How to Photograph Coins | Macro Photography Tutorial

Hi guys i’m Ben from adaptalux and
today we’re doing another macro photography tutorial this time on coins
We’ve got a few really cool ones to show you so let’s get started So coins, quite a popular
macro photography subject obviously most people have them home if you don’t have
them in your home then you can find them easily I’ve got well, a strange
amount of commemorative five-pound coins in my home and they’re really
interesting they’ve got some really cool designs and things on them but that’s
not what we’re shooting today, today I’ve got something special I’ve gone online and
found this company called dead on paper you can just about to see their logo there
and these guys are a Kickstarter company and they make custom coins with really
really cool designs on them and now they’re not necessarily the same size as
a real coin they’re not made to resemble actual coins like this one’s a 1 cent
but you can obviously see it’s quite a lot larger than it should be
but these are gonna be really interesting to shoot and I want to get
really close in and see some of these designs up close with the macro lens
I’ll put a link in the description to the exact coins I’m shooting with today
in case you want to have a look at the exact same ones but you can use any
coins you’ve got lying around that you find interesting like this 1996 World
Cup commemorative coin it just doesn’t have the same level of detail as as the
ones that I’ve got from dead on paper I’ll also put in the description a list
of all of the equipment that I’m using today just a quick overview, ive got a D5600
and I’ll be putting the 90mm macro lens on there to begin with but that
might change depending on how close in I want to get we’ll be using the adaptalux studio for lighting and I’ll do a couple of different lighting setups to
to get some interesting results and we’ll be shooting on a novaflex tripod
I’m also going to be making use of an iPad and I’ll show you exactly how we’re
going to use this in just a little while first I’m gonna set up okay so the first shot that I’m going
for today is shot from the side and the way that we’re going to do that is
obviously the camera is set up off to the side there we’ve got our lighting
over here in the form of the adaptalux studio and were going to be using it a couple
of different arms and then we have the iPad in the middle here and what I’m
using that for is basically as a reflective surface if you look across
it from an angle which you can kind of see here from the angle that this camera
setup at and you can see that is it’s making a reflection you can see my hand
reflecting there and you can see that the coin is gonna reflect as well and
the lower down that you get the more across your shooting the the more
apparent that reflection is gonna be and the less obvious it’s gonna be that
there’s an iPad and that there’s smudges all over it we’re going to be putting
the coin up on its edge so it’s important to get the iPad or whatever
you’re using it well you can use a phone screen you can use any other kind of
screen clear glass sometimes works if you’ve got something dark underneath it
and it’s not letting any light through and black perspex as well or acrylic and
white acrylic as well if you want to shoot on a white surface that’s fine too
but the important part is to get it level because otherwise the the coin is
gonna try and roll off when you when you set it down on its edge so set up on
lighting and I’ve got the adaptalux studio behind our subject setup over here
I’m just going to pop in a couple of white lighting arms to begin with
because I want this shot to be quite representative of what the subject
actually looks like so I don’t want to be adding any colors or any strange
effects or anything just yet because I want the coin to look like the coin
actually looks in real life so I’m just going to pop
two white arms on here and I’m going to diffuse them just by clicking
the diffusers on there and I’m going to try and bring those around
the side of the coin which will be set on the edge like this and that should
get us our first shot so the coins balanced and I’ve just
turned off the studio lights so that we’ve not got any light pollution
falling on the coin outside of what we want here from the adaptalux studio
now you can actually see that the studio is just a little bit visible in the
background there so what I’ve got here is just a black a piece of material
it’s just gonna sit at the back here and it should stop any highlights being
picked up in the background from any stray light that’s just coming back here
rather than on the coin itself soon as I turn the main lights off I’ve turned the
back on just so they were not set here talking in in the dark we’re just a
quick comment on the settings that we’re using so I’m on ISO 800 ive got an aperture of
f11 on a shutter speed of 1/40th and that’s just about enough to really bring
out the shadows and the highlights on the coin when they’re lit from the sides
like this with the white diffusers on I’m gonna try another couple of bits
just to see if we can add a little bit more visual interest to a shot like this
