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Some days ago, I found myself in the middle of a much-used road to recreate a photo of the same scene from over a hundred years ago. The result is quite alright, but far from perfect.

What techniques, tools and tricks do photographers use who create perfectly matching modern equivalents of old photos? I haven’t found any tutorial online, so I ask you how to find

  • the right spot,
  • the right focal length, and
  • the right angle


marked as duplicate by mattdm, Paul Cezanne, John Cavan Jun 9 '14 at 13:16

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    Does the question linked by @mhlester answer for you? The bodies of the question are basically the same. – John Cavan Jun 9 '14 at 3:44
  • I'm going to assume it does since you didn't respond and have been back since I asked. – John Cavan Jun 9 '14 at 13:17
  • @JohnCavan I tried to load the site from a mobile phone while being outdoors, that’s all. Neither unspecific estimations and calculations (how?), unspecific software recommendations (which software?) nor the proposal to walk around helps that much. As I said before: There is no tutorial for this kind of photography that is known to me. It looks like this will be the status quo for a while if a question is closed ASAP. Sorry, – lejonet Jun 9 '14 at 20:58
  • Okay, no worries, I wanted to trigger a response. So, the problem is, the questions do match. Can you refocus this question to cover ground that you think is missing? I'm happy to reopen if you're able to do that. – John Cavan Jun 9 '14 at 21:16

If you know certain facts about the image (certain lines are parallel, size & distance of certain objects - the moon for instance) you can estimate the focal length. The maths can be quite involved however.

A more practical solution would be to find a camera app for a phone or tablet that will allow an image to be superimposed over the live camera image so you can get it lined up automatically.

You can then work out the focal length by looking up the camera/tablet's sensor size, and use those settings on your main camera.

If it's a very old photo it might have been taken with a view camera with tilt and swing movements, so it could be hard to replicate it exactly! You might have to use a wider focal length and crop the image.

  • Thank you for your answer. How do I estimate the focal length? Which software to superimpose images is available? How do I work out the focal length? – lejonet Jun 9 '14 at 21:03

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