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Old May 19, 2003, 1:34 AM   #1
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Default Pictures of pictures

Has anyone had any success taking digital pics of old prints? If so, how did you do it (lighting, etc.)? I'd like to digitize my old photo albums and then use PS to enhance.

Any ideas?

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Old May 19, 2003, 4:21 AM   #2
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I use a flat scanner. Mine is an Epson 1250 Photo. Works great.
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Old May 19, 2003, 8:50 AM   #3
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Yasushi Kumon on the Nikon Magazine site has great insturctions.


I have to try to copy an early family photograph under glass. My mum refuses to let any of us open the frame. *sigh* So we will see how this succeeds.

Good luck. Susie
Nikon CP5700 etc, etc
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Old May 19, 2003, 1:43 PM   #4
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Long ago, I often re shoot old family pictures with my film SLR, 50 mm lens and a +3 close up , works great . The lighting is simply 2 fluorescent at 45 deg both side of the picture plane.
The big advantage of digicam over scanner is speed , flatbed scanner are rather slow :roll:
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Old May 22, 2003, 5:47 PM   #5
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Scanner is the ticket. Files can be huge but results better than anything else I've seen
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Old May 23, 2003, 3:22 AM   #6
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Hi: Like one of the previous replies from JBaily, I use an Epson 1250 Photo scanner. It is excellent and coupled with the Photshop Elements 2 that I am experimenting with, it is a great combination.
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Old May 24, 2003, 6:52 AM   #7
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A flatbed scanner is definitely the preferred way to do this.

But if you don't have one, you can take a picture of your picture.

Be sure to use a tripod and ensure that the subject photo is perpindicular to the camera to prevent distortion. In other words, if the photo is lying flat on a table, the camera should be positioined directly above it, shooting down at 90 degrees.

Can't get that angle on your tripod? Prop the photo with a heavy piece of cardboard to an angle that will allow EXACT PERPINDICULAR.

Beware of distortion shooting at wide angle. If you have a zoom lens, adjust it to the 35mm equivalent of, say, 50mm.

Avoid "hotspots" by using diffused light. Reflecting a desklamp onto a piece of white cardboard set to cast light on your subject photo will work better than just pointing the light at the photo.

Take your time. It may take a few tries to get the angle and lighting correct if you have to improvise with your equipment, lighting and set up.
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 5:45 AM   #8
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If you want good results a scanner is the way to go but if you run into a situation like I did at a graduation party when one of my wifes relatives brought tons of old family pictures. With no scanner available I just laid them on a flat surface and using available light started shooting with my CD1000. Of the 90 I took all were good enough to post on the web for the whole family to see. I use my camera to copy all kinds of things from pictures to magazine articles in the doctors office.
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 2:38 PM   #9
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I've taken quite a few "pictures of pictures" as you described, and, as mentioned above, you need to get the camera directly in front of the picture to avoid altering the perspective of the picture. This makes it almost impossible to use the flash on the camera for illumination because of the reflection off the print. The ideal situation would be to move the flash off camera via external flash, and provide enough diffusion to prevent the hot spots mentioned above. If you don't use flash, the color rendition of the resulting images may not be pleasing (especially with tungsten lighting). As it isn't always practical to come up with a better lighting source than your flash, and you may not have external flash capability, you can give this method a try and see what you think.

Prop the picture up on a chair against a flat black background (black felt works nicely). Vertical would be best, but tilted back slightly may help avert flash reflections. Move far away from the picture with your camera that the lens doesn't block the flash, and the flash doesn't wash out the picture. Use your zoom lens to back up between 2-3 feet from the picture, and experiment to see just how little angle is necessary to avoid seeing the reflection of the flash off the photograph. I know this sounds silly, but with my flash on top of the camera, I had best results inverting the camera to take the pictures. Trial and error will help you determine what works best for you. I found that glossy prints did better using this method, because the matte finish prints reflected little random dots of lights in some cases.

Well, there's my two cents' worth! I hope this helps-- it works in a pinch, and there's a trade-off between the rectangular pictures being slight distorted as trapezoids and the ability to better crop the pictures than the original photo. I've been able to digitize about one picture every 10 seconds this way, a lot faster and easier than using a scanner. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 9:20 PM   #10
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I once took a picture of a poster with my digital camera to get it digitized because it is much bigger than my scanner. I taped the poster horizontally to a vertical wall outside where the sunlight would illuminate it. The results were as good as if it was scanned.
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