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    I want to document my collection photgraphiacally and was wondering what is the best method to capture both the obverse and reverse of a medal and order in one combined view?



    I scan rather than photograph (higher quality) and then combine the image in software. Currently using Photoshop and IrfanVue.


    Many P&S (point and shoot) digital cameras have a built-in feature to compose multi framed images (normally used for wide landscape shots, where one cannot contain the whole width of the vista in one image). I am sure this will be covered in camera’s manual.
    This can be very handy to you. Once camera is configured to perform this function – you can simply shoot two frames. First frame of the obverse, flip your medal (group) around on the second shot. After the first shot – camera will show a half-screen of the already captured obverse so it can be overlapped – ignore the overlapp and just get close to the edge of the first capture and shoot the reverse.
    You will end up with single image containing both sides.
    While I agree with Ed that scanning will be better quality – not everyone has a scanner and/or ability to edit images in post (software).
    It will definitely help if your camera is stationary (avoid hand holding), use the Macro (focus) setting (usually indicated by a small icon of a flower) and a timer shutter release to reduce the shake. Once you master the process – it would not take long to capture many photos in the session.
    Lighting is another issue but you can easily make do in a moderatly well lit house interior. Avoid flash since it may be difficult to control. If you find your shots have a reddish/yellowish tinge to it -adjust your in camera colour balance (sometimes called white balance) to ‘Incandescent’ (regular household light – ofen indicated by small icon of a light bulb). This will make your shots look very close to what your eyes see.
    Hope this helps, I’d be happy to know how you made out.
    Kris Johnston


    It is also important to get the obverse and reverse images the same size. This is very easy to do on a scanner, not so easy for the camera option (and POS has another meaning, perhaps relevant here?).

    I have just been working on the database, and in some cases we will have to be missing images of the reverse because the images available simply won’t work. This saddens me. It is one thing for the additional task of gluing the separate images together to pass over to the database manager, but when the sizes are off, there is nothing that can be done


    Certainly, scanner makes it considerably easier.
    It was a typo with the POS camera (shuld have been P&S of course), sorry.
    If one keeps the focus plane the same (distance and angle) – meaning fixed camera and background where object is placed – aspect ratio should remain same or very close.
    About your database – are you working with printed matter that cannot be scanned? There must be a way to achieve relatively decent results. If you have time – let me know some details – perhaps I can be of help.

    Kris Johnston


    There are probably lots of software that can do this. An easy and free one that I use is irfanview (www.irfanview.com).

    You can easily crop the photo to the right size, and then combine the front and back quickly into a single picture (panaroma).



    I use a grey card for the background of medal photographs (the card on the back of A4 refill pads), it acts like the 18% grey card used in film photography and balances the colour. I also take the photos by natural daylight on a slightly overcast day, it gives a nice diffused light with no harsh shadows.


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