From Pixels to Pointclouds: Archaeological Photography Masterclass with Adam Stanford

pixels and pointcloudsFrom images of Neolithic monuments through to yesterday’s news, photography is one of the most compelling records of our world.

Recent advances in technology have revolutionized the role of photography in archaeological site work. This fantastic masterclass, led by one of the UK’s foremost archaeological photographers, will teach you the essential skills and techniques to take your photography skills to the next level.

Archaeological photography is a vital part of the recording process, and as we move towards an even more digital world, technical photography training will be an integral part of the field archaeologists’ skill set. In partnership with Aerial-Cam Ltd, the DigVentures ‘From Pixels to Point Clouds: Archaeological Photography Masterclass’ is your chance to learn and practice the essential skills and techniques.


Adam Stanford

Adam Stanford is Director of Aerial-Cam Ltd. and a Member of the Institute for Archaeologists (view Adam’s portfolio). Adam’s 30 years of experience combines traditional photography skills with cutting-edge digital technologies.

Light, and time, captured through the lens inspire Adam to record the evidence of our shared past as both a photographer and archaeologist. He has photographed some of the world’s most iconic sites, including Orkney, Stonehenge and Easter Island, and is involved with many UK-based commercial and research archaeology projects.

From pixels to point clouds, Adam’s approach to heritage assets involves a mix of traditional photography and advanced software processes for data analysis. By applying innovative solutions and new methods, his work has the potential to revolutionise standard archaeological recording practice.

Course Programme

This is a group training course, tailored to individual levels of skill from novice to advanced. A reminder of the basics is always a rewarding exercise, even for the most knowledgeable!

Tuition will be based around interactive discussions, demonstrations, and practical tasks. The following subjects will be covered:

  • Photography Fundamentals – How a camera works
  • Photography Equipment – Getting to know your camera and lenses
  • Photographic Quality – Archival and recording standards
  • Archaeological Photography – Situations, finds, stratigraphy, buildings, and photography as evidence, and as a general record
  • Additional Equipment – Scales and photo boards
  • Special Lighting Techniques – Recording inscriptions/rock-art, small finds detail and dealing with strong contrast situations
  • Specialist Photography – Aircraft, Aerial-Cam, rectification and 3D modeling
  • Post-Capture Processing – Software and basic techniques
  • Copyright Matters

Evening lecture – Easter Island: An Archaeology Safari

The evening lecture will take you on a virtual archaeology safari of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the south Pacific, with images and data gathered over three seasons of fieldwork on the Rapa Nui Landscapes of Construction Project. This will be followed by a look at the initial results of the 3D work at Leiston Abbey.

The Schedule

Friday 18 July, 1:00pm – 5:00pm, plus evening lecture at 6:30pm, and dinner at 8:00pm (optional).

Fee: £50 per person, £30 for Venturers

Please arrive at the DigVentures Site Office at the gorgeous medieval ruins of Leiston Abbey no later than 12:30pm for a short orientation, where you will learn more about the site and the specific activities of the class. Tuition will finish at 5:00pm, after which you can carry on working individually or meet up with our thirsty field school diggers in the Wattle & Daub, our on-site pop-up pub.

Dinner begins at 6:30, followed by Adam’s evening lecture at 7:30. Both of these activities are optional, but we do hope you will stay on to get the full on-site experience!

DigVentures and Aerial-Cam

Adam’s customised Land Rover in action with the photo mast extended

You will be joining the our field school whilst the excavation is in full swing, and will have the opportunity to use our dig and the abbey site in your training. You are very welcome to have a look in the trenches and take maximum advantage of the opportunity to be a part of a research dig on a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The more, the merrier!

Equipment needed: It’s not essential, but if you have a camera bring it along with the manual (if you can find it!). Tripods are also helpful, but don’t buy one just for this class. Equipment advice can also be provided.


The course is a half-day, but we appreciate that many of you may need to stop over before return travel on Friday. You are welcome to camp with us on site. We are truly spoiled this year with our campsite, nestled within the Abbey ruins. There are amenities on site such as showers, loos and laundry – and even a billiard table!

Don’t camp? Not a bother – we’re just three miles from the Suffolk coast and its lovely seaside towns such as Aldeburgh and Southwold, and there are plenty of holiday camps, hotels and B&Bs in the area.

Dinner will be provided if you decide to stay overnight. We’re very excited about the food this year – Pro Corda has a lovely dining area, and the food is delicious! There will be vegetarian options and plenty of fruit and veg, but please note that this is a school, not a restaurant. If there’s anything you really can’t live without, please do feel free to bring it along.

*If you’re very particular, have allergies or certain foods you can’t live without, please bring these along.

* You must be 17 years or older to participate, or accompanied by a parent or guardian who is also a registered participant.

Click here to register

(once you’ve clicked through, you will beed to select the green ‘Support Now’ button in the right hand column, and then choose ‘Archaeological Photography Masterclass’ from the drop down menu!)

 Want more info? Click here for FAQs about the site location!

*If you are already a Venturer, give us a ring on 0333 011 3990 or send an email to for instructions on how to book your discounted rate.



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Written by DigVentures

Fascinated by archaeology? DigVentures runs excavations that anyone can be part of. From Roman ruins and medieval castles, to Bronze Age monuments and industrial heritage, you can choose to dig alongside our team, help out in the Finds Room, take an online course, or become a Subscriber for even more ways to enjoy archaeology with our team.

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