Top of Site > Clamps as Things > Care and Handling of Clamps > Photographing

Table of Contents

  1. Whole Clamp
  2. Parts of Clamp


For those who sell clamps (especially in electronic auctions), the desire is usually to show the whole clamp.  

For my records, I like to have the two handles, the tip of the through spindle, the corner of the jaw where back, top, and outside meet, and the maker's mark.  In some cases, I'll also like the end of the threads cut into the spindle, the ends of the handles, and other details.  

Whole Clamp


Start with a table, and turn it upside down.  Cover the area between the legs with a woven cloth, a felt mat, or a blanket, lying flat without obvious wrinkles.  The color can be light gray, or deep black,  or some pastel shade that will contrast with the clamp.  

Place a sturdy sheet of clean clear glass on top of four cans (soda, soup, whatever) in the center between the legs.  Place the clamp on the glass, roughly in the center.  


Attach flood lights to the legs so as to 1) illuminate the clamp evenly, and 2) wash out any shadows cast by the clamp.  Two may be enough, but more may be required.  

The clamp isn't going any where, so you can use fairly low wattage floods, and adjust the exposure. Or you can use dimmer switches (watch the wattage!) to adjust the intensity of the lights.

Camera and lenses

A 35 mm reflex camera allows you to check that all of the clamp is in the shot, and that no shadows intrude.  Any of a variety of lenses will suit the work.  

However, point and shoot cameras can be used, especially if you practice taking pictures at distances of 1 to 3 feet, and know where to aim.  

Place camera on tripod, and snap away.  Ideally, the depth of focus should not extend to the cloth.  If it does, it won't distract the viewer.  

Parts of Clamp

Whole Jaws and Spindles

See the description above on photographing the whole clamp.

Handles, Tips, Marks, Chamfers, etc.


Start with a  1 by 12 board or shelf, perhaps 2 to 3 feet long.  Drill a hole at the middle of the 12 inch edge, about 1 inch in, and use a machine bolt to attach the camera to the board.  

Get a supply of pieces of wood or plastic, 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1 inch thick, by 3 by 6 inches. Use these to build up a stack so as to put the item on the optical axis of the camera. Also put one on edge to prevent rolling.  (You may consider making jigs to hold spindles.)  Be sure that the stack, and the restraints, are out of the field of view.  


Place one or two spot lights near the edge of the board.  Be careful they can't fall off.  

For marks, you want raking light, at very shallow angles.  For the other items, use shadows to emphasize contours.  

The clamp isn't going any where, so you can use fairly low wattage spots, and adjust the exposure. High intensity reading lamps work fine for me.

Camera and lenses

A 35 mm reflex camera is essential, to check the focus and location of the image.  You can buy special lenses (expensive) designed for close up work, or you can use 1X, 2X, 3X extenders (much cheaper) with your regular lenses.

Fill the field of view with the item!

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