Digital Anthropological photography 

Leibova N.A., Leibov M.B.




              page 132146




Despite the fact that in recent years the anthropologist's arsenal has significantly expanded due to the introduction of digital 3D scanning, computed tomography, microtomography, etc. into the practice of anthropological research, for most researchers photography remains an important part of the scientific process. Moreover, the resulting images are increasingly subject to higher requirements, since they often appear in scientific circulation much faster than before, bypassing editors and professional retouchers of publishers thanks to various kinds of Internet resources, such as presentations, on-line Internet conferences, reports, etc. In this new digital reality, the researcher acts as both an expert, a director, and an operator of a photo session and is solely responsible for the quality of the result and for its compliance with the goals of the shooting. The high intelligence of modern digital cameras creates a false impression in the beginners mind that camera can always be given freedom in making decisions regarding the shooting parameters. However, as shown in the article, there are a number of shooting situations when targeted manual management of shooting parameters is necessary to obtain a positive result. The following information will help the photographer do this. The purpose of our article is to help the researcher anthropologist qualitatively solve his problems using a digital camera. We will try to give an idea of those basic concepts, features of technology and techniques that determine the work of a photographer within the digital space. To this end, the article discusses the main technical and methodological techniques of anthropological photography within the digital space. A brief definition of the basic concepts of the digital world and the most important technical characteristics of modern digital cameras are given. The main part of the article is devoted to photography of paleoanthropological materials. Particular attention is paid to the shooting of the skull and odontological materials. Specific recommendations are given on the management of shooting parameters and on the organization of the shooting process, the use of which will allow the researcher to obtain high-quality digital photographs of the studied anthropological objects that meet both the requirements of modern printing and the requirements of representation on Internet resources.

Keywords: anthropological photography, digital camera, photography of craniological series, dental anthropology photography.


Acknowledgments. We express our sincere gratitude to our colleagues Ravil M. Galeev, Natalia V. Kharlamova, and Sergey V. Ivanov for valuable advice and positive and useful discussion of practical problems of anthropological surveying.

Funding. Published in accordance with the plan of research works of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (topic Evolutionary continuum of the genus Homo).


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 29.09.2021

Article is published: 15.12.2022


Leibova N.A., The Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS, Leninsky Prospect, 32, Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation, E-mail:,

Leibov M.B., The Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS, Leninsky Prospect, 32, Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation, E-mail:,