How to photograph illustrations in a book?

snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
edited February 2014 in General Discussions
I am 95% a bird photographer and I have no experience in studio work, I haven't even used a flash (almost). Now I am about to photograph illustrations in a book.
I think my 150/2.8 lense will work (it is the shortest I have), but I really don't know anything about how to light up the book pages. Do you have any recommendations?
Post edited by snakebunk on


  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Here is one idea for copying photos… a start

    The trick is to avoid reflections, light the image evenly, and of course capture at the highest quality with bracketing the exposure. I have copied photos using north light from a window and a large white reflector on the side of the original opposite the light source.
    Msmoto, mod
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    You will get superior results with a hundred dollar scanner.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited February 2014
    +1 jshickele
    The hardest part is getting the paper to lay flat and get the camera perfectly perpendicular to the paper, otherwise you will get distortion. A scanner solves both of these issues. Not to mention lighting without shadows, etc... Oh, and a D800 owner will want to argue this, but scanners have much higher resolution (esp as the paper gets larger)
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Yeah, some books it may be very difficult too. But a scanner is the first thing I would try.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
    Great input, thank you! I never thought of using a scanner. Also like the idea of using the sun light, but I guess it's hard to get similair light on all the photos (there are about 300 pages that are of interest).
  • ThomasHortonThomasHorton Posts: 323Member
    Checkout some of your local libraries (public, college, and corporate). There are specalized scanners specifically designed to scan books. More and more libraries have these. They have compensating image processing software that turns a curved page into a very nice flat image. I was shocked at how well they work.

    If you are interested in learning how to photograph stuff like that. I can highly recommend

    "Light Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting" by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua

    It is a textbook on how to light things while eliminating glare and other unwanted reflections.

    Good luck with this.
    Gear: Camera obscura with an optical device which transmits and refracts light.
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