Monday, February 18, 2008

Digital Photography for Genealogy by Barry Ewell

12 Jan 2008

You can request a PDF of the Presentation and related materials by email to:, subject line: Digital Photography. This will include about a 200 page document about photography and scanning. There is a combination between the two and we bring them together. The same principles I use in photography I also use in scanning.

Defining Digital Imaging
The Digital Advantage versus Film Advantage
Film camera use film
-Reoccurring film costs.
-Processing costs. Wasted shots.
-Full rolls of film to expose before you can see any of the pictures.
-Film expiration dates to worry about.
-Necessity of protective film bags when passing through airport security.
-Negatives or slides to scratch or collect dust

After exposing a roll of film
-You have to reload the film camera.
-Take the exposed film to be developed.
-Pick it up and hope you have the pictures you wanted.

We all used film. I don’t know about you but my slide collection I am proud of it. Its in boxes and boxes. There is color film that you like and you try to bring the slide up to the light so you can see what you got. When you are trying to find that image of your four year old from 1974 and you have to go Umm, which of these slides is that. When you get down into film cameras there is still a need for them, my daughter still uses them, she is an art major. She still uses slides quite heavily in presenting portfolios. In all