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  1. #1

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Any tips for taking pictures of a LCD screen
    from some of you pros and semi-pros before I go try and re-invent the wheel? As in a TV screen, computer screen, iPad screen with a DSLR?

    Specifically, I need to take some pics of my iPad screen.
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  2. #2


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    Why don't you just hit the home and power button and it will take a picture of anything on your screen.

  3. #3

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    That'll work for most things I want to do, but still have the occasion when I'm taking shots of TV screens - so, I'm trying to figure out what settings to use and get printable shots. And I'm def a newb with a camera.
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  4. #4

    schweb's Avatar
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    I can't wait to see the answer to this, it's something I've never been able to get quite right.
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  5. #5

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    I've tried google with multiple terms and of course, the only hits that come up there is how to take screen shots from within an OS.
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  6. #6


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    One tip I seem to remember is that NTSC televisions (standard def, not HD) have interlaced fields of 29.997fps, so that's 60 *fields* per second.

    Thus, setting the camera to 1/60th or 1/120th exposure should minimize the "black bar" effect and give you a "clean" field. As always, you'll want to try this out yourself ...

  7. #7

    Village Idiot's Avatar
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    Do you just want a shot of the LCD image or a properly exposed shot of the image and the device?
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  8. #8

    schweb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
    Do you just want a shot of the LCD image or a properly exposed shot of the image and the device?
    Me personally I'm looking for the second thing, both the screen and device.
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    from some of you pros and semi-pros before I go try and re-invent the wheel? As in a TV screen, computer screen, iPad screen with a DSLR?

    Specifically, I need to take some pics of my iPad screen.
    Here are some tips I follow when taking photos of electronics/displays:

    1. Definitely (if you need to use a flash) take the picture at an angle (not straight on perpendicular to the screen)...otherwise the light from the flash will just reflect back at you...and ruin the photo.

    2. If you're taking a photo of your iPad to sell it...I usually like to use a "monochromatic" (single color) towel, blanket, sheet, etc. to lay the item on to help accent the item being photographed. Nothing dark like dark blue or dark green (for an iPad)...but something red, light blue, yellow, orange...or even white...helps to "accent" the item better (no patterns).

    3. Clean the item. No finger prints, smudges, etc. You never know what may show up in a photo...especially on "glossy" display's vs. matte.

    4. Good strong light (artificial or natural light) helps a bunch. A photo taken in a darker room, even with a flash...just doesn't "POP" like a well lit room (even if the flash still goes off in the well lit room.

    5. When taking photos...take multiple angles of the item...and lots of photos. When you get back to your computer to review the photos...sometimes many of them will come out "crappy"...but as long as you get 2-3 good photos..then you're good to go!

    Hope this helps,

    - Nick

    p.s. By the way...I wasn't 100% sure you meant by "taking a picture of an LCD screen". Do you mean a picture of the hardware itself...or a picture of what actually being displayed on the LCD screen?

    If you want a photo of what's actually on the screen...I'm thinking you may need a semi-dark room (with flash from the camera) to be able to get a "stronger" image from the display. If in a bright room...the image on the screen my become "washed-out".
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  10. #10

    Village Idiot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schweb View Post
    Me personally I'm looking for the second thing, both the screen and device.
    You can either use a tripod and take two photos, one of the properly exposed screen and then one of the item with the screen off and the device properly exposed then use a program like photo shop to merge the two exposures or you can use lights.

    The problem with an LCD screen, unless you can drastically turn down the brightness, which in turn can alter the general appearance to an unfavorable one, is that it's usally much brighter than the ambient light.

    What you truly need is an off camera light source that's bright enough to expose the device to the same exposure level as the screen. I used a Canon 580EX II speed light with a radio trigger to expose the device. The screen is reflective, so I had to move it off to the side so that the light would expose the device without reflecting off of the screen back the camera.

    So for the exposure, I put the camera in manual mode and used the right ISO, shutter speed, and aperture that would exposed the number on the LCD screen. Then I set the power on my flash once it was correctly positioned so that it would expose the device to my camera settings. From there it was fire away.



    Here's a very good website to get you started with off camera lighting if you're unfamiliar with it. The tutorial is over two years old, so there are other cheaper options that are available now that weren't when it was written.

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html
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  11. #11

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Good tips and actually both ways, though primarily at this time, just of the screen itself (what's being displayed) and have it come out anywhere close to resembling just taking a screen shot.

    Guess I need to experiment with a combination of the screen brightness and the ambient lighting and maybe actually using my tripod.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  12. #12


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    I was searching for an answer for the exact same thing. The only thing I can suggest is focusing the camera on the image about 3-4 cms too close to the screen, using AF lock (press and hold focus) and then slowly pulling the phone/iPad backwards to the appropriate distance.

    That seems to 'blur' the screen into an acceptable image. It's not a good solution, but it's the best option I've seen so far.

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