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Lighting And Taking Images (Showing My Hand On This One)

 
 
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 Posted 12/21/2018  12:22 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add coop to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Lighting and taking images
How to get great pictures? This is a problem for most new collectors. They don't have what they really want to use to take images. But have you noticed that some after a little reminders from us to post better images, come back with better images. You don't have to have the most expensive equipment to have great images. You just have to know how to use, what you have. How do you figure it out? If your not happy with the way your images look, try different things to improve. Sometimes you can get to be consistent with your images. But still you feel something is missing. So try different things. Sometimes just a little changing things, will work better. Other times it doesn't work. So keep what works, and try not to do that again. I've had to recheck to see how I improved something later and remember I did/didn't do something.

Having the right type of lighting. Not just any bulb from the hardware store will give you what you want to have for your camera. The secret? Diffusing the light helps to remove the most harmful thing for images. Glare. What is glare? Glare is reflection off a shiny device/field/design of a coin. The proof coins are even harder to take images of, because of the shiny surface. You can use two lights for full images of coins. That is OK. But on micro images, close ups will suffer because of multiple light sources. Why? On a single light source you have light and shadows. With more than one light, you get light on two or more sides of the devices. With the extra light sources on the coin, it is flooded with too much light. There is no light and shadows that are needed for micro images. It is just light and light. Have you ever walked early in the morning and watched as you walked, shadows from more street lights? Your walking along seeing your shadow, but when you are between two or more lights, you see more shadows. Some are dark and some are a bit lighter and then there is the light from the light above you. So when taking images with several light sources, you get the wrap around lighting from the other lights that make it look like something is there. Then you look again and you see the devices are normal in size, so the light is causing you to see something, that is not there. Or when you are looking a the edges of coin devices, the lights will reflect off the sides of the devices, again making you feel like there is something there, but again the light is just playing tricks on you. Having your light source to low, will make the sides of devices reflect and not the tops of the devices. When Machine Doubling is present, it shines very bright. But again, you consider the size of the devices, and realize it is the lighting that is making you feel something is there. But it is not.

Note on these images, the light source directions. If it is too low you can have image of devices on just one side of the device and it can distort what is there. If the light source is too strong, then glare happens and often covers what your are seeing, and all wee see is glare. So the examples here show what can happen, if the lighting is not reaching the devices at the best angles. The bottom on the right is what you want. The light source over the top of the devices above the coin.

So how can you improve your images? Having a lower power /wattage bulb. Another thing that helps, is to diffuse your lights. Prevent the glare before you snap that image. You can do this with a plastic grocery bag. It doesn't prevent the excess wattage, but it cuts the glare that reflects off the devices. Preventing devices from glare and your almost there. But sometimes the light is still too light. Try using computer paper. On one of my setups I use two sheets to remove the glare. Another thing that can cause glare, is a secondary light source. What's that? Having a room light that is giving you trouble, or having window light from the sun shining in the direction of the coins image your trying to take. How do you determine this? If you are using a scope, Get the coin in place to take the image and before taking it look at the scope and cup your hands around the coin area. That way you can spot which direction the unwanted light is coming from. If you figure out the source you can block that direction so that light won't bother you. On my scope, I have paper strips or you can use facial tissue with tape on them to do the job. Sometimes a book opened on edge. Just prevent the light from reaching the coin. I also use a unique tool to direct the light into the scope:


The ramp is just a 2X2 with dark fabric on it and a piece of cardboard to hold it open. This helps direct the light into the scope, so you get the right amount. If you need to rotate the coin under the scope, keep the ramp in the correct location for what your using, just rotate the coin. Sometimes I will place other coins under the ramp if the light is not strong enough. I keep my light fixed at 12:00 and the ramp opening at 6:00. That way the light is directed into the scope. Again if you need to adjust the coin to be horizontal, turn the coin, and not the ramp. Before you click your images, make sure the coin is straight on the setup, or turn your camera a bit until it is horizontal. (handy if you don't have software to rotate the images) But your probably wondering how can I take multiple coins in the same image? Well you need a different set up.

MY HOME STUDIO
You can see the images look great, but how did this all happen? Well I make what I have, work for me. My studio consists a 2 drawer filing cabinet, a cardboard box, a small shipping box and a piece of darker colored cloth. Also a gooseneck desk lamp. Here is what I end up with:





So use what you have, and make it work. Keep trying something different to get the desired results. Ask me? I've tried a lot of things to get the best out of what I have. Questions? Post them here.

