©  Colin Ritchie & Co. 1999-2004

    The photograph you send us is essential for the appraisal of an item from your collection.

    Obviously, the clearer it is the better.

    Here are a few tips to aid you in getting pictures which will provide the most information.

    Automatic focus models, with flash, are easiest, though any camera will do.
    Please use colour negative film, minimum 100 ASA, to get the greatest detail. (400 ASA film is best for indoors).
    If you can, shoot outside, but out of direct sunlight. If indoors, use flash.
    If you can do so, it's helpful to isolate objects from their background:
    Small objects: place on a large piece of grey construction paper or cloth.
    Large objects: drape a plain sheet behind and around to make the item stand out.

    Fill the frame:
    Get the biggest image that you can.

If it is wider than it is tall.
If it is taller than it is wide.

    Photograph any distinguishing marks in the biggest close-up you can get.
    Marks include:
    • a stamp, words or numbers on the bottom of a ceramic object,
    • hallmarks on silver or gold,
    • a name, number, stuck-on label or date on or inside a piece of furniture,
    • a signature on a painting,
    • a label on the back of a painting.
There's no need to take a picture out of its frame for photography. If you follow these simple steps, you'll get a satisfactory shot, free of reflections.
  1. Use flash.
  2. Stand directly in front of the painting, with the camera at the same height as the centre of the painting.
  3. Fill the frame.
  4. Take a pace and a half to the or right (whichever provides fewest reflections of other items in the room). Keep the camera pointed at the centre of the painting.
  5. Shoot the Picture.



If you wish to communicate by e-mail here's what to do.

The "No Scanner" method

  1. Take your exposed film to one of the larger camera chains or film processing services.
    1. Ask them to have your pictures digitized to disk or photo-CD. Some can do it overnight.
    2. In Canada, Black's offer a variety of services, just pick the one that will suit you best.
  2. Pop the disk or CD in your computer, view the pictures and select the one you want to send us.
  3. Select the 72 ppi version.
  4. Send it as an attachment to your e-mail.
  • Some professional film developers will transfer individual shots to digital file from negative or print. Make sure that you tell them that the file will be used on the internet, and ask for a 72 ppi scan. Otherwise you may find yourself the proud possessor of a 50 Megabyte file.

Scanner Method

If you have your own scanner:

  1. use a resolution of 72 pixels per inch.
  2. scan the full area of a normal 5 in x 4 in photograph.
  3. save it as a maximum (80) quality jpg
  4. name the file as follows
    1. first initial and first 4 letters of your surname, all lower case.
    2. add an underscore and the number 01
    3. repeat and continue with 02 if sending more than one file
  5. Example:
    Peter X. Smyth: psmyt_01, psmyt_02, and so on.
  6. Send as e-mail attachment.

Because we cannot physically handle the item you want appraised, the importance of back-up documentation is greater than it normally would be.

Please check off the following list before sending any material to us:

  • Clear colour photograph of the object.
  • Photographs of any distinguishing marks
  • Details of any
    • Labels
    • Stamps
    • Bills of Sale
    • Former owners (Provenance)
  • Measurements:
    • Height (Objects)
    • Height and Width (Paintings and Prints)
    • Height, Width and Depth (Furniture)
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