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New processing technique for small bronzes - what do you think?


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Recently, I've been irked that my coin photos haven't been so great. I use axial lighting with a black felt background and lit by a single Einstein monolight.

There are improvements I'm planning to the setup itself. The primary issue I've run into is the axial lighting glass is very finicky and a slight alteration can change the appearance significantly. I had planned to build a Lego contraption using gears to allow me to tilt it more exactly, but then my wife sold all my Legos and I have a TODO to replace them. I also intend to purchase a stage, but for now I hand hold the camera and just take a bunch of shots - then choose the one that's sharpest.

However, another frustrating thing is I felt I wasn't really getting the best colors. Recently, I experimented a bit, and I've started using the following post-processing steps in Lightroom.

  1. Bring up the exposure by about 40-50%
  2. Bump up the contrast to near 100%
  3. Bring down the highlights to cover anything that's blown out
  4. Lower the blacks by 25-30%
  5. Bring the obverse and reverse shots into Photoshop and separate the backgrounds.
  6. Run it through an OnOne filter to "juice it up" slightly

The following are some results. What do you think? Note: I just received the coins and haven't fully attributed them yet. Several have lighting issues, so I'm mostly interested in your opinions on the colors. My goal was to bring out the colors without making it look like they were collected near Chernobyl.




Naxos, Cyclades

Here you can see part of my lighting problem. I should have tinkered with it more but I had to get to work that day.






Unknown Odrysian King or City 'MN'



Paros, Cyclades



Airai, Ionia


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