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Advice for taking better photographs


I see very many photos taken of upright stones using the phone app in portrait mode. Due to the nature of wide angle phone lenses at the top of the phone and the average height of adults using the phone angled downwards, most of these photos show a large amount of keystone distortion, which often results in blurry or difficult details to read at the foot of the stones. If however people simply turn their wrists over when taking the photos (so the phone lens is at the bottom)  the perspective will be much better and the stones will be less distorted.
Just a thought that you might incorporate into your information/tutorials about taking photos using the app.

I am spending time on transcription for other photographers. I am finding that some stand too far away, some are taken of blocks of stone with nothing on them. A little fill in flash

a bit closer to the details we are transcribing

just remove a bit of grass , a weed or object blocking the critical dates and names would help.

Our object is to record the details so when on the spot just think if it would be easy to read the details we need to put on record.

All to help with transcription

@barry.johnson5 While we agree that we need photographers to use discernment in taking photos. Many times there are stones that are not easily read. This is when research comes in. Our rule of thumb is for photographers is to capture all stones in a cemetery regardless of the condition. Transcribers can then get the stones that are apparent. Researchers can then come in and finish up changing green pins to an actual grave marker. 

Here are some examples:

This stone is almost completely unreadable. Transcribers tagged this as such. A researcher found the stone and was able to mark this as the stone for Susan Binkley, widow of Jacob Binkley Sr. Born: 1757 and died 1837.  A researcher used old cemetery data along with older photos found in Find A Grave to mark the stone correctly. This is in the Funkstown Cemetery in Funkstown, Maryland. Placing a name to this particular stone along with the GPS location will be invaluable to those researching in Washington County, Maryland. 

Here's another:

This one is in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. This one requires heavy research. Using the Cemetery Plat Maps in a program called Names In Stone, the GPS location and Nearby Graves feature  in BillionGraves, it was determined there are actually four individuals buried under this stone. James Nutt age 11, his brother Alfred age 9, sister Josephine age 4, and mom Mary Ann Nutt age 29.  All died between 1869-1878. Using cemetery data  little Josephine died from a lung condition, brothers James and Alfred to diphtheria, and mom Mary Ann to complications from childbirth. They are still under this stone or close to it according to cemetery records. There were no other stones in the area. 

The research aspect is not for everyone, we know that.  But we also feel that everyone deserves a chance to be remembered such as the Nutt Family, and Susan Binkley. In many corners of the world as people realize old family stones are crumbling, they are replaced with new stones. However not every family has the means to do so. 

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