How to Photograph Documents with a Digital Camera

This example is photographing a LP record album cover for the front cover of a CD/DVD jewel case.
The LP cover measures about 12 3/8 x 12 3/8 inches (31.43 cm square) which makes it too large for an A4 or Letter size scanner.

All photos are reduced from the original camera image or scanner for the web.

Maybe the most important requirement to make successful copies of documents is the detail of setting up the studio. 

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Diagram for setup

This is a scan of the album cover on an A4 scanner. This is the full size of the scanner. Notice the loss of the right side and some of the bottom of the album cover. The scan size is 8.5" x 11.64".

The document must be placed on a fixed holder such as a Music stand or a Display Easel. You can also fasten the document to a wall. The camera must be on a tripod to eliminate camera shake and to frame the subject correctly. To get square documents, the angle of the document and camera must be the same. The Music stand, which I bought at a Music Store, has an incline of 27 degrees, therefore the camera has to be angled 27 degrees to keep the image square. The incline of the stand was measured with a protractor. I made a wood wedge to calibrate the camera angle. Then set up the camera on a tripod with a small carpenters level and the wood wedge.

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Pa141389.jpg (32163 bytes)    Zoom on Bubble.
   Wedge is plumb.

Checking the music stand with the wedge using a level showing that  the wedge has the correct angle.

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Fuji2003_1016AH.JPG (40045 bytes) Check the bubble, I was hand-holding the camera. The image is tilted, not the level.

Wood wedge is 4" long X 2 1/2 " high. Top angle to bottom is 27 degrees. I cut the point off after cutting the angle..


Setting the camera angle for music stand copy.

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Overall view of the studio set for flash. Lights are at 45 degrees to the copy. The placement of the lights may be adjusted to eliminate glare on the subject.
The background is a bed sheet. The light set is a Professional Studio set model QC4 (discontinued).

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Image of LP record album made with the Flash setup. There is a little "fish eye" because of the zoom setting (wide) on the camera and also because I did not remove the LP from the jacket. The jacket is fat in the middle.
Camera has a Neutral Density ND .6 (2 stop) filter on camera lens to reduce the light intensity of the flash to the F-stop range of the camera. The blue on each side of the record album is construction paper. 

The record album is a Columbia CL 1111, about 1958.

Fuji2003_1016AN.JPG (648862 bytes)PA231403_Rot.jpg (78645 bytes)

Studio setup using clip-on lamps that you can buy at Wal-Mart or K-Mart or any hardware store.

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This image was photographed with 100 watt household tungsten light bulbs in clip-on fixtures. 
Camera WB is set for Tungsten Light. Camera zoom setting is for a "normal" focal length. This image is reduced for the web.

  The cropped image to use for CD/DVD 
labels or CD/DVD book insert.
The Photo editor I used for cropping is Photoshop Elements 2. No editing has been done to this image, other than cropping the blue to make a square image and removing skew. This image is reduced for the web.

P3071463_reduced.jpg (64894 bytes)

P3071463_Cropped_resize.jpg (190924 bytes)

This image was photographed with 100 watt household tungsten light bulbs in clip-on fixtures.
Camera WB is set for Tungsten Light.

 The cropped image to use for CD/DVD 
labels or CD/DVD book insert.
The Photo editor I used was Photoshop Elements 2.0

Undercover108_screenshot.jpg (43142 bytes)

Screen shot of UnderCover 1.08 with the cover ready to print.

Free Software for printing CD/DVD Book inserts and CD/DVD labels.

Example of a Book Insert print made with the above program. 
The free software will automatically fit the image to the CD cover dimensions.
For the CD/DVD insert, I used the original full size and cropped camera image.

The images of the CD insert is of the whole sheet (8.5x11 inches) of the printed CD insert and scanned at 100 dpi on a flatbed scanner.

This is a full size image.169KB (850 x 1100 Pixels)

This is a full size image.218KB (850 x 1100 Pixels)

CD_Cover_FrontBack.jpg (215321 bytes)

Neato_Front_Booklet_90.jpg (223595 bytes)

This Example is with the images not rotated.

This example shows the images rotated so that the image will be orientated correctly when you fold and insert into a CD/DVD case.

I use Fellows Neato Jewel Case Inserts and Fellowes Neato CD Labels. 


This page was last edited May 16, 2009