewellery is always difficult because of reflections which mute details. To make life much easier roll a sheet of A4 paper into large tube and tape it. Place the item one third the way inside the tube. Place the tube on a window sill, and don’t be afraid of the direct sunlight. The light will be flat and even giving you jewellery photos which are clear and reflection-free.


Make sure the item is square and central on the screen. Edit and crop the final image down to its smallest size. The quality will still be good enough for cataloging.


To avoid reflections again use sheets of paper. This may be a two person procedure. Angle the paper to remove the unwanted reflections.


If you are dragging or importing photos from Apple photos sometimes the file format does not allow this.  In this case drag the photo to a ‘file finder’ folder, or to the desktop, and drag to Precious Lists from there.

Most of all have fun. Take multiple photos of each item. Capture interesting details, signatures, close-up areas of the piece. Taking shots from different angles will give interesting perspectives on each item. The majority of the photos on this site, over 90% of them in fact, were taken with a smartphone, using these tips, including the Edinex classic camera on this post.  We hope our photography guide helps you truly capture your precious items. Enjoy compiling your precious list photos!

For more on how to size and light your smartphone photos head here>>