Reflective Artifacts

Type of Artifact


  • Glass object
  • Mirror
  • Ceramic
  • Silver


  • Reduce surface reflections on the artifact as much as possible.


  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


  • The artifact must be photographed under a white dome which filters the light equally and spreads it uniformly.
  • Care should be taken to avoid seeing the photographer's reflection on the artifact.
  • Take a first image with a colour scale and a second without a scale* so that it doesn't reflect on the artifact.
  • To be determined by the photographer. The best view should be the one without a scale.
  • 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 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 record the object's catalogue number.
  • Photograph the object twice: once with the scale, and once without, so that the scale doesn't reflect onto the object.
Steel tankard with open lid and a 10 cm colour scale and 2002.125.246
With the scale
Steel tankard with closed lid and 2002.125.246
Without the scale

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.

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