How To Take A Great Photo of Your PSG Card Slab Without An Expensive Setup

Updated: Oct 20


Before and after of a Platinum Standard Grading Pokemon slab photo
Before and after photos of a PSG slab with and without our custom lightbox.

If you're the proud owner of a fresh Platinum Standard Grading slab you may have noticed a couple of important things... Firstly, the blue and chrome shiny label looks amazing, and secondly, that same blue and chrome shine can be difficult to photograph, making it harder to show off just how good your new slab actually looks in person.


In this article we are going to show you how you can take the perfect photo of your new PSGrading slab using just your smartphone and a cheap setup.


This also works perfectly for any other graded slab to get an easy social media or eBay worthy image.


Let's get into it.


 

In this article:

  1. The Cheapest And Easiest Way To Take a Great Photo of Your Graded Card Slab

  2. Feeling Adventurous? Expand on Step 1 And Create a Custom Paper Lightbox

 

Part 1. The Cheapest And Easiest Way To Take a Great Photo of Your Graded Card Slab


We've all taken a photo like the one below...

A badly lit image of a Platinum Standard Grading Slab

The slab label and the card are covered in an unflattering light. The chrome and shiny blue of the PSG label are reflecting some unknown dark background and you just don't know how to get it to shine like it does when you hold it in your hand.


Fear not collector. We'll illuminate you (and your graded slab). Soon your card will be looking as good as the one at the top of this page.


We're about to make a simple and easy solution to that first important reflective issue.



You'll need a few ingredients for this recipe:

  1. Your smartphone camera

  2. 3 sheets of paper

  3. Some Tape

  4. A pen or pencil

  5. A hobby knife or scissors

  6. Something vertical and sturdy like a box or a wall


What someone needs to take a great picture of their graded slab
What you'll need for the easiest setup

STEP 1

Two pieces of paper taped together gently sloping from the side of a box to the tabletop

Tape two of your pieces of paper together to form a longer piece. Tape this to the side of a box or wall to form a nice curved slope from wall to ground. This will become the white backdrop for your photograph.


The curve prevents harsh shadow lines from being visible in the background of your photo that take interest away from the subject. In photography this is called a cyclorama.








STEP 2

Piece of A4 paper with square cut out of the middle and a hobby knife and pen resting on top

Next we are creating a white backdrop to surround the camera lens on your phone. Much of the unflattering light on the slab image above is caused by a the shiny blue and chrome of the slab label reflecting the dark light from the direction of the camera and photographer.


Here we are creating a small cutout for your camera lens which you will shoot your photo through. The label will then reflect mostly the white around the camera lens and not your face or whatever coloured shirt you have on that day.


STEP 3


Set your graded slab up on the white background and shoot your photo through the hole in the third sheet of paper you cut out in step 2. You may then want to edit the resulting photo in an editing app to add some contrast and brightness before posting it online.

Split image of the setup for taking a good image of a graded card slab alongside the resulting image
The setup and the result - unedited. Not bad.

Part 2. Feeling Adventurous? Expand on Step 1 And Create A Custom Paper Lightbox


Now if you wanted to take your cheap photography game to the next level you could add a few more pieces to create a custom paper lightbox that removes unsightly shadows around your graded slab and ensures a fairly even light across the whole image. Photographers use professional versions of this at various levels of expense to create beautiful product photos for many online stores.


You'll need everything in step 2 plus a few extras:

  • A few more sheets of paper

  • A couple of heavy objects like glass tumblers


Items needed to construct a custom paper lightbox at home
Add some extra paper and some heavy tall objects like tumblers and you've got yourself a lightbox

STEP 1

Take the setup from the end of part 1 and add a couple of extra sheets of paper.


Fold the short edge of these pieces about 2cm in and add some tape like the first image below. These will become the walls of your lightbox.


Tape the folded edge onto the wall/box (next to your custom curved paper wall.

Paper with a folded edge

STEP 2

Paper taped to a glass tumbler

Get your pillars (I am using a couple of glass tumblers from the kitchen) and align them at the end of the paper on the floor. Tape the unfolded ends of your lightbox walls to these heavy objects to give the walls rigidity.


They are now taped to the box/wall at one end and taped to the pillars (glass tumblers) at the other end.












STEP 3

Now it's time to attach the final wall of your custom paper lightbox.

Take the paper with the hole you cut out in Part 1 and tape either end to the glass tumblers to complete the box of paper.


The final product should look something like below:

Image of the custom paper photography lightbox setup

You can also add paper across the top if there is harsh light coming into your lightbox from overhead lights.

As you can see in the image above, we have placed the PSG graded slab against the far paper wall instead of placing it on a stand. If you can balance the slab like this without completely removing the curve in the paper wall you can get a very nice result without obstructing any of the slab with a stand.


Pro Tip: Place the slab upside-down and flip it right-side up during editing. This means there is plenty of white around the shiny blue and chrome label of the Platinum Standard Grading slab and it will look spectacular - highlighting all of the small, darker details.


Here's an image of the result compared to a standard image of a PSG slab. The image on the right was taken with the setup above. The image has been flipped, with a small amount of contrast and brightness editing applied in an editing app on the phone.


Before and after image of a PSG graded slab taken with and without a custom paper lightbox

Viola!


Hope this helps






 

If this post has inspired you to take awesome images of your collection, or if you have any other questions about our services you can let us know by emailing us at hello@psgrading.net


If you would like to get your cards graded and slabbed by Platinum Standard Grading you can check out the services on our store page here.


Happy collecting.