Why Not Have a Go at Photographing your Finds?

Reach for the Camera!

What You Will Need

1 – The object (of course!)

2 – A camera/ phone camera and tripod/clamp (if you have one) Set the camera to the ‘Macro’ setting if it has one.

3 – A sheet of plain white paper

4 – A scale or ruler with millimetres and centimetres (preferably a white or clear one), failing that a 50p or 20p coin tails side up. Weighing scales would also be useful.

5 – A solid surface (table) located in bright area, daylight is fine but avoid direct sunlight.

6 – Ideally, you will need two light sources, one can be any desk lighting or daylight from a window, a second light source, opposite the first, such as a desk lamp, an LED torch, or just a white reflective surface, will help remove shadows



1 – Place the paper on the table/chair.

2 – If you can use daylight, position the second light or reflector, on the opposite side to reduce shadows. Do not use flash.

3 – Place the object on the white paper and adjust the lights to reduce the shadows on the paper.

4 – Position the scale within the frame of the camera, making sure that it does not block any part of the object.

5 – If you have a tripod or camera clamp set it up so that the camera is looking vertically down onto the object. Any angle will distort the shape of the object. If you are having to do handheld shots, the same applies.

6 – Take the photograph with the object at the centre of the frame, try to have it fill at least 75% of the frame and remember to ensure that the whole of the object is in view, along with a scale. (and the subject of the focus point). Avoid blocking your light sources. Dependent on your camera, you may use Optical zoom, but do not use ‘Digital Zoom’.

7 – Check that the picture you took is satisfactory, i.e. in focus and with any decoration visible, retake if not.

8 – Repeat the process as necessary – as a bare minimum you need images of both sides – this is enough for the likes of coins and tokens. If the object has depth (a brooch for example) take a picture of the profile i.e. the side and section i.e. end on. Scrunched up paper helps hold things in the right position, or if you have a piece of white foam, try using long pins to support the object for each view. Blue Tack should be avoided as it can damage the surface of the object.

9 – If you have weighing scales, please weigh the object, also, measure it with a ruler (length, width, thickness, or diameter if it is a coin) and include the details with the photograph.

10 – When you have taken the photographs, send them to your FLO, along with the date found, and the 8-10 digit findspot grid reference. Please do not crop or reduce the size/quality of the image. Wherever possible send the images as attachments and avoid imbedding them in the body of the email. Please only do one object (and all its different views) per email.


Hopefully, many of you will be able to manage with the above. If you struggle, take advantage of the skills of others or email/call the FLO.