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Card photography lighting

Brad

Active member
Aug 23, 2008
9,887
13
I’m struggling finding a situation I like after moving (too much overhead light, photos washed out, reflections, etc.) and saw an ad for a similar product on Instagram. Has anyone used a photo lighting box like this?
If so, does it work well for cards and not reflect the lighting on the case? Any recommendations appreciated.
 

K34PuckettAddict

Active member
May 28, 2009
533
128
I’ve been using a light box similar to that for my card images for the last year or so. I’m overall happy with the box and my process. I struggle with glare and reflections, especially in shiny cards and sometimes cards don’t come out in as bright a light as I would like. I’m still trying new things to improve my images though. Here’s a few that I’ve taken recently.
 

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WCTYSON

Well-known member
Nov 3, 2014
7,342
149
I’m struggling finding a situation I like after moving (too much overhead light, photos washed out, reflections, etc.) and saw an ad for a similar product on Instagram. Has anyone used a photo lighting box like this?
If so, does it work well for cards and not reflect the lighting on the case? Any recommendations appreciated.

Thanks for the suggestion. I have not tried one but I will look into it further. For the most part I have been happy using my phone to take pictures of my cards, placing an LED lamp above the card but not over the top of it directly. I hope that makes sense. I use a scanning app to crop and rotate the photo as needed.

I’ve been using a light box similar to that for my card images for the last year or so. I’m overall happy with the box and my process. I struggle with glare and reflections, especially in shiny cards and sometimes cards don’t come out in as bright a light as I would like. I’m still trying new things to improve my images though. Here’s a few that I’ve taken recently.

I think those look really good, show a lot of detail. Are you using a phone to take your photos or a digital camera?
 

K34PuckettAddict

Active member
May 28, 2009
533
128
Thanks, I’m taking pics with my phone using the CamScanner app. It’s much easier for me now to do it this way. I snap pics of front/back and send to my Google drive all from my phone. I grab them from Drive on my pc, and update my Microsoft Access database with the images/details of my new card(s).


Sent from my iPhone using Freedom Card Board mobile app
 

Brad

Active member
Aug 23, 2008
9,887
13
Thank you for the examples. It seems like it will fix my issues. I just use my iPhone 8 and no filter or the vivid filter, but it is not consistent like I would like.
 

smapdi

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
4,303
102
Your picture is broken but I got one of these a little while ago and it works pretty well.

I have an iphone 8, and I've never been super happy with the camera. My old iphone 4 took amazing pictures and I think the camera has regressed since then.
2010-Bowman-Chrome-Donaldson.JPG
Still have to work a little on refractors and such to cut glare. This photo contrasts refractor with base and as the refractor glare overloaded the camera. Sometimes really shiny ones pop rainbow flares a distracting amount but moving it around to different places in the box or blocking some of the lights with my hand helps. And there's probably a better way to snap cards with a silvery surface so it doesn't reflect my phone or fingers.
 

Brad

Active member
Aug 23, 2008
9,887
13
To update, I bought the one linked by smapdi above since it was cheaper on eBay than Amazon. Overall I am happy with it. I’ve only played with white and black backgrounds so far. I would recommend this if you need something simple and consistent. In case anyone is interested, here are some samples

photo I struggled with originally
0K10qXM.jpg


Front on with easel
FEZw3uZ.jpg

kXUwais.jpg


using hole at top
vMAr2CN.jpg

3gnYrzJ.jpg



shiny card example
BCmFT5w.jpg
 

smapdi

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
4,303
102
Yeah these LED things are pretty good. Sometimes the lights are a bit much and take a little trial and error on refractors or slabs. Sometimes I put my hand over some of the lights and that takes it down enough to shoot. Maybe a tissue or something would diffuse it better.
Heritage-Black-Ref-Jeter-PSA-9-1.jpg
And you still have the issue of seeing your reflection in chromes with a lot of light-colored backgrounds.
2011-Heritage-Black-Ref-Jeter-PSA-9-2.jpg
But the big issues you see in cellphone photos compared with scans is that people are scared of light, which gives the camera that much less information to work with, and they don't take an extra few seconds to get the right angle. These boxes help with both of those issues.

And I just now realized that mine has a circular hole in the top that I thought just let more light in but is really intended to just take a shot from the top down and helps alleviate the glare.
 

linuxabuser

Well-known member
Jan 16, 2011
2,603
154
I’ve tried and tried with my phone, and I’m never quite satisfied. A light box helps tremendously, but it still isn’t as consistent as a scanner. I invested $160 in an Epson Perfection V600 a few months ago since my old scanner broke.
 

Nathanblade

New member
May 28, 2021
1
0
I get how you feel with the lighting. I was trying to upload a photo of a shiny card the other day, and the result was not that great. I had to enlarge it eventually, and it was not an easy task to keep the quality high to not look like it's torn. The other issue I had to face was the background, as I could not find a white or single color space in the house. I ended using a background eraser tool online free to make it look more professional and official. It's helpful to have such tools online and without having to pay for them.
 
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Pinbreaker

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
9,999
126
Laguna Niguel, CA
I bought one last year and here are some of the cards..
 

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metallicalex777

Super Moderator
Aug 7, 2008
13,831
64
Seattle, Wa
I used to use a homemade lightbox similar to the one in the OP post. Now I just use an LED ring light that my wife uses for her photography when I need better lighting. What I suggest is find a couple/few different ways of taking photos depending on your card type.

Here is my Kyle Lewis Topps Chrome Black RC card. This card just didn't look good with a ton of light on it, and had too many reflections even in the lightbox. This picture was taken with just a corner lamp with a non LED bulb (probably 60 watts). The trick is to NOT crop your photos nor zoom in to your card. If you can do that, you should end up with a decently crystal clear image. It took a few attempts, but this was done with zero lightbox and zero LED lights, just a darkish room with a corner lamp and a close up iphone XR photo:

2020 Topps Chrome Black Kyle Lewis RC blue refractor /75:
UpgDdRfl.jpg


These were taken with the LED ring light with the cards and ball in a foam box:

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Lou Gehrig jersey with pinstripe:
uBDaB5Xl.jpg


2010 Topps Marque Felix Hernandez Museum Collection autograph /10:
ddSnHYFl.jpg
 

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