Artifacts with a Trademark, Seal, Signature or Hallmark

Type of Artifact


  • Bottles
  • Plates
  • Other


  1. Black or neutral grey background
  2. Artifact catalogue number
  3. Colour or white-grey-black scale
  4. Artifact placed straight
  5. Ensure that the catalogue number and scale can be excluded if necessary


  • Document the artifact as a whole.
  • Document the trademark (or signature, seal or hallmark) on the artifact. For this type of shot, and exceptionally, the artifact can be tipped over if necessary.
  • Use a digital camera capable of capturing a minimum of 3,000 pixels for the longest measurement (8 x 10, 300 ppi), in either RAW or TIFF.
  • Use a regular lens.
Colour photo of ceramic plate with floral decorative pattern and the image of a tiger, with catalogue number A-3978 on a grey background.
Colour photo showing the reverse side of a ceramic plate with the trademark in view, with catalogue number A-3978 on a white background.


In the Studio

  • At the beginning of each session with new lighting, adjust the camera's white balance and for reference purposes, photograph a Kodak Q-14 colour scale.
  • Import the image into image-processing software (e.g., Photoshop®) and adjust the "levels" on the colour scale with the points of reference as indicated in the general guidelines.
  • Save the data in ALV format, since this information will apply to all photos taken during the same photography session.

Taking the Picture

  • Place the colour scale (showing measurement) at the foot of the artifact. Save space on the lower right to inscribe the object's catalogue number.
  • Photograph the object two or three times: one or two views documenting the artifact as a whole, and one view of the seal, removing the scale if it would encroach on the detail being recorded.
Colour photo of ceramic vase with blue, white, and floral decorative patterning, with catalogue number 77-339 on a grey background.
Colour photo of the underside of a blue and white ceramic vase with the trademark in view, with catalogue number 77-339 on a grey background.

At the Computer - Image-Processing Software

  • Apply the ALV information to all images within the same studio session.
  • Works well for batch digitization and improves productivity, but does not offer optimal rendering of individual images.
  • Type the artifact's catalogue number in the lower right - in white if the background is black, and in black if the background is neutral grey (font: Arial, 40 pts.).
  • Flatten the image (i.e., flatten layers).
  • Convert in Adobe RGB 1998 profile, 8 bits per channel (total 24 bits).
  • Save the image as an uncompressed TIFF, named to standards established by the Corporation's Photo Archives.
  • Produce a JPEG version as described in the general guidelines.

Contact information for this web page

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