How to Take a Picture of a Photo Using a Digital Camera

Taking digital pictures of physical photos preserves them and enables you to edit them on a computer or mobile device. While scanning a photo is easier, not everyone has access to a scanner. Provided you take your time and plan your photo shoot well, taking pictures of existing photos can provide surprisingly good results.

3d detailed camera on tripod
The heavier the tripod the better, because the added weight makes the tripod more stable.
credit: dny3d/iStock/Getty Images

Step

Set up a photographic workspace. Place the photo on a horizontal surface, such as a table. Remove any dust and debris from the photo. Light the photo as best you can, avoiding direct overhead lighting or other light sources that create a glare on the photo.

Step

Set up your camera on a tripod and rotate the tripod head so that the camera is exactly parallel with the photograph. In practical terms, this usually means that the camera is facing directly down at the photo on the table.

Step

Adjust the height of the tripod so when you look through the camera's viewfinder the entire photo is contained within the field of vision. Leave a bit of extra space around the edge of the photo to avoid accidentally missing part of subject matter. You can remove this extra space later if you have photo-editing software.

Step

Clean the camera’s lens with a lens-cleaning kit to ensure it is free of dust, debris and smudges.

Step

Set the camera’s settings to the highest possible resolution to ensure the highest quality photo. If your photo is small and the camera is positioned close to it, set the camera to macro mode, if available.

Step

Turn off the camera’s flash. This step is vital as the flash will result in glare and will light the photo unnaturally.

Step

Take the picture. To ensure the best result, take several pictures of each photo and then select the best one later.