Collection Imaging Lighting Sheets



Auckland Museum is committed to sharing free of charge and open source standards and methodologies with the GLAM sector locally, nationally and internationally. Here you will find image lighting sheets compiled by our Collection Photographers, sharing their knowledge and techniques learnt from working on the Museum's five year collection access projects.


Information about the Lighting Sheets


The world of photography is extremely varied with many specialities and skills, yet few are quite so unique as a museum photographer. When we work with museum collections our work involves no paying clients, we don’t have to work with and direct talent, we simply have to bring out the absolute best that we can from some of the most interesting collections in the world.


The lighting guides below show how we achieved certain looks for different collections and object types. We’ve included setup images, technical explanations, and samples of the end results. Followed closely, the guides should eliminate the need for post-processing because our archival workflow aims to have images captured ‘correctly’ in-camera. This saves time, and produces a set of stable files that can be easily preserved.


We approach our work with the underlying philosophy that the images we take will be able to digitally represent these priceless and unique collection objects in perpetuity. We concentrate on lighting the objects to best effect while also trying to maximise throughput. It’s sometimes tricky to balance ‘perfection’ with not wanting to reset our studio for every new object, and efficiency lies in re-using a given setup for as many objects as possible.


We hope that sharing what we’ve learned over the years is useful, whether you’re in the cultural-heritage sector, the commercial sector, or just an interested hobbyist.