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Coin Photography Questions

redraiderredraider Posts: 118 ✭✭✭✭
edited January 23, 2024 2:57PM in U.S. Coin Forum

I have been working with a new lens and lighting for photographing my coins. I have always had trouble with slabbed coins, especially proofs. Here are some recent photos from me playing around a little bit. I am really happy with these, especially given the very poor quality of Trueviews on a recent submission.

The Trueview of the 1858 makes the coin look too gold, mine dont show enough gold color. Anyone have suggestions on how to balance that out? Mine is definitely a much closer representation of the actual color though.

My photos

This one is still tricky for me, not used to working photos on proof coins.
The Trueview is not a good representation of this coin. The obverse is mostly brown, with some color, the reverse is mostly red. Haven't figured out how to quite capture the luster

My Photos:

if any photographers out there have tips, or resources they can share, I am all ears. Thanks!


  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,692 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 23, 2024 2:56PM

    I’m surprised you hadn’t received any replies. Perhaps change your thread title to something like
    “Coin photography questions” or “Help needed with coin photography”.?

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • redraiderredraider Posts: 118 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks....title changed....

    Here is round 2 with the flying eagle. I think these look better. Still looking for any tips and resources to help though.

  • cheezhedcheezhed Posts: 5,662 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Just looks a little overexposed.

    Many happy BST transactions
  • 1northcoin1northcoin Posts: 3,714 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 23, 2024 3:28PM

    Some of the more recent smart phones do an amazing job with photos. It is not just coins either. They compensate for lighting conditions on their own in a way that rivals what one can do with a SLR set to Auto. Of course using manual on the SLR and putting a lot of time into getting just the right lighting can probably do better but there is a point of diminishing returns.

    Many times I find the shot taken with my iPhone comes out better than one of the same subject taken with my Nikon SLR. I also like the in camera phone edit features that don't require hooking up a laptop and using an edit program.

  • redraiderredraider Posts: 118 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks....I will be due for a new smart phone in about 8 months and I have not been able to get good photos with my current iPhone....its really the lighting for me with them. My neighbor has the newest iPhone and he gets great images of coins on his, so will definitely look forward to that.

    Im happy with what I have been able to produce with just a few hours of tinkering around. Will slowly figure out how to get these even better.

    Here is another example.

  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A few things to consider:

    1- For color, make sure you use a custom white balance setting calibrated to your specific lighting setup. That may not solve a problem entirely (and it can depend on the coin) but it's a good start for removing any color casts that may affect your photos.

    2- In particular for a coin like your flying eagle cent which has relatively uniform color (as opposed to a colorfully toned piece with lots of varied hues) I'm personally not opposed to making adjustments in post-processing as long as they are done specifically to make the coin look more like it does in hand. Be careful and honest if you do this, and minor adjustments can make notable improvements.

    3- That 1875 is the kind of coin that can be very tough to photograph in plastic, especially in a holder with prongs. I'd play around and see if there's a way to directly light the coin (and possibly remove some glare in post-processing). That said, this is the kind of coin where TV should excel because they can shoot the coin raw, and no glare can make these pretty easy to light directly. This photo looks like many recent TVs I've seen for toned copper where the coin was illuminated as if it were a ho-hum Morgan dollar, and the result is a flat photo that fails to accurately show color or how lively the surfaces are. In fact, I've had quite a few instances where I thought the TV too poor to show in an eBay listing alongside my photos, and for how much easier these are to shoot raw (this is the exact kind of coin where I shouldn't be able to get a better shot of the slabbed coin than TV did raw), there's no real excuse for TVs that look like this. It's a disappointing trend.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research

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