When taking pictures of gravestones, always take at least one picture showing the relative positions of all stones you’ve photographed. The positioning may not hold clues, but it’s a good piece of information to get while you are in the cemetery. Pictures showing the relative position of the stones in the entire cemetery–or at least near landmarks within the cemetery–is a good idea as well.

With digital images, “wasting film” isn’t a concern. The best time to take the pictures is while you are right there at the source. behrens-south-prairie



11 Responses

  1. I do not think anyone would mind if you pull a few blades of grass or weeds from covering up names or dates. Move the flowers & put them back when your done.
    Take a knee!!! Get down level with the standing stones (instead of standing up, looking down at the stone) so that the info is not distorted.
    Yes, on the flat stones you have to look down at them. Please, straight down, not at an angle.
    Get up close & personal — on one of your shots – get close enough crop your shot to show the written info.

    • I always pull weeds and other growth that is blocking stone and move flowers if needed (putting them back). Closeup shots are great and if getting back up after getting down is a problem, someone should go along with you.

  2. As our church cemetery “historian” I give information not only of the specific lot where the person is located but also landmark stones for persons who are buried around the individual. Makes it easier to zero in on the specific lot. Our computerized program makes this very easy to do for anyone looking for information in our cemetery.

  3. I find it’s a good idea to not take pictures around noon on a sunny day as the sun is right above your head and leaves a glare on flat stones. Sometimes I have to take the picture from the backside making the words upside down to cut the glare then rotate the photos when I get home.

  4. All great ideas. I usually take photos of all the surrounding stones as well, as later I usually find that they tend to be relatives.

  5. Before you take any tombstone pictures, take one of the sign that says what cemetery you are in. Especially if you will be visiting several cemeteries, taking the sign first always helps in knowing which tombstones were in which cemeteries. Even if you’re only visiting one, the sign photo makes a nice introduction.

  6. Always carry a small notebook to record name of cemetery, address, location, street signs, inscription on stone, etc. Match up with pictures to complete the file.

  7. Always take the cemetery or church sign first to start the cemetery. Also, if the church has a cornerstone with dates when the church was dedicated, take that picture for sure. It is always helpful to give context to the age of the stones. If you are recording an entire cemetery and posting to Find A Grave, this has helped me. At the end of a row of grave markers, shoot down into the grass. This creates a blank stopping place to designate the ending of a row.

  8. If taking pictures with your phone camera, make sure Location is enabled. This will include the geographic location of the camera (in the photo metadata) at the time the picture was taken,

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