How to Get A Good Digital Photograph of Your Comics

Here are the two BIGGEST pieces of advice for taking photos of your comics:

  1. Use a camera that has several megapixels (cameraphones are mostly awful for this, sorry).
  2. Light, light, light!

Everything else below will help, but those are the two biggies.


Ideally, you want two strong light sources, both set up at 45-degree angles to the comic itself. Desklamps, floodlamps, whatever you've got — the better the light, the better the photo. Position one on either side of the comic, shining down onto the comic from an angle. You may want to turn the other lights in the room off — sometimes they'll cast weird shadows on your comic, even with your two desklamps shining right on it.

Daylight is also a good lighting option, if you've got the weather for it. Going outside into the daylight is typically a lot better than trying to shoot inside using the light from a window or door.

Flash should be your absolute last resort — the flash will likely wash out your comic and give you bad results. Don't use it.


  • Make sure the camera is parallel to the comic — you don't want one tilted with respect to the other. If your comic is on a table you might have to climb into a fairly awkward position to get your camera directly above it. (Try putting your comic on the floor, instead.) If you're using a tripod, you might need to thumbtack your comic to the wall — it depends on what sort of tripod you have.
  • Watch for shadows! Either hold the camera directly between your two light sources, or if you're outside, make sure you're not casting a shadow onto your comic. If you're using two light sources, you may find that you need to close the curtains or shut off other lights in the room.
  • Make sure the comic fills the screen. You don't want the camera to be choosing its exposures to best catch all the lovely texture of your floor — you want it choosing exposures for capturing all the lovely lines in your comic. Unless your camera has optical zoom (i.e., pushing the zoom button makes the lens go in and out), it's better to move the camera closer to the comic than to use the zoom. If your comic is just too small to fill the screen — or if you've drawn right out to the edges of the paper — put another sheet of paper behind it.

Camera Settings

It's worth learning some of these settings on your camera — they'll help a lot.

  • Turn the flash off. Instead of using flash, light your comic as suggested above.
  • Use the timer. Most cameras have an option for taking the shot two seconds after you press the button. This is good, because pressing the button almost always jiggles the camera, and jiggling the camera makes blurry photos. (Tripods are good, too! And using tripod and timer together is best!)
  • White balance. This one is kinda advanced — you can skip it if you want. However, if your photos come out weirdly yellow-gray, even after you've done your best with getting nice bright light, you'll want this one.
    • Poke around your camera settings and figure out how to set your camera to "manual" — it's probably the same place that lets you choose "landscape", "portrait," "macro" (usually denoted by a drawing of a flower), and such.
    • Once in manual mode, there will be options to change lots of things. You want to leave most of them on whatever they were automatically set on (or return them to "automatic" or "zero" if they've been changed in the past), and just focus on the white balance. (On my camera, white balance is called "AWB.")
    • Under White Balance (AWB), there will likely be options for different kinds of light: sun, clouds, tungsten, fluorescent, etc. There may also be a "custom" setting. If one of those settings matches the kind of light you're using, select it. Otherwise just turn your lighting on, point your camera at the comic so you can see how each of these settings looks, and scroll through them and see which one makes your comic look good.
      • If you want to use the "custom" setting, put a blank piece of paper over your comic (the same kind of paper you drew the comic on), and let the camera use that to adjust its white balance.
    • When you're done taking your photo, remember to return your camera to automatic mode!

If you've got more tips, please add them!

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