No announcement yet.

How to take a good picture of a picture to be restored

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How to take a good picture of a picture to be restored

    Let's say you are trying to take a picture of a 11x17 picture or painting to use for restoring the picture. (Sometimes it's either too big or in too fragile condition to be scanned.) Is there a way to avoid getting major glare coming from the camera? If you shoot without the flash will you get all the detail you need?

    I had to do this recently with a film camera and no matter whether I took the pictures indoors or out, or how well it all seemed to look in the viewfinder, I had major glare ruining all the shots. Each shot had the glare in a different spot and I tried to use the best parts of each picture for my restoration, but of course this is not the way to do it.

    Thought I'd post one of the pics to give you a better idea what I'm talking about:

    (This issue was raised and discussed briefly at the end of my earlier thread, "A real challenge, yellowed tape covering over half of face," but so that others can more easily find and also benefit from the information, I am starting this new thread.)
    Attached Files

  • #2
    The "glare" looks like silvering to me. A common problem with old black and whites that are slowly coming apart. So what to do?

    Either film or digital is OK (asuming that the digital camera has enough file size to use) but digital is easier because you do not have to scan the negative to get the image into the computer.

    Lighting should be at a 45 degree angle from either side and should be balanced so its even.

    Use double polorized light (thats with a polorizing filter over the lens and also over each light source. Turn the lens filter so that the glare disappears)

    I find that this technique works very well not only for silvered prints, but also for paintings. However on paintings sometimes the artist would like a little reflection, so by adjusting the lens filter you can leave a little in the image.

    Try it, you will like it!



    • #3
      There are a couple of good threads on this here. Here's one.

      The idea is basically you want diffused non-directional light, keep the camera parallel to the image, and use a high enough resolution digital camera or slide scanner.

      An overcast day is a good example of lighting, although there are plenty of indoor techniques. A polarizing filter can help.
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning


      • #4
        Thanks, Doug for your reply and posting the link. I am rather overwhelmed sorting through all the different comments and suggestions at the moment from that link but what you wrote here seems to be the main points to keep in mind.

        When you say 'keep the camera parallel with the image' do you mean keep it at the same level, neither higher or lower?


        The original has no glare at all, so not sure if you're right about the "silvering." What is a silvered print??

        I'm pretty sure that the pic I posted above was taken while looking down at the picture on the ground, outside on a mildly sunny late afternoon day and I think that's what caused the glare. Plus I was using a flash.



        • #5
          Diane: It's just important that the film plane (be it actual film, or the digital CCD) is kept parallel with the image being photographed. Otherwise you'll end up with distortion called "keystoning", where one edge is actually slightly larger than the opposite edge in the recorded image.
          Learn by teaching
          Take responsibility for learning


          • #6

            If your flash was mounted on the camera, that is part of the problem. Remember light follows the "angle of incidence equals angle of reflection" rule. Ever try to take a photograph of a person standing in front of a large window? If you are at a 90 degree angle with the glass didn't you get a large glare back from the glass? Prints will do the same, especially glossy types or the ones with silvering.

            Silvering is a condition old prints get into when they start to decompose. Remember that the image you see is a layer of silver in the emulsion. The easy test is to take the print in your hand and slowly move it back and forth so the angle of the light changes as you view it. If there is silvering, you will see a reflection on the surface of the print as you move it. It will look very similier to the reflection on the bottom of the sample you posted.

            There are several books on the techniques of copying. Kodak used to have a really good one that went into film and filter choices etc. Most of these books will have diagrams and photos of how and why you should set up your camera and lights. I do not know if it is still in print or not. A trip to your local library might be worth the time.



            Related Topics


            • simon29
              Uneven Exposure
              by simon29
              I have been using my digital camera to take pictures of my dad's old photos. What I find is that many times I have sections of the photo that appear oddly underexposed. I would like to even up the contrast across the entire print. I am a newbie at using Photoshop 6. Thanks in advance for your h...
              07-05-2005, 07:50 AM
            • Michaelc
              A Digital Photo
              by Michaelc
              Hi Everyone,

              I have a client who requires a 58cm x 68cm restoration but is not financial enough to pay for the lab scan. So, I'm looking at taking a digital photo of it myself and never having given it a go would appreciate any tips for a decent result. I have a Konica...
              12-08-2004, 07:24 PM
            • H0LLYW00D
              Take a picture of a picture
              by H0LLYW00D
              I have a large number of old pictures that i want to make digital and a friend of mine suggested placing each picture on a white peice of paper and then placing a peice of glass over the picuture and then taking the picture of the picture. Does this sound like it would work and give the best quality...
              11-09-2007, 10:40 AM
            • Brinse
              Fragmented picture
              by Brinse
              I have a 80+/- year old photograph of my neighbor that is fragmented into four pieces. Total appx. size of the photo pieced together is roughly 10in wide and 14in high. The pic is in pretty good shape surface wise. Wondering if I should try to scan each piece individually then stitch...
              02-02-2007, 04:48 PM
            • yuppicide
              F stop..
              by yuppicide
              I'm getting the adapter for my Canon S2 IS to allow other lenses to be put on. I'm getting a Circular Polarizer. Someone reccommended Hoya to me as good ones, so I bought one. It's 5mm thick, double threaded. This is the one I bought:

              07-07-2005, 05:55 PM