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

By Andrew Tennyson

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.

Things You'll Need

  • Tripod
  • Lens-cleaning kit

Step 1

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 2

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 3

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 4

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

Step 5

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 6

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

Step 7

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

Tips & Warnings

  • To improve the digital camera’s ability to focus on the photo, put a large piece of black or white paper behind the photo.
  • If you plan to take multiple pictures of photos of the same size, draw a grid on the black or white background paper so that you can place subsequent photos in the same spot on the table. This technique eliminates the need to constantly adjust the photo so that it fits in the camera's field of vision.
  • If your digital camera is equipped with a remote control to activate its shutter, use this device so that you don’t physically press the shutter-release button when taking a picture. No matter how delicate your touch, pressing the shutter-release button on the camera causes the camera to shake, which can result in blurry photos.