General photo advice

It is a good idea to crop your pictures before posting them. Firstly, it saves a bit of storage space on IAA server. Secondly, cropping automatically enlarges your pics, which is great for seeing details.


And please always take several images from the same angle and only later select the best image. And make sure you are not getting too close to the item as the camera will not be able to focus.
I see way too many blurry images here.

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Sorry Vlad - I have to disagree. Cropping cannot enlarge a picture.

If I have an 8x6 and I crop it to 4x3 I have made the picture half the size. I have not changed the resolution. What I think you meant to say is that cropping focuses the viewer onto the item you wish to show them.

One problem I have seen with the forum software is it forces images to be displayed in landscape. I have to add white space to ensure that 12 o’clock in the picture is shown as 12 o’clock and not 3 o’clock.

The best way to photograph headstamps (the most often blurry and out of focus images shown on here) is to scan them or use the cheap USB microscopes from eBay. Either that, or set your camera on macro, place it on the table and place the cartridge on a riser. Focus, use the delay feature and you will get a clean, crisp picture.

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Mayhem, Vlad sure means that cropping is better than having an image with all the unused area around when the image is being downsized anyways. Like when an image has 100kb and the hs is taking only half the size of the available space in the image it is much worse than an image of same size but the hs filling the whole image.

Also smart phones are not good for headstamps…

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In addition, if an image is captured at 4000 x 4000 pixels, that is not necessary for online use. Save a new copy of it at a lower resolution, but keep the original (ALWAYS keep the original image!). Use the lower resolution on the forum.

Basic tips:

  • Take multiple pictures from multiple angles
  • Cell phone cameras aren’t the best, but will work
  • Use proper lighting
    • Cover bare lightbulbs with filters, copier paper can work (as long as the bulbs do not get too hot), this will help combat glare
  • Use a neutral background without patterns (Black or white also work and can help certain features stand out better)
  • Headstamps are very difficult to capture with a cell phone, try placing the cartridge on a flatbed scanner (this also helps for capturing multiple headstamps at one time!)
  • Save multiple copies of your photos (it’s always good to have a backup!), edit the best and save them as a new file

Simple photo editing software such as Paint.Net is not difficult to learn at all and will make it easier to crop, adjust, and resize images. A 4000x2250 image at 4,5 MB is a complete waste for a webforum in most cases and can easily be adjusted into a third the pixel size and a tenth of the file size.

Re: smartphone cameras, it vastly depends on the actual phone (I loathe the cameras on iPhones, newer Samsungs have decent cameras, but pretty much all the x30 and x50 Lumia series (with Zeiss lenses) and the newer Huaweis (with Leica lenses) take magnificent photos if the user manages to adjust more than “flash on/auto/off”. Manual adjustment of focus, brightness, exposure/ISO and light balance does not take very much time to learn on a newer phone with simple click-and-drag menus for adjustment.

The above image was taken with a Nokia Lumia 950.
As for headstamps… three minutes of adjustment (which then works for every headstamp), two minutes for each picture in
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Samsung S7.

The absolutely worst I see on here are dim, cloudy, blurry photographs under very warm yellow lightning, on a dark desk.
Natural lightning with a neutral background is the absolute best.



I agree on It is a FREE programme, and works great. Natural outdoor lighting is the best if there is no rain.

I keep getting linked to warren paint supplies?

Try using IrfanView, which is the best image viewer I ever saw + you can crop an image there in about 1 second if your fingers will allow for that.
In addition many other valuable functions (extremely easy to use) and it is all freeware.

4000dpi is maybe a bit excessive for image size but please do not reduce the size to death as we also see it here often enough.

Here is a link to free photo editing It is a freeware developed as an alternative to Microsoft’s Paint. Click on “download” right under the main name PAINT.NET, not the big green button.

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