How to take a photograph

An example photographic setupThe photograph is an important element of the record. Much like the description, the image should be able to stand alone, and support the rest of the record at the same time. It needs to provide enough information for future researchers if the written element was lost.

There are 2 possible ways to produce an image of the object: 

  • Preferred method: Take a photo of the different sides of the object on the scale you can download, and cut and paste them into one image on the computer
  • Second Choice: Photograph each side of the object on the scale provided, and upload 3 photos. The FLO will then download them and edit into one


  1. Generally the object will need a photograph of its front, side and back. For a coin that is the obverse and reverse. For flat objects with no decoration on the reverse one side is fine. If in doubt search for similar objects on the database and see how they have been photographed.
  2. You need to place the object on a white background with a scale (at the back of this guide). Use plasticine or cut up erasers to support the object in place. Make sure all surfaces are an equal distance from the camera.
  3. Make sure the object is suitably lit. We need the maximum detail, so position the light above and slightly to the side of the object.
  4. The camera should be placed on a tripod or mount, so as to prevent any shaking while the photo is taken.
  5. The object should almost fill the view of the camera. Physically move the camera up or down to
    do this. DO NOT ZOOM IN, this will reduce the depth of field and blur the edges of the object.
    Remember there is a zoom function on the website if you want to get close to the object!
  6. Be careful that the camera is properly focused. Click the capture button!
  7. Repeat for each view.