Tips for taking the photos we need for key decoding or key identification
Cameras, including smartphones, take much better key images than scanners. Please avoid using a flatbed scanner unless it is all you have.
Natural light is best. Maybe near a window but not in direct sun (will cause glare on metal keys). Don't use a flash, that also causes glare.
SURFACE & BACKGROUND:
For decoding the keys probably have to come off the key ring. Put them flat on a plain neutral-colored surface (not black or white, something in between, wood is fine). It's good to put multiple keys in the same photo. Place them quite close together. A rule (millimeters preferred) alongside a key is sometimes helpful.
Place your camera directly over the middle of the key or keys. Straight overhead, not favoring one end, not at an angle. The keys should appear flat and parallel, and the same width one end to the other. (Jaguar/Ford Tibbe keys are an exception, roll those over a little to show the cuts better).
Test the focus, if your smartphone/camera does not grab sharp focus move it away until it does. Zoom to crop around the keys so that they almost fill the photo, but if you lose sharp focus pull away again. On a smartphone-size screen the focus may look good, but when enlarged on a computer screen, maybe not so good.
Probably one side of the photo is better lit than the other. Are the cuts on both sides of all keys nice and clear, not in shadow? This can be the hardest part. Two solutions: (1) place or hold a white card or mirror vertically on the darkest side, it will brighten that side or (2) when you are done turn all the keys around 180-degrees to swap the light and dark sides.
If you can't hold the smartphone/camera steady enough, place a stack of books on the darker side, put the white card against it for reflection, and your forearms resting on top of the books to steady the camera.
Years ago we struggled to get photos large enough to see detail. Now modern smartphones/cameras take photos of huge file size, which can cause problems sending over some email systems. Although our email will receive big photos, we probably don't need any over 1 or 2 MB in size, especially if they are cropped around the keys to take out unnecessary surroundings.
Common graphics format please, such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, or the newer HEIF/HEIC. PDF is OK but compression can take out the detail we need. Other formats such as Word DOCX are not appropriate for photos!
All inquiries with or without photos should start with our Inquire/Contact form. There is provision in the form to send up to 4 photos. Or you can email them to us, or put them on a hosting site and send us the URL (again, see the form for that). If sending photos by email, after having sent a form, your name or email address should be enough for us to link the two things together.
We provide the highest quality keys and key services for classic mid-to-late 20th century vehicles
YOU NEVER NEED TO SEND US YOUR KEYS. WE WORK FROM EMAILED PHOTOS.
Important note: We do not deal with modern keys that use electronics (transponder keys),
which is most vehicles from about the late 1990s
and at this time we do not work with locks, such as re-keying or repairs.
For these requirements please search for a competent automotive locksmith in your area.
Also, we do not supply general automotive parts. We are simply experts with keys for older vehicles.
Keys4Classics.com is located in Canberra, the capital city of Australia.
Proudly helping classic car and motorcycle owners worldwide since 2001.