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California Genealogy and History Archives


Instructions for Taking and Submitting Digital Photos

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The following information is for taking DIGITAL photos only! 
My personal preference on size is 640 pixels wide because if someone wants to print the picture it is a nice size about 4 x 6. You will find on other sites (and maybe earlier on CA) some photos that are much smaller but when printing them you get something like 2" x 3" photo, which is pretty unreadable. Please do not "CROP" the photos "RESIZE" them. For this purpose RESIZE means to change the print size to 4 x 6. If I have to do any editing cropping makes photos all different sizes and causes a lot of extra work on my part. Using resize makes all the photos uniform and easy to edit. Some of your photos will be tall and some wide, that is ok. Sometimes you will want to take a photo that is further back in order to get the whole tombstone, in that case it is necessary to take a ‘close-up’ to be able to read the name and dates. Sometimes you may want to take a second photo showing the husband and wife tombstones together.

You will find photos submitted by others who have put the data right on the photo. I use an added bottom border so as not to disturb the photo itself. The added border is also handy when a tombstone is unreadable, you can add the names and dates as well as the cemetery name. You will also find some older photos that have no markings whatsoever. Adding borders and information was just something I started doing in 1999 when I first began taking photos for other people and I wanted all the info available (on the photo) just in case the info I sent them in the email got lost the person would always know the cemetery name and location. I give your credit by adding "photo by (your name) and year".

One thing please:

  • Re-name your photos using the examples below No spaces are allowed in file names so be careful here. Your camera gives each photo a number, change that to the person’s name.




If the dates are not clear add the dates to the file name.

Example: smith-william-1885-1942

When you have 2 photos for one person (whole shot and close-up) name the photos:



In larger cemeteries is is always a good idea to use dates because there will always be some ‘same names’. If the tombstone is shared you will make one photo file for each person listed on the tombstone. You would copy William Smith’s photo file and rename it Mary Smith.

If you are not familiar with how to resize photos here is how to do it if you are using Windows.

Go to Start, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Tools, Microsoft Picture Manager OR right click on one of your photos and choose ‘open with’ then select Microsoft Picture Manager. On the ‘View’ tab select ‘thumbnails’, select ‘all’, then on the ‘picture’ tab select ‘resize’. On the right side of your screen you will see a drop-down menu for resizing. Choose Web-Large 640. This will automatically resize ALL your photos (wide and tall) to the proper size.

Here are some examples of photos so that you can get a better idea of what I have been talking about.

It is also a good idea to take photos of the entrance or gate, and a few area views to that the researcher can get a sense of the cemetery.