A few days ago, I was scanning several old photographs from the museum’s collection, and I wasn’t happy with the quality of the copy. Many of the photos had surface level imperfections showing up in the scans. I decided to roam around the back office and find some tools to build my own photo box.
Working at a non-profit with a shoestring budget has taught me how to think outside of the box when situation calls for it. For me, it is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of my job. I started to think of what I needed as far as the “scan” was concerned. I have an iPhone 6, which has a decent camera. I needed a way to lay my phone completely flat on a surface, while still being able to capture the entire image below.
Rummaging through exhibit storage, I found the perfect solution; a clear exhibit case lid. I set it on its side with the open end facing me on the table. For a clearer background, I added a piece of black matte board.
I then placed the item in the box. For today’s purposes, I used a new book I needed to photograph for The Museum Store.
I placed my phone on top of the case, and centered it so the entire image was visible on my screen.
The book had a glossy finish to the cover, which was causing a lot of glare. I borrowed an umbrella from a co-worker and the glare was almost completely eliminated.
I looked a little goofy, huddled under the umbrella in my office, but the results speak for themselves.
This is the finished faux-scan photo. It isn’t perfect, but it will serve my purpose just fine.
I am pretty proud of my little photo box/ pseudo studio. I HAD to share this hack. I use bigger exhibit case lids for bigger artifacts, and I use different mattes in the background when needed.
It’s pretty amazing what you can accomplish when you have people around you to support your shenanigans and co-workers that are always prepared for rain 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!