Taking photos of toned coins

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by *coins, May 24, 2018.

  1. *coins

    *coins Well-Known Member

    I've been experimenting with taking photos of toned coins now. I tried a 1981-p toned half dollar I had, and I struggled with getting the toning in the photo. Is there a trick to capture toning and still stay on top of a coin?
    Here is what I have...
    Pickin and Grinin likes this.
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  3. rmpsrpms

    rmpsrpms Lincoln Maniac

    You were experimenting with axial lighting earlier. Axial is the preferred technique for bringing out deep toning colors.
  4. *coins

    *coins Well-Known Member

    I'll have to try that. Thanks!
  5. YoloBagels

    YoloBagels Well-Known Member

    Many times it simply depends on the camera. A toned coin will come out perfectly on a $300+ camera, but my almost 8 year old phone cant capture toning at all.
  6. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Photos should always be taken from strait above for the true tones, this will also help with the definition of luster.
    ldhair likes this.
  7. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    Same here. Lens flat, parallel to the coin. Move the lighting to pick up the color.
    Two Dogs likes this.
  8. Dave M

    Dave M Francophiliac

    Not that this is necessarily the answer, but a little photo editing might get you a good step closer without needing to reshoot. You run into focus issues because shooting it the way you did doesn't get sharp focus on the whole coin. s-l1600.jpg

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Axial lighting is one way to do it, and for those who don't know what axial lighting is this explains it -

    And this single image of their's kind of says it all -


    But axial lighting is not the only way to capture toning on a coin. First, think about what you have to do to see toning on a coin with your eyes. To see the colors in the toning you usually have to tilt the coin in the light. And for a camera to see the colors the same thing has to happen. In simplest terms, it's a matter of angles. And that's what axial lighting does for you - it creates angles.

    But you can do the same thing simply by positioning your lights correctly. And by using the right kind of lights. And the right kind of lights is important because different kind of light will produce different colors. And some will produce little color at all. And you also need to remember that each angle will produce, or not produce, different colors. So, some experimentation is needed for the camera to capture the colors you want to capture.

    As an example of what I'm talking about here are 2 sets of pictures of the same coin, taken only minutes apart, with no changes made to the settings or position of the camera, and no changes made to the position of the coin. The only thing that changed, and then only slightly, was the angle of the 2 lights I used.

    1911_Proof_half_crown_obv 1.jpg 1911_Proof_half_crown_rev 1.jpg

    1911_Proof_half_crown_obv.jpg 1911_Proof_half_crown_rev.jpg

    Quite a difference isn't it :)
  10. Charlie Cliques

    Charlie Cliques Active Member

    I'm going to try this later!! So glad I read this post :)
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