Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I want to take photos of drawings on white paper, adjust the colours in the camera and then send the image and info directly to a printer company to have the image printed up. What camera do I need?

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It sounds like you need a scanner, not a camera. Also, given the time delays in getting images printed by a external company, why can't you process the images at least for stuff like white/black level on a computer first? –  Olin Lathrop Jan 4 '13 at 16:48
    
Can you describe the whole thing you're trying to accomplish in a little more depth? Why not use a scanner? What kind of color adjustments do you want (and do you want them to be automatic)? How does the printer company receive the image? –  mattdm Jan 4 '13 at 17:03
    
Indeed, a scanner is probably what you need... and many modern ones can also adjust colors, contrast, even add effects. This is however off-topic for photography and you may get more details elsewhere. –  Itai Jan 4 '13 at 17:16

1 Answer 1

Several people have commented that you probably should use a scanner rather than a camera. The reason for that is that scanners and cameras work differently and create different kinds of images. The lens of a camera tends to distort images a bit, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, it's not usually what you want when you're trying to reproduce art or documents. (Aside: Take a look at the work of Katinka Matson to see how a scanner can create something like, but not quite the same as, a photograph.) So, consider using a scanner.

On the other hand, if you do want to use a camera, here's what you'll need:

  • a camera
  • a computer
  • an internet connection

Most cameras, even point and shoot models, give you some control over such things as white balance and color tone. You usually use the white balance to compensate for the color of the light in the room. By adjusting the camera's white balance you should be able to make your white paper look white in the photo.

Next you'll upload the images to the computer and use some sort of software to manage the images. Photo management software ranges in price and complexity from free and simple (your camera will likely include some sort of software that'll work) to cheap and more capable (like iPhoto) to sophisticated and not quite so cheap (Adobe's Lightroom and Apple's Aperture). Start with whatever comes with your camera or computer and move up as necessary.

If you want your images printed as photos, on photographic paper, you may be able to do that right from your photo management program. For example, iPhoto makes it easy to select images, have them printed in the size of your choice, and get them mailed back to you. There are also a number of online services that let you upload the images through their web sites. If you want them printed as documents rather than photos (i.e. on other types of paper using some sort of xerography process), there are services (e.g. FedEx Office) for that too.

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