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Taking The Best Photographs Of Amcient Greek And Roman Coins

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Pillar of the Community
1106 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2014  7:28 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Topcat7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I have heard it said that different coins will photograph differently.

Here is a classic case. I took some photos with my NEW light kit and my iPhone4, and I was blown away. I thought that they were a 1000% improvement on the photos that I had been taking with my (professional) Kodak set-up.

Here is a photo I took with my iPhone4 and my Sanoto lightbox set-up of my Quintillus.




​AND here is a photo of the same Quintillus that I took using just the light over the hand basin in the en-suite​ (and the same iPhone4.




I couldn't believe that the set-up that worked so well for another coin didn't do as well for this one.

One size definitely doesn't fit all.


Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
3626 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2014  7:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pishpash to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I couldn't agree more.
This will keep you busy for hours :)

http://goccf.com/f/81
Pillar of the Community
United States
2480 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2014  8:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ThisIsFun to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That is definitely an improvement :)

Taking good photos is challenging. Sometimes I'll hit upon the best camera settings and lighting only to have the same setup fail the next day.

I think you photo looks even better with a black background... but I'm biased towards solid black backgrounds. :D



(the resolution suffered when I resized it to less that 100k for CCF's restrictions)
Pillar of the Community
United States
5155 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2014  9:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ancientnoob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with TIF I too am biased towards the black background.
Pillar of the Community
1106 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2014  9:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Topcat7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

I like it too, but I have to ask TIF - How did you put a black background on MY coin?

Edited by Topcat7
09/15/2014 9:52 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
4778 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2014  10:28 pm  Show Profile   Check VisigothKing's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add VisigothKing to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Photoshop or a similar editing program. Kinda looks like some darkening of the coin as well.

You can also get a black background and photograph your coin on that. If worked right, sunlight is pretty good too.

Oh and if you can, get a digital camera with macro. The quality of your photos will be a lot better.
"For as long as Belisarius lives, it is impossible for him to relinquish this city." - Roman general Belisarius, responding to a group of Gothic envoys, during the Gothic siege of Rome in 537 AD

Attributed coins in my collection so far - Roman: 241, Byzantine: 44, Post-Roman Germanic: 24
Edited by VisigothKing
09/15/2014 10:34 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
2480 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2014  11:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ThisIsFun to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Topcat... right-click, saved. Edited in Photoshop Elements, although you can accomplish the same thing with free online photo editors such as Pixlr.com.

There are many ways to edit out the existing background. Some ways work better than others. If the edges of the coin are not crisp in your picture, using an automatic background remover will yield a jagged and pixely edge.

One of these days I'll learn how to use layer masks in PSE but for now I just use a black paintbrush with a slightly softened edge and carefully paint around the coin. It's not very efficient but I've done it so many times that it only takes ~10-15 minutes to fully edit a coin now.
Pillar of the Community
United States
2480 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2014  11:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ThisIsFun to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Tonight I played around with making a collage. I made a pile of a random selection of my coins-- well, not truly random since I purposefully included most of my better coins.

I was just going to use a few and learn how to apply drop shadows for a more realistic look. An hour or two later I had a big pile and I'll probably add more and rearrange.

Pillar of the Community
United States
513 Posts
 Posted 09/16/2014  1:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chuy1530 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow, that's very nice. The coins really pop in that picture.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a good lense to take coin pictures with with a Nikon F mount? Something on the less expensive side if possible, but I don't even know where to start looking for macro lenses or what to look for.
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
3626 Posts
 Posted 09/16/2014  1:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pishpash to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
chuy, you might be better asking the question on the photographic forum, lots of expertise there.
Pillar of the Community
United States
513 Posts
 Posted 09/16/2014  1:25 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chuy1530 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, I forgot that forum was on here.
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United States
22890 Posts
 Posted 09/16/2014  1:26 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow!, TIF that photo looks like it can from an expensive reference book. Great photo with beautiful coins.

I wish I could comment on how to take good pictures, but even after all these years I have still not mastered how to take a decent picture.
Pillar of the Community
Netherlands
1204 Posts
 Posted 09/16/2014  3:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Dutchgulden to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
really nice picture tif and amaazing coins (we dont expect less of you ;-))
Pillar of the Community
1106 Posts
 Posted 09/16/2014  8:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Topcat7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

I have solved my problem. The answer is staring me in the face.

I just send my coins to TIF to get perfect shots every time!
Pillar of the Community
United States
5155 Posts
 Posted 09/16/2014  10:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ancientnoob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Im not the best but I am the best
with a point and click Sony Cyber shot.
Edited by Ancientnoob
09/16/2014 10:57 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
4732 Posts
 Posted 09/17/2014  10:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add chrsmat71 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm horrible...but I've improved a bit over the last couple years.
here's the first pic I posted here..







here's the last coin picture I took, a wu zhu of han China...



the picture is pretty good...but the edge of the coin looks bumpy. I used a paintbrush in gimp to do the edge and didn't have a very steady hand.
Edited by chrsmat71
09/17/2014 10:05 pm
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