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Please post your techniques for Pen Photography.


Equipment needed

  1. Digital Camera   Most cameras today are suitable for pen photography.  A suitable camera should be able to set a custom white balance.  Manual Mode is a plus as is manual focus.  Most all cameras have a Delay Timer, and you can use this feature to eliminate camera shake.
  2. Tripod Mount.
  3. Light Tent is a good investment.
  4. Practice! and practice some more.

How to photograph your work

Get familiar with your camera.  Photos taken with digital cameras cost nothing to take!  Experiment and take MANY photos.  See what works, and what does not.  Read the manual carefully.  Almost all camera companies post the manuals in PDF format on their website.  You can enlarge the pages for easy reading!  Read the manual with the camera in hand.

You should have a solid tripod to mount the camera and use the Delay Timer to eliminate camera shake. 

Keep a log of the settings used.  When taking photos, modify one setting at a time.  You will have to view the image on a computer monitor because most screens on the camera are useless for evaluating photo quality.

Tips and Tricks

What kind of tips and trick have you come up with in trying to photograph your work?

Use HDR (Bracketing) functions available on some cameras and software programs. To combine several images into one composite image.  This can combine exposures and make dark portions, middle exposure and high lights all stand out.

Free Image Editing Software

GIMP (external link)

Picassa (external link)

IRfranview (external link)

Size of an image file.

  • Dots-per-inch (DPI) measures the grain in the image.  For printed images you want to DPI of 200 (minimum) to 600 DPI.  For displaying photos on the web, 72 DPI is the standard and matches the display capabilities of most monitors.
  • Number of pixels in the photo (some programs may allow you to specify in centimeters or inches).  A good value for this is 800 to 1200 Pixels.
  • When you save a file in JPEG (JPG) format, you can apply a compression value to the file.  The less compression the clearer the image will be but the larger the file.  The more compression applied to the image you will see color variations and lines where the color changes.

Best Practices

Best practices ensure that your images look good and your photos are not accidentally over-written.

Keep an Original of your photos that are untouched.

You should keep the original of the image in a separate location and only work on a copy of the file.  You don't want to write over the image with a low-quality image and then later want to print the image only to find that the printed image isn't very clear.

When you edit the image in JPG format the image degrades because JPG is a "lossey: format.  Kind of like making a copy of a copy.  Every time you save and edit the image afresh the image will get more blurry, lines will become less distinct, some "artifacts" will appear on the image. 

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