Reflective Artifacts

Type of Artifact

Examples:

  • Glass object
  • Mirror
  • Ceramic
  • Silver

Notes:

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

Mandatory

  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

Procedures

  • 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.

Recommendations

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
CD2004-00269-D2004-00376
With the scale
Steel tankard with closed lid and 2002.125.246
CD2004-00269-D2004-00375
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.

Contact information for this web page

This resource was published by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). For comments or questions regarding this content, please contact CHIN directly. To find other online resources for museum professionals, visit the CHIN homepage or the Museology and conservation topic page on Canada.ca.

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