Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

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Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dave8472 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:50 am

Hi all, this is a simple photo taking guide for smart phones. It is just for new users with no enhanced gear etc. ::g

Firstly I don’t do Youtube, so no point subscribing to my channel, this is just where I dump the odd video for random things once every few years x;

It was also done for my detecting club when I was the finds officer, so sorry about the references to additional work on the pictures that I was referring to for club nights etc.

I use a DSLR myself, but many don’t have these.

Hope it is of use to someone to take a simple no frills picture. Only thing you need to do is crop the picture down to size, lots of guides about on how to do that…

PS turn the sound up and click HD ::g

r;[ Don’t forget to add your scale next to the find l;/



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Re: Simple photo taking tips on a smartphone

Post by krip2454 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:05 pm

Very useful video that Dave. Many thanks for that. Have also posted it on my club Facebook page. ::g
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Re: Simple photo taking tips on a smartphone

Post by Doyoudigitman » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:48 pm

Great info thanks for that Dave ::g

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Junior » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:01 am

Carnt get any volume on my phone .... phone media fully up ...and tried speaker on vid screen on/ off....nowt ::g

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Bors » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:28 am

A Very handy & informative Video . ::g

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dave8472 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:41 am

Junior wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:01 am
Carnt get any volume on my phone .... phone media fully up ...and tried speaker on vid screen on/ off....nowt ::g
I’ve just tried it on my iPhone and it’s all ok. Might be worth trying it direct via the YouTube app

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Kritika » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:26 pm

Hi Dave8472

I was taught to do this with an IPhone and Mug by a coin dealer many years ago, and I have been doing it this way for years, with perfect pictures every time.

But may I respectfully point out that in you Video you have missed a vital Step that completely avoids having to crop the "In focus" photo later.

Step 1. put coin on the wood table in centre of shot (Same as you did)

Step 2. Pinch Zoom with your two fingers on the screen and zoom in on the coin to make the coin the final size you want it to look in the photo. You may need to nudge the coin slightly so its exactly in the centre of the shot (Unfortunately this is the vital zoom stage that you missed in your Video)

Step 3. Tap the screen in the centre of the coin and the camera will automatically focus on the coin perfectly and adjust lighting (Same as you did)

Step 4. Take the photo (Same as you did)

Try it, and you will see the photos are crystal sharp and you will have no need to zoom in and crop afterwards as the coin is already the right size in the photo.

I hope you don't mind me pointing this out, but its a pretty vita and handy step.
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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dave8472 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:26 am

I’m happy for any tips and suggestions that helps members out, ::g

It was just something I quickly knocked up for a club member who was struggling to get a good clear picture. I used to do the cropping after they posted me the picture. They weren’t very good with tech and so I kept it as simple as possible.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Pete E » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:02 am

Hi Dave,

Great video! I was doing something similar by using a couple of tall glasses to support the phone, but this is even easier lol...

Any suggestions with regards getting a photo with white back ground to come out decent?

The reason I ask is that my gridded scale is on white paper, and I've noticed it causes the same issues you mention in the video...

Regards,

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dave8472 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:35 pm

Thanks Peter, I’ve given up trying to do it from the camera side of things and do all the tweeks in paint shop pro.

Firstly I photo on glass, see my advanced photo thread :

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=30171

Basically small tweeks to mainly contrast and brightness will increase the background to a more white appearance. I then use the cut command to remove the bulk of the “off white” and the fill command to replace with white, and have that blend the coin etc. It is easy with anything dark like copper, much harder with silver. For the later I use things like draw and spray to remove anything.

To sum up, it’s all a bit trial and error, good luck ::g

PS with my PAS records I actually add the scale on afterwards, it does require some maths skills to work out the scale correctly.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Oxgirl36 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:21 pm

Pete E wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:02 am
Hi Dave,

Great video! I was doing something similar by using a couple of tall glasses to support the phone, but this is even easier lol...

Any suggestions with regards getting a photo with white back ground to come out decent?

The reason I ask is that my gridded scale is on white paper, and I've noticed it causes the same issues you mention in the video...

Regards,

Peter
Dave has a lot more patience than I have.

For those who want the easy option buy this item to give a proper background for photographing items. I use this one .... https://www.pasthorizonstools.com/Credi ... p/bwcc.htm

No glare, perfect every time ::g And with scale :D
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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:07 pm

Pete E wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:02 am
Hi Dave,

Great video! I was doing something similar by using a couple of tall glasses to support the phone, but this is even easier lol...

Any suggestions with regards getting a photo with white back ground to come out decent?

The reason I ask is that my gridded scale is on white paper, and I've noticed it causes the same issues you mention in the video...

Regards,

Peter
One tip to get a better exposure on white paper is as Kritika has mentioned to pinch zoom to fill the screen with the item. The phone will expose for the item rather than the item. Additionally you can use pieces if black/coloured card to cover the surplus white area and that may well improve the exposure. All you then need to do is crop out the black/coloured card leaving only then white area surrounding the item.

