Large Artifacts

Type of Artifact


  • Painting
  • Poster
  • Furniture
  • 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
  6. Ensure uniform lighting and background


  • Shoot the object from above, stabilizing the camera on a solid structure, such as scaffolding or tripod.
  • To avoid distortion of the object, the back of the digital camera must be level and precisely parallel (180┬░ angle) to the artifact.
  • A painting or piece of furniture can also be placed so that the corners are 90┬░ to the camera's viewfinder.
  • Additional views are acceptable. For views of details, since framing of the image is restricted, inclusion of a colour scale is not required.
  • 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.


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 measurements) at the foot of the artifact. Save space on the lower right to record the artifact's catalogue number.
  • Photograph twice with the scale: one front view and one back view and, if necessary, one or two views of details.
Colour photo of a wooden piece of furniture with drawers and cupboards, with catalogue number 78-409 on a grey background.
Front View
Colour photo of a wooden piece of furniture, viewed from behind, with catalogue number 78-409 on a grey background.
Back view

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.
  • With the help of the image-processing software, rework the photo by copying and expanding the black or neutral grey background to fill the canvas evenly.
    Initial view of a wooden canoe with partial neutral background.
    Initial view
    Final view of a wooden canoe with neutral grey background, with catalogue number III-X-141 on a grey background.
  • 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.

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