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How to Take a Great Photo of Your Knives?

Jan 5, 2007
There is a real art to this! anyone with any suggestions please add your comments.
I spoke to a proffesional photographer and he says the MOST difficult object to photograph is Jewelry and that knives are very similar to Jewerly in this respect.
I find taking a good photo is the best and safest way to display my collection. Ive been experimenting at various times for about a year and its taken a long time to get a photo like this please excuse that hosting is only 600x800 size it was originally 10 mega pixel.


This was done outside on a bright day with clear sky reflecting off brass bolsters while also at same time in shade to stop glare. Yes, with sky and in shade are both possible together in one shot. Think I still may be able to do better please add comments.
Regards Tim
Nice pic. I use the same method for taking photos. I usually photo knives on a sunny day in the shade of my patio table umbrella. Of course when winter comes it's not so easy. Then I take pics as close to a window as possible. Having a good background to put the knife on helps. There is nothing worse than knife photos with the flash turned on.
The Flash is definitely a no go option.

It is amazing the different results and variations that can be acheived and it is alot of fun especially with some of the editing softward that is available now. I purchased a cheap tripod off ebay, it was a good decision, helps when setting up for a few photos.
Some ebay sellers dont seem to bother too much with good photos and Im sure it must effect the final selling price.
Good to here from somone who takes the time.
Cheers Tim
Heres one I experimented with for a while, it is a NRA Bicentenial bowie, definitely worth spending a little time on. Decided in the end I liked it without all the stuff around it but it shows the sort of thing that can be done with a little editing of a photo.
This knife and its origins are a bit of a mystery to me.
Regards Tim

Real beautiful pics of real beautiful knives. It definitely sells. I notice often that knives with crapppy pictures often produce crappy winning bids (for the seller). Nice for the winner ... sometimes.
Indoors I put the object (knife or watch) in a large translucent Rubbermaid tub turned on its side in a well lit room. I can set the exposure time to get a bright image without the glare. BTW, Timstools, great pics...
Ambient light is the way to go, I have tried various ways to get good pics, flash does not help at all, outdoors this afternoon, blue sky in the shade, no flash, the images certainly came out better than expected.




Nice pictures.

Rusty, I collect OldTimers also, but never imagined anyone would collect the rubber handle models. You may have an exclusive on that. :D

Of the knife photos I've taken, here's one of the better ones: taken under a shade tree on a sunny day. The knife itself is in direct sunlight.

Here's one taken in the winter on the kitchen table, with the low-angle sunlight coming in a window.

So I don't think it's always bad to use direct sunlight. Here's a comparison, shade vs. sun.


The shade picture has more even lighting with very little shadowing. The full-sun picture has dark shadows around the knives, but the celluloid really comes alive.

Wish I was better at photography...
I also think scanning is a realistic alternative to photography, particularly if the goal is cataloging a collection (vs. photography as artwork). Here's the same set of knives (mostly) on a flatbet scanner:

Rusty those are great shots only limited by the hosting size, you can even see a very slight ting of blue from the sky reflecting off the metal parts on the knives, the clarity of the etching on the old timers folding is exceptional, really stands out and hits you. This is the reason I like this method.
I also have occasionally used direct sunlight but keep going back to the shade with blue sky method as I find sometimes the sunlight causes the knife to appear different than it actually is in real life, which is OK but can be a problem if selling it on ebay.
Please examine this pic, notice how highlighted the swirl effect is in the handles of the scrolled bolsters.
HERE IS A BAD PHOTO. This is one of my earlier ones. Yes detail was fine, there was enough lighting. Real difference was the reflections, you can see my head reflecting in brass bolsters in centre of pic and my torso is reflecting off the 4 knives at the bottom which ruined the appearance of the gold etch on the black knife. It was not a clear day and you can see a cloudly appearance reflecting off the bolsters in pic (far left).
Bob thanks for you pics!!! and Rusty cheers !!!
The 10 MP Canon Powershot A640 is a cheap and very good camera for anyone who may be looking.
Thanks for the comment guy's. Bob W,That is a nice selection of that style of knife, I generally started out collecting the regular delrin handled Old Timer pocket knives, but the collection grew as the green rubber handled knives are esentially part of the Old Timer range. I have used a scanner before with great results, although the one scanner I have at home is a first gen model and does not scan three dimensional very well. :( must pick one up.

Timstools, that is an impresive collection of LB's, those engraved bolsters really stand out. exceptional. :)

just posted this and saw your last picture selection, that Bowie from your earlier post, as well as pictured above. is sweeeet looking.

I'm not trying to hyjack the thread but Timstools what is the large knife at the top of the picture under the scrims.Arnold
Hey All, dont forget if you taking photos of a knife which are often at around a foot or less away from then you MUST use the Macro close up function on your camera. This is a real basic, but it is easy to forget.
Regards Tim
Its not a Schrade its a Buck 120 Limited Edition 002 of 100. Sold that one just becuase it didnt ever seem to fit properly in a photo with others. Sure was a nice knife though.
Regards Tim
WOW lots of respect to everyone here that posted pics- thoes are all amazing!! I guess ive got a long way to go with my collection to get up there with you guys. One question though; how the heck do I put pics up? it always asks for a img # or something any help?
After a year of trying I chipped in the 25 bucks became a Gold member and it is easy after that.Plus it helps this great site.Arnold
Great pictures all.
Ive been trying to build a light box for a while as it makes taking pictures indoors when it 8Pm and sub zero out doors a good alternative. Just need the time. Dang work.
Nice groupings. Seems someone likes lockbacks as much as me.
Again. Great pictures of some really impresive knives.
One question though; how the heck do I put pics up?
Piece of cake really. You need to 'host' the photos online somewhere else then simply place the link in your BladeForums topic. I use PhotoBucket (free) for hosting photos, but there are other hosting services as well.

Or you can host them on your own website space - most internet service providers allow you a certain amount of web space for free for creating your own websites. But I think using a photo hosting site is easier for most folks.

If you need more information, I'm sure there are detailed instructions around here somewhere.

In answer to your question just go to google or yahoo and type in "free image hosting" and pick which one you want. You will have to download your pictures with whoever you decide on, then you just copy the full URL from there and paste it when you make a post here. I chose photobucket.com.
With collecting I think its alway better to save up for a handful very rare ones that have endless amounts of not so rare ones. Sometimes I just buy a knife for its beauty or workmanship dont really care if its not rare but certainly both together is very nice. Worth waiting for.
Regards Tim