even though I’m pretty happy with this one the other side of the coin then what
I’ve done here is I’ve still got the two main lights at the front two white
diffused lights but I’ve brought the adaptalux up a little bit higher it’s
on the mini tripod so that we can bring those lights over the front while also
having a light in from the back you can’t quite see this and I’ll move this
white light here we have a blue lighting arm coming in from the
back which isn’t actually pointed at the coin at all is pointed at the iPad at
the ground behind the coin I’ve narrowed the beam angle on that lighting arm quite a bit so
that it’s just tiny tiny little highlight of blue coming in from the
base of the coin which I think adds a little bit more visual interest and
because it’s a nautical themed coin I thought blue worked quite well and it
just make from a very representative shot of the coin itself and the way that
it looks it’s representative of the color and it still is because those two
white lights are the only ones on the front of the coin but if does it had
just a little bit more interest and intrigue into the shot because of that
color that you wouldn’t normally see there and a little highlight of blue on
the rim as well so for the other coin I wanted to do a
different setup to show you a couple of different ways of doing this we’re now
shooting directly downward so the camera is pointing straight down perpendicular
to the surface that were on here now so that our plane of focus is directly
across the coin we can get the whole thing of focus without needing a really
deep depth of the field the surface is so this is a just a wooden table it’s
got quite a nice surface on it but the coin is a brownie bronze coin you can
see that it’s a very similar color to this wood and although that might look
nice it’s not going to contrast and stand out very well so what I’ve got
here is a photo board made by a company called photo boards and I’ll pop the
link in the description if you want to get some of these they’re really really
handy for changing the textures that you’re shooting on especially small
objects like these you can just well they do have all sorts of different
textures available and you can just change these out and see what looks best
for your particular subject to that particular time some people might call
it cheating you should go and find your own hard wood aged antique floorboards
if you like me and you don’t have that in your home and you do want to a quick
and easy way of shooting small objects like these photo boards really cool so
I’m gonna get going shooting some of these adding some lighting to this so
that we can highlight this coin as best as possible and get that detail out of
it so a couple of tricks that I’m using for shooting top-down like this we’ve
gone back to two diffused white lights because I want a representative shot of
the colors in the look of the actual coin as if you’d be shooting this to
display on a website or to sell for instance you want it to look exactly how
it does in real life so we’re gonna get that one first
to separate out the the foreground and the background and make the coins stand
out a little bit more I’ve actually stacked it up on top of
two other coins which just give it a little bit more elevation and a little
bit more depth and it looks deeper and the shadow is slightly deeper on the
image and you can’t really tell that there’s anything underneath it it just
gives it a little bit more distance between the foreground and the
background which is something that flat subjects like this can sometimes lack so
as you’re setting up your lighting you can be looking through the viewfinder
you can be going to check your shots or you can be using live view too I’ll turn
the screen round look at it from underneath and you can see exactly what
you’re doing and how your lighting changes are affecting the reflections
and highlights on the coin itself and it’s really handy to be able to do that
with continuous lighting like this rather than using a flash which is going
to be take a shot see if it’s right take another shot take another shot so the
continuous lighting is really handy for that so that’s it for another macro
photography tutorial I really enjoyed this one I’ve been going at it quite
while you can see this stark outside now which actually helped for reducing a lot
of the excess ambient light that was coming in and reflections coming off the
coins so maybe shoots at night I don’t know
these coins were really really cool I’m very impressed with these and we got
some really good shots out of them with the colored lighting from the adaptalux
studio of course let me know in the comments down below what you guys think to today’s shoot and to today’s subject I’m I really like these so
well I might be starting a collection but we’ll see let me know what you guys
think and whilst you’re down there make sure to give us a like you can
subscribe if you want some more tutorials and ideas inspiration and tips
on how to use the adaptalux studio but for now that’s all I’ll see you next
time you

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