Saturday, February 7, 2009

Photographing LP covers with a digital camera

In a recent post on my blog I described how I create LP cover scans using a scanner

You can also use a digital camera, this does not produce such a precise picture or one of such high resolution as the scanned image, however is it adequate for most front covers that contain bold images and little fine print.

It is easy to photograph the entire front cover in one operation, but there are points that need to be carefully watched.

1. The camera must be exactly lined up and perpendicular to the LP cover
2. The camera must be at least 32" (80cm) away from the cover being photographed.

Any miss-alignment in (1) will cause perspective distortion (tapered sides)
Any less than 80cms (2) and the picture will suffer barrel distortion (bulging)

3. Even lighting and no shadows is essential, NO flash unless bounced of a reflector
4. Lighting temperature should be near as possible 6500 (sunlight)

LP covers with a gloss sheen will produce all kinds of reflected images, yes even your face!!
diffused lighting is essential, I use my special adapted tripod in a room with a white ceiling
at which I shine a flood light. By using a tilt over extension arm on the tripod I can place the camera exactly over the centre of the cover sitting offset between two of the tripod legs.

Using a remote control is the best way to avoid shake and shadows from yourself, prefocus
the shot and set the zoom so the picture fills 3/4 frame before using the remote. When you get the set up right you need only basic editing to produce a nice square image, you can correct for contrast and brightness with most editors, some will allow perspective correction too if you didn't get the positioning exactly 90 degrees perpendicular and central.

I have posted this to Pauls blog because a reader from here asked me the question.
For more info and updates please checkout my blog:


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