The Merriam Collection

Artifact Infotainment Department

About my Photography Page

Updated in 2019

(Larger font for older eyes, lol.)

I have had many people ask how I do the photography, so I thought I would take a few photos of my setup, as you can see it is fairly simple. I use a Canon powershot A 620. It comes with software so I can hook it up to my computer and see the image on my monitor before I take the photo. You can see the program's window on the left side of my monitor in the pictures below. I use the tripod and can take the photo with the click of the mouse, which is a great help when taking close up shots without the camera moving when I press the shutter release on the camera.
(Now I use a Sony A6000 with WiFi and an app for remote shooting from any PC.)

You can see I offset the legs of the tripod so the camera is over the table, I get good indirect sunlight that does great for showing the true color and flaking on the point.
(I now have a desk clamp-on arm for overhead shooting.)

I use a plain black felt background, it works well for most points, though black material and obsidian can be a problem sometimes,
mostly I just reset the contrast and it works.
(I have a blue background as well, but prefer black, sometimes putting darker items on glass helps it stand out better.
I also now use a small scale with a color bar on it to help the camera adjust to the proper color and lighting.)

 

For the profile, I use two notepads and slot the point in between them.
(You can use 2 decks of cards for smaller items, and books for larger artifacts.)

A side shot showing how the point sits between the pads.

Now I added the black felt background, I lay it down tight, then wiggle the point down between the pads.

Side shot.

Now for the translucent photos, as you can see, I use a small riker mount frame, and stack it on some DVD cases, CD cases work too, and by using several of these cases I can vary the height depending on the size of the point. In the top left corner you can see the camera window in the software I use to setup the shot.

(Newer software, Larger on screen image using open source program digiCamControl.)

Here is the light source, yep, just two little loupes with LED lights. They work surprising well,
and are easy to move around to show the best translucence of the points.
(I have several types of lights that I use now.)

An overhead shot showing the light positioning, I set them up so one is under the base and the other near the tip,
each point needs it's own fine tuning to get the most out of it.

So, that is it, for the most part... The majority of my photos are not manipulated, once the photos are done I just resize and post them.

For the trifold photos there is alot more work...

(Everything else is pretty much the same as it was 13 years ago when I first put this page up!)

First I use Paint Shop Pro 9, but most software will do the job.

(This is still my favorite software for this purpose. Somethings can't be improved.)

The first step is to rotate the point, it also tends to be the most time consuming part, each time the angle is slightly different so trial and error is the way I get it to line up.

Next I crop the photo as close to the point as possible, this helps to eliminate any imperfections in the background, lint, dust, etc. This also helps when it is tme to resize the photos so they are all the same size.

For resizing, I use the resize tool and line up the different views of the point by using the height adjustment with the pixel setting not the percentage, this gets it closer to the full size of the photo. Since I cropped the points close in the last step this helps make sure that the different views are the same size so everything lines up well.

There can be some distortion when integrating the profile shot, since the camera is so close to the point when it is photgraphed sometimes the flakes dont line up perfectly, since the point comes to a tip, one part may be in focus while the rest isn't, no way to get around that, but with a more expensive camera and a macro lens.

Once that is done, I just put the photos together in one picture and save it.

Now for the photo size and compression for the website...

What I do is set the dpi to 72, in the resize options. Most cameras use something like 180 dpi, which is half way between what it best for the internet, 72 dpi and for printing 300 dpi.

You can use 72 dpi or 96 dpi, both are fairly standard sizes, anything less and the pictures will pixilate, or look blocky, you can use some higher setting but there is no advatange to it; the file will be larger, more KB, and take longer to load. I also compress the images to 65%, different software uses different methods so for some it maybe a setting of 35, either way, make sure it is 1/3 of the way down from the highest quality. Anything below 65% and the image with look blocky and blurry.

So, that's it, all my secrets out in the open, now everyone can make great photos!

If you have any other questions please contact me, I have probably forgot a thing or two and I would be happy to provide more info.

Thanks for visiting,
Chris

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