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October 22, 2014 2 min read

Part 3: ALZO Macro Tabletop Lighting for Photo Prints & Flat Art

Instead of having an online lab or local store/lab make digital files from your existing photo prints, you can easily copy your own photo prints using your camera, the Alzo 100 Cool Lites and Macro Tabletop. The large baseboard will hold up to a 14×14 size photo print or flat art without hanging over the side of the baseboard. The size of the prints or artwork will determine the height of the camera on the column, whether you need an ALZO Ball Head as an extension to get better centering over larger prints or artwork, the focal length of the lens or zoom setting and the close up capability of the camera and lens you are using. The higher the camera position and the longer the lens or zoom setting you can use, the better. That helps in eliminating lens distortion and potential reflections from your lights in the photo or artwork. Direct double side lighting evenly spaced works quite well for photo prints or flat artwork as long as the lights are spread far enough to the sides as not to cause a reflection in the prints or artwork.

Start with your lights tilted down about 45 degrees aimed at the print or artwork and if you notice any reflections, either move the lights away equally from the print or artwork or lower them equally to get a shallower lighting angle until the reflections are gone. For prints or flat artwork that have any curl, consider lightly taping the edges down to the baseboard to keep them as flat as possible. Prints and artwork that are matted and/or framed, especially with glass, present their own unique lighting issues. Matted and/or framed prints or artwork requires that the lights are high enough to clear the bevel of the mat or the inner edge of the frame so as not to create a shadow on the edges of the prints or artwork. Beyond the mat/frame shadow issue, is glass. Anything that is not matte black and is getting exposed to the lighting setup will show up as some sort of reflection in the glass. The best way to minimize these reflections is to place matte black paper, board or material between the camera and glass with a small opening created for the lens to look through. The matte black material used should be larger than the glass area. The closer the lens is to the glass, the larger the material needs to be to block the whole reflection. This is where more height and a longer lens or zoom setting is advantageous, by reducing the size of the material necessary to control the reflections.

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