Another thing We eventually will need is a discussion on software and how to use. I'll handle the Adobe Photoshop questions. Others can help add to a new thread later on to figure out what to do with software you have. (I've been using an older version I've had for over 20 years)
CoopHome : lighting taking images how to
Richard S. Cooper
Some have asked about my images I use and I'm glad to say, you can now you can see the DVD in sections on youtube:
1. Intro, older coins, toned coins 2. Doubled dies 3. Die events, One of a kind errors 4. So called errors, Coin information 5. Coin information Types and Varieties, Overlays
Jefferson nickel doubled dies Wexler/Rebar complete listings

trail dies:http://www.traildies.com/
Edited by coop
12/21/2018 06:17 am
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 Posted 12/21/2018  07:12 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice work as always @coop. My pics are far from excellent, but I agree that getting rid of glare is huge. I use a cheap USB camera and put little rubber sleeves over the LED lights in order to diffuse the light coming from them. The sleeves are meant to be used on residential dishwashers to protect the vertical posts on the plate and glass racks from damage.
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 Posted 12/21/2018  10:17 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice lighting summary and suggestions coop! Lighting is the single most important aspect of coin photography (or any photography) so your summary is great to have.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 12/23/2018  06:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinaholic20 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very very informative and useful thank you, love it lighting is king
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 Posted 12/23/2018  10:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jafo50 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I tape coffee filters over the lamp to diffuse the light. The biggest problem that I have is positioning the light so the devices are highlighted correctly.
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 Posted 12/23/2018  2:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add coop to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That why I use a book light to get the light under the scope. It only uses 14 watts of power. But it gets the light where it needs to be.
Richard S. Cooper
Some have asked about my images I use and I'm glad to say, you can now you can see the DVD in sections on youtube:
1. Intro, older coins, toned coins 2. Doubled dies 3. Die events, One of a kind errors 4. So called errors, Coin information 5. Coin information Types and Varieties, Overlays
Jefferson nickel doubled dies Wexler/Rebar complete listings

trail dies:http://www.traildies.com/
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 Posted 01/03/2019  06:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Kronny to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Right on. Thx for that info. I was thinkn about how light affects the coins surface. And the best way to focus on the coins is by being over the coin directly. Awesome.
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 Posted 01/11/2019  09:13 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thisistheshow to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This was great coop! Thank you!
I only use my cell phone to take pictures, so these tips about light are especially helpful for me.
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 Posted 01/28/2019  11:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mdpmedia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Diffusing the light...


I have never been able to take great photos by always using my attached angled lights at the same angle degree to horizontal.

But I have vastly improved my consistency by using a small hand-held LED light (with 10 LEDs) covered with a ping pong ball cut in half. This device allows me to quickly re-position itself up, down, sideways or at a different angle (in conjunction with my two fixed-angle lights) adequately to diffuse the light enough to diminish the glare to a manageable amount.

I have another similar LED light but the ping pong ball covering detached. By holding this light further away at an angle ranging from 30 - 45 degrees to horizontal it accentuates the field scratches and devices significantly better to allow for a more accurately graded coin.

These 4" long x 1.5" diameter lights are available at Harbor Freight for $ 3.50.
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 Posted 01/30/2019  4:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add coop to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You could even focus the light a bit more with black tape and a hole where you want the light to exit. That would prevent the unwanted secondary lighting and also cut the glare making it look like you have a single light source.
Richard S. Cooper
Some have asked about my images I use and I'm glad to say, you can now you can see the DVD in sections on youtube:
1. Intro, older coins, toned coins 2. Doubled dies 3. Die events, One of a kind errors 4. So called errors, Coin information 5. Coin information Types and Varieties, Overlays
Jefferson nickel doubled dies Wexler/Rebar complete listings

trail dies:http://www.traildies.com/
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 Posted 01/31/2019  5:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That is the approach I take coop. My "smile directors" and similar are designed to shape the light to minimize glare from slabs.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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 Posted 02/15/2019  3:09 pm  Show Profile   Check westcoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add westcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great info and a really nice presentation on your set-up Coop!

One question I have, do you think using the red cloth (shown in the photos of your set-up) is coloring the coins unnaturally? I would think using a more neutral color like white, black or grey would work better as to color correction before you have to work in software. Just a thought.
"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin" - Aaron R. Feldman - "And read it" - Me 2013!
ANA Life Member #3288 in good standing since 1982, EAC Member #6202, NBS Member, 2 variety collector.

See my want page: http://goccf.com/t/140440
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 Posted 02/15/2019  3:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add coop to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Any darker color works better. To white of a back ground usually cause cameras to adjust for something too bright. With using several BU coins, the images shows how a BU coin looks like with the one in the circle. Even on a scanner, it you place a bit of dark material over the coin (Coin on scanner first) that removes the excess white glare.

Richard S. Cooper
Some have asked about my images I use and I'm glad to say, you can now you can see the DVD in sections on youtube:
1. Intro, older coins, toned coins 2. Doubled dies 3. Die events, One of a kind errors 4. So called errors, Coin information 5. Coin information Types and Varieties, Overlays
Jefferson nickel doubled dies Wexler/Rebar complete listings

trail dies:http://www.traildies.com/
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