My father just signed up on Facebook last week. Now that he's looked at his friends' walls / pages posting old photographs, he wanted to do the same. I have been helping him to use the smartphone (and thus the FB account), but I am not good at all with using the camera feature, so I cannot help him there.

My question is, how to snap an old hard-copy photo using a smartphone that looks like it was scanned over a scanner (no shadow, no flash spots, no fingers at the edges etc)?

  1. No flash, use ambient light, near a window but no direct sun
  2. Don't try to be too close (shadows), you can crop later, if it's for Facebook you have megapixels to spare.
  3. You can hold down the photo by keeping it under a piece of (clean...) glass. But you have to be careful about reflections.
  4. The hard part is being parallel to the picture, you can make a makeshift copy stand using a wood (or very sturdy cardboard) box to which you remove one side. Make a hole at the top for the camera lens, paint the underside of the top in black (reflections)(something like this)

If you are using an Android phone, Google has an app called PhotoScan that will do what you want. Be aware that image quality is limited when "scanning" in this manner.

The traditional method of photographing a work is to use a copy stand. Light the work at 45-degree angles. You can use polarizing filters to cut down reflections. See What are the best practices for taking pictures of a canvas?

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