I've been asked fairly frequently about my photography setup when I post. I decided to make this post to explain in detail how I take my pictures and what equipment I'm using! I hope this is helpful to some.
I use an IPhone 11 to photograph my coins using the base camera.
The most crucial part of my photography is the clip-on macro lens I use with my phone. It's Apexel brand and has been serving me for years:
The lens kit comes with multiple lenses of different varieties including this 12x macro that I pictured above. It comes with a second 12x lens that screws onto the first, creating a 24x lens for extreme close up images. I NEVER combine the two into the 24x. I find that the base 12x alone is perfect for my photography needs. In the image pictured below, you can see my primary 12x lens that is already screwed onto the clip and the second 12x lens that I never use on the left:
Once again, I only use the one base 12x lens. 24x is too close so I highly recommend removing the second 12x from the other and using just one. Close up images can be achieved easily with the lens just by zooming in on your phone camera. They come out like this:
Here is the Amazon
link to the closest example I can find to the one I bought years ago:https://www.amazon.com/APEXEL-Attac...2C146&sr=8-4
Second most important is my ottlite. This is the only light source I use for my photography. It has 3 different levels of light, and I use the first and second levels most frequently to prevent glare off of shiny coins and provide accurate color:
I angle the light above the coin but do not put it directly over the coin, more of a diagonal bend. If you try to photograph coins with this setup and put the light directly over the coin, all you will see is dark shadows. The light should hit about 3 inches directly above the coin you're trying to photograph and this will help avoid the shadow casted by your phone:
For my background I just use a standard cardboard 2x2 "Mylar". I find that the dull background is able to bring out very accurate color in photos and oddly enough it's the best background I have found thus far:
The 12x macro lens will be able to fully capture whole coin images for cents, dimes, and anything smaller than or equal to the size of a nickel. Quarters, halves, dollars, etc are all too large for the macro to capture in full size. Do not zoom in with your phone's camera when photographing full coin images with the macro lens, only zoom in with the lens for close ups.
Raw coin images come out like this (once cropped to enlarge the coin):
You could stop here, but I also take it a step further and use a circle crop app to fit the coins perfectly and size them all equally to each other. It eliminates the ugly background and barely affects image quality. I use an app called 'Round Photo' to fit my coin images into a black circle to provide a clean background. After fitting the raw images within the provided circle (and downsizing the image size with pixlr photo optimizer provided by CoinCommunity), they look like this:
Here is a link to the app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/round...id1403764917https://www.round-photo.com/
So that's it folks. My entire setup and process for photographing and cropping coin images. I hope this is clear and helpful to you all and if you have any questions about it, drop them below! I've been experimenting with different equipment and setups for a few years and I am content with this current setup. I'll do my best to check in on this post and respond where I can. Thank you for taking a look and for reading through what is undoubtedly my longest post.
Collector of U.S. Coins, Varieties, and Colonial Coinage