Photographing your Antiques Guide
We have included a few photography tips broken down into the more common categories to help make both your job and ours easier.
We really need a picture of the complete object as a whole as well as additional images of any areas that have marks, stamps or any damage.
Below are a few category specific pointers to bear in mind:
We will need a close up of the decoration and any damage.
A close up of any signatures, stamps and marks, which are usually to be found upon the base of the object however, signatures are often found within or close to any painted decoration.
It is enormously useful for us to have a close up of any decoration.
It is essential that we have a good close up of any marks on silver items. Such marks will usually be found upon the objects base, though if they are not immediately obvious it is well worth checking any decorated areas.
Because of the reflective nature of polished silver we would absolutely recommend that you do not use flash photography, and that you position the item to be photographed on a white background in a room preferably with white walls away from the glare of direct light sources.
When photographing hallmarks set the camera to macro mode and if possible set the camera on its own and use a timer.
If the hallmarks prove somewhat stubborn in being properly photographed, a scanned or photocopied image may be the route to success.
We will need good close up shots of the detail of the picture and any signatures and stamps to assist us in our attribution and valuation.
Sometimes galleries or auction houses will place stickers, stamps or write in a temporary manner on the back of the picture or its frame. An image of such will be very helpful for us.
When photographing books please include a photograph of the front cover, the front page and a close up of any written dedications.
Is the wine Vintage or non vintage? If the wine has been grown and harvested in a single year, the year of vintage should be displayed upon the label.
Sometimes the manner in which the details relating to the wines' manufacturer may appear unclear, or photograph badly due to the curvature of the bottle. It is a good idea to type down all the details given on the bottle so to avoid any lack of clarity.
We also would like to know where the wine has been stored, its quantity and if still boxed.
To get the best results when photographing jewellery it is a good idea to use a soft (diffuse) light source, and a manual focus lens. However if a manual focus lens is unavailable, the “spot focus” mode with a digital camera is the next best thing.
Fine stringed instruments
A close up of shot of the grain of the wood is most helpful to us. This can often be ruined by the use of flash photography which is reflected by the instruments varnish.
Many toys may come as part of a group. Games may be composed from many small component parts. Please present your items upon a clearly distinguishable, and differently coloured uncluttered background so that we can clearly identify what we are looking at.
Quality metal ware will usually be stamped and have a moulded signature, which will be easier to photograph when set at an angle.
Note: It is critically important with antique bronze not to polish the piece. The colour that antique bronze achieves over time is known as patination. If the patina is polished off a valuable piece, unfortunately so will a lot of the value. So please do not polish any non silver metal items before sending photographs.
If the piece been stamped, marked or labelled, it will be extremely useful to have photographs of these details.
Close up shots of the construction of the furniture are extremely useful to us. Images such as close ups of dovetail joints and details are what we really need.
For best results when photographing Antique furniture we recommend that the images are taken in natural daylight.
And remember as a general rule, if in doubt its better to photograph it!