Photo Pointers

Pointers For Photographing Your Haviland

Here is a short list of basic pointers for taking good digital photographs of Haviland and similar subject matters.

1. Go to the settings menu of your camera and select the highest resolution that your camera will allow.

2. Use a solid color background that contrasts with the edge of the pieces to be photographed. The reason for this is that the image of the object can be more easily extracted to be put on whatever color or style background is desired. Everyone has many solid color backgrounds available to them just hanging around the house that they do not realize will work – pillow cases, towels, sheets, tablecloths, posterboard, on the floor up against a wall. The readily available options are almost limitless.

3. Use good and sufficient lighting, preferably something more true color than incandescent, which makes everything yellow. Cool white fluorescent makes things blue. Warm white fluorescent makes things pink. The optimum bulbs to use are 5000k or 5500k compact fluorescents, which can be put into any directional desk lamps. Any other color temperatures are going in the wrong direction. With these bulbs white is white, not reddish or bluish or yellowish. More light is usually better than less light. Color can almost always be corrected using software. Try to avoid using a flash except when absolutely necessary. The glare will probably be a problem on any glazed pieces, especially on closeups.

4. Try to reduce glare as much as possible. This is done by moving the lighting (preferably two lights rather than one) farther away from the object and/or off to the side slightly. If using two lights, try to have them positioned the same distance from and angle to the piece. Look at the photo and take whatever steps are necessary to reduce glare. Small glare spots are correctable, although not a lot of fun to do. Big ones are very tough to work with. If you cannot take the photo without glare try to have the glare spots in a solid color part of the piece rather than in the important design. Small spots can be corrected with Photoshop, but it is much harder if the glare spots are in the patterns.

5. Frame the photo visually before you take the photo so that all of the image is in the photo with nothing cut off.  Photos of edge patterns are different. Leave enough room around the edges in the photo so that the photo can be cropped. A good rule to follow is to take the first photo as you have framed it and then take another photo of the same scene after zooming out a little. You will not know what might have gotten cut off in the first photo until you look at it on your computer, and it may then be too late to recreate the scene. It is easier to crop/remove than it is to add.

6. Try to take the photos with the object as vertical as possible and with the camera positioned straight on to the center of the object. Use a plate stand for plates and bowls, or prop the piece up against a can of soda or something heavy so that the piece remains stationary while taking the photo. Lens correction to vertical and horizontal perspectives can usually be made in Photoshop, but what is achievable is limited.

7. For good photos of backmarks, please prop the piece up so that it is close to vertical and shoot it as close to straight on as possible.

The most important things with photos are to:

1. Think about what you are trying to accomplish with the photo.

2. Visualize the scene in your mind.

3. Remove clutter where possible.

4. Take multiple photos of the scene from different distances and angles (if you can) until you capture what is closest to your goal.

This list should be an evolving document. Please email me at if you have anything that you would like to add.