Lighting for Copying


Photographs , documents and flat art are often photographed. Copying usually refers to making a photograph of a flat, opaque image, while duplicating refers to photographing a transparent image. These two techniques require different lighting methods. Copying requires two identical light sources, and duplicating requires only one source. By using appropriate films, you can copy and duplicate images with either tungsten or flash sources. The single most important characteristic of light sources for copying and duplicating is even illumination. A light source that produces uneven intensity levels on the subject area always causes density differences in the final image. This kind of copy does not truly represent the original.
Copying-The purpose of copying is to reproduce the original with maximum fidelity of tone and detail. Photographs, printed material and flat art do not have a reflectivity range as long as the subject brightness range of an average three-dimensional subject. It is extremely important that the light reflected from the subject maximize the reflectivity range of the subject but not the surface texture of the material supporting that image.

Lighting for Copying

Studio Layout
Layout for studio setup.

Using Polarized lights

By using two identical light sources, one on each side of the copy material, you can distribute flat, uniform light across the entire area. Position the lights at a 45° angle between the subject plane and the lens axis. This minimizes surface texture and direct reflections of the light sources.

There is special lighting equipment available for copying that enhances the fidelity of reproduction of the range of tones in the original. Polarized light sources used with a polarizing filter over the camera lens can eliminate reflections from the surface of the copy material.

When using the Kodak PolaLights, you set the polarizing filters over the light sources with their "plane marks" set in a horizontal position. Look through the viewfinder and adjust the polarizing filter on the camera lens until reflections are minimized.

This helps reproduce copy materials with great clarity and contrast. Images with irregular surfaces and lustrous finishes, such as oil paintings, require this setup to obtain an acceptable copy.


Final result


Page last Edited: April 26, 2015