Can you give me advice on how to get a good resolution for taking picture of metal surfaces? I want to take a picture displaying scratches on the surface of metal.

My project description:

Optimisation of both the surface imaging and visual wear assessment of the metallic and polymer components of failed knee prostheses. Artificial joints that have failed in the body are analysed to assess the wear that has occurred. The macroscopic damage on failed knee replacements will give supportive evidence of the amount and type of wear that has taken place during their operative life. Photographs of such surfaces are used in an attempt to illustrate this macroscopic damage. However, reflectivity of the joint surfaces makes it difficult to produce a good image that displays the surface damage well. The aim of this project is to provide a good, visual representation of the macroscopic wear that has occurred.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sharing your research helps everyone - what prior art have you found in the field (since it should be a well studied problem in the field of materials science) and what aspect(s) are you hoping to improve on? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2015 at 17:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ pick up a copy of 'light science magic'. there is a whole chapter on how to photograph different types of metallic surfaces. photographing metal, or product photgraphy isnt my thing so it wasnt a chapter i read with any passion, so my memory wont be any help to you. but LSM is the bible for photographic lighting. \$\endgroup\$
    – user74091
    Mar 15, 2015 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


One suggestion is to get down at the level of the surface and taking a picture along the surface, and not from above. Getting down at the same level, photographing from the side, allows for more contrast.

I would also suggest playing with an external flash set to the side of the camera, maybe at 45° angle to add shadows which would also enhance the scratches.


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