Careful pinch zoom is usually better than un-zoomed then cropped as you are left with more pixels in the image.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:42 pm

Dave8472 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:35 pm
Thanks Peter, I’ve given up trying to do it from the camera side of things and do all the tweeks in paint shop pro.

Firstly I photo on glass, see my advanced photo thread :

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=30171

Basically small tweeks to mainly contrast and brightness will increase the background to a more white appearance. I then use the cut command to remove the bulk of the “off white” and the fill command to replace with white, and have that blend the coin etc. It is easy with anything dark like copper, much harder with silver. For the later I use things like draw and spray to remove anything.

To sum up, it’s all a bit trial and error, good luck ::g

PS with my PAS records I actually add the scale on afterwards, it does require some maths skills to work out the scale correctly.

Dave ):=
I have just checked out you link to the 2012 thread, some good info. I personally use RAW files & Photoshop CC which I find excellent for editing. I have to say using RAW files and your own post processing usually gives far better punchier photos than in-camera processing. You really should try it although not really necessary for recording finds.

I tend to use PNG rather than jpg as jpg is very lossy, also with PNG you can save with a transparent background or have several background layers one of which may suit the item better.

I have various camera stands/tripods with Arca Swiss QR for quick interchangeability plus a microscope camera which zooms in so far I need to stitch something like 25 photos just to cover a single hammered penny, gives unreal detailed close up images.

This is taking things to the extreme for MD but I enjoy photography so combining both is good fun.

As for adding scale I have several photoshop files or the scale ruler which a add & when processing, takes maybe 20 seconds.

I enjoyed you tutorials, thanks for sharing them.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dave8472 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:48 pm

I tend to use PNG rather than jpg as jpg is very lossy, also with PNG you can save with a transparent background or have several background layers one of which may suit the item better.
Yep 100% agree, since my earlier posts I have also been using PNG, its a great format, and as you say does transparency so much better than the restrictions on using GIF's, I still use JPG's at 0% compression for my web site stuff, as I haven't found the time to swap formats due to the large amount of pictures involved ::g

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:00 pm

Dave8472 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:48 pm
I tend to use PNG rather than jpg as jpg is very lossy, also with PNG you can save with a transparent background or have several background layers one of which may suit the item better.
Yep 100% agree, since my earlier posts I have also been using PNG, its a great format, and as you say does transparency so much better than the restrictions on using GIF's, I still use JPG's at 0% compression for my web site stuff, as I haven't found the time to swap formats due to the large amount of pictures involved ::g

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Photoshop can batch convert from/to any format but you won't gain anything in detail as the jpgs will have lost it already even at minimum compression. Photoshop CC is ongoing monthly payments for always up to date software. Gimp may also do batch convert and that's free and very good.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dave8472 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:04 pm

I've got some of those little rulers Cath, handy out in the field to ::g

I do my scales all via HTML using little pictures. it allows me to do both PAS and web site ones ::g

There is a technical issue that I have to do the PAS ones with the scale at the top, but my FLO doesn't mind and I like to be different or awkward depending on ones view :))
PS the scale isn't right on that second picture just in case someone spots it :))
001.jpg
002.jpg

PS to DN, yes I know about batch conversion, but changing HTML code for over a 1500 JPG's would kill me lol

Made up by lots of these
003.jpg
Last picture as I have used my 4 up for today rl;
004.jpg

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by WVAM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:19 am

It's a great video as it costs people nothing and produces good pictures - well done. A couple of additions for folks not in to photography and imaging:

As said, pinch fill the frame first - in the camera app turn on HDR - set to auto and then tap and hold the screen in the centre of the coin. This will give the focus lock and exposure lock. Your white background will stay white and the coin correctly exposed.

Second - try a taller cup or pint glass for more 3D objects. Depth of field decreases the closer you get. The attached pictures from an iPhone6 are taken at the closest (nearest) focus (pinch fill the frame and focussed either at the front edge or far edge) and at 20 cm from the coin, again, pinch fill the frame. The coin is 3cm in diameter and stood almost vertical to show depth of field effects when you get too close. 3cm would be about the diameter of a small bell. Working at the closest focus distance really exposes the problem of depth of field so worth moving back a bit as being too close doesn't really gain you anything.

Your wood background works the same as a brown envelope as it approximates to a 'grey card', but not really necessary with iPhone exposure tip above.

Well done,

Chris
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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:23 pm

WVAM wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:19 am

Second - try a taller cup or pint glass for more 3D objects. Depth of field decreases the closer you get. The attached pictures from an iPhone6 are taken at the closest (nearest) focus (pinch fill the frame and focussed either at the front edge or far edge) and at 20 cm from the coin, again, pinch fill the frame. The coin is 3cm in diameter and stood almost vertical to show depth of field effects when you get too close. 3cm would be about the diameter of a small bell. Working at the closest focus distance really exposes the problem of depth of field so worth moving back a bit as being too close doesn't really gain you anything.

Your wood background works the same as a brown envelope as it approximates to a 'grey card', but not really necessary with iPhone exposure tip above.

Chris
For those with photoshop (other software may work) you could take 2 or more photos taken from the same distance & zoom level (easier with a DSLR) and focus stack to overcome the limited depth of field.

A tip for use with some phones. Auto-rotate often means photos can end up being uploaded turned 90 degrees to what you expected (ie taken holding phone landscape but photo uploads portrait. If that happens with your phone then try holding the phone in the orientation you what BEFORE starting the camera app. (or alter the auto-rotate setting if you can find it).

Far better to get things right 'in camera' rather than in software afterwards as has been mentioned previously.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Bors » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:43 pm

Outstanding close-ups WVAM, I`m impressed. ::g
May I ask what were they taken with ?

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by WVAM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:37 pm

Bors wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:43 pm
Outstanding close-ups WVAM, I`m impressed. ::g
May I ask what were they taken with ?
Of course, and thank you - iPhone 6S. Nothing special - which is really the idea following on from Dave8472's original post.
Some folk on here struggle with pictures. If you are used to working with cameras and image software, as many are, then getting good pictures is second nature and you already know the limitations you are going to hit. As a result you tend to have better equipment = money. This was really just an add-on to Dave's post where something simple can make a difference. The tendency is to try and get close whereas just moving a bit further away improves the depth of field by quite a lot.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by WVAM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:54 pm

Dangerous Norman wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:23 pm

For those with photoshop (other software may work) you could take 2 or more photos taken from the same distance & zoom level (easier with a DSLR) and focus stack to overcome the limited depth of field.
Completely agree DN and focus stacking produces some fantastic results - if folk can they should try it. Some other folks have a limited budget or simply don't know about light and cameras etc. so I think with your knowledge and skill, combined with others on here, we can direct them to the simple, and importantly, free things they can do to improve their pictures and record keeping. If nothing else it will make Allectus a happy man! That's why I liked Dave8472's video as just about everyone has a camera phone and a coffee cup. I've just added a straight pint glass (other tall receptacles are available) to help with the next stage.
There was another post recently about building a light box from a large plastic tub (I think) to give more uniform lighting; again, the sort of help that will benefit lots of people.

Any "free" top tips will benefit lots of people on the forum ::g

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:32 pm

If all I had was a camera phone I wouldn't bother taken photos. Nowt wrong with camera phones, I just can't keep them still so all my fault. On flea bay you can get small led lightboxes for under a tenner, flimsy but they give pretty good results. Those with bottom illumination could well be better at times but not tried them yet.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:48 pm

I have to admit I've never tried resting the phone on a cup as I do tend to take the highest definition image in raw. This means at times several images are stitched and this can result in images file size exceeding 50 MB (40-45 megapixel) and on occasions even bigger. Those sort of sizes are unnecessary as it's unlikely ever to be viewed at that definition.

One day I'll try using a cup, after drinking the coffee first.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by WVAM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:50 pm

Dangerous Norman wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:32 pm
Nowt wrong with camera phones, I just can't keep them still so all my fault.
Have a go - Dave8472's patented coffee cup, white background, HDR on, self timer so it stays still. Not perfect but not bad for starters.
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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Bors » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:02 pm

Well,can you explain to a photography Dummy what " focus stacking " is? It's the first I`ve ever heard of it. x;

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:03 pm

Bors wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:02 pm
Well,can you explain to a photography Dummy what " focus stacking " is? It's the first I've ever heard of it. x;
You take several photos of the item only adjusting the focus slightly between shots so you have a series of images where a different part of the item is in perfect focus (see the coin on edge in WVAM's earlier comment). Then software (in my case Photoshop) will select the sharpest focus points from all the images and blend then it to one with perfect focus from front to back. Mainly used on close ups.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:09 pm

Bors wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:02 pm
Well,can you explain to a photography Dummy what " focus stacking " is? It's the first I`ve ever heard of it. x;
In the example of the coin it would blend the right side of photo 1 with the left side of photo 2 so the coin would all be in focus. Ideally a third photo with the centre portion in perfect focus would give better results and the best bits from both middles would be blended together.

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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:18 pm

This is the image stacked, as you can see both front and rear edges are in focus but the middle is fuzzy. A third image focused on the eagle's chest in sharp focus and the coin would have been sharp front to rear.
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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by Dangerous Norman » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:24 pm

With the background erased (quick and dirty).


You can see along the bottom edge where the focus is iffy, This is either the camera or the coin has moved slightly between shots (or zoom level may have altered). The whole image would have been much better if everything had been kept perfectly still ofther the the focus point.

Hope that explains it.

If not read this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_stacking
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Re: Simple Photo Tips – Smartphone

Post by WVAM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:36 pm

Bors, don't be too critical of DN's composite picture. If he had the coin and took the pictures with stacking in mind the whole coin would have been pin sharp from edge to edge. It's a great technique and you would be hard pushed to beat the end results but it does have a couple of extra requirements.

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