Last month we talked about ways of securing valuable possessions such as works of art, antiques and collectables.

One piece of advice offered was to create an inventory. Listing all your items together with detailed descriptions and clear, close-up photographs and keeping copies of professional valuations will assist in repatriating any lost items as well as acting as proof to the police and insurers that the items were actually in your possession at the time of the incident.

The importance of taking good quality, clear photographs to go with the inventory cannot be stressed enough. There is certainly an ‘art’ to taking photographs of antiques and works of art so that they are as useful as possible, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this follow-on post.

Tip 1: Get the Lighting Right

The best lighting conditions for a detailed and clear photograph are outside in good daylight. This is particularly important when the article has a reflective surface. With items of a certain nature, a flash is not recommended as it can have a detrimental effect on the material. Flash lights can also affect the look of colours and therefore may not provide a genuine representation of the article.

Tip 2: Go for High Quality

The best detail will come with the highest possible megapixel setting. Go for the top setting your camera has to offer.

Tip 3: Shoot from all Angles

Take pictures from every angle: front and back, from the top, both sides and also the bottom if there are any relevant markings present. With paintings make sure you photograph the back as well as the front.

Tip 4: Zoom in

Close-ups are vital. Serial numbers, inscriptions, signatures and also any distinguishing marks or damage will all classify your particular item as your unique property.

Tip 5: Go Solo

Only ever shoot one item at a time: don’t do group shots.

Tip 6: Take Care with Backgrounds

Always avoid patterned or busy backgrounds as these will confuse the shot. Ideally you want a plain, non-reflective background with the colour appropriate to the item. For example, if your item is light coloured, a dark background will best show it up, and vice versa.

Tip 7: Use Indicators

Place a bright yellow tape measure next to your item so the dimensions can be clearly seen. An ‘Object ID Card’ is one initiative being rolled out by Essex Police as part of their campaign against heritage crime. It helps to record the details of valuables such as family heirlooms, medals, jewellery, art and antiques and other valuables. It may be that other police forces or organisations are offering the same sort of initiative in your local area, so it’s worth some research.

There are numerous security measures you can employ to safeguard your valuable possessions: taking photographs is just one of them. For personalised advice call in to our London showroom or get in touch by phone or email. Our experts are only too pleased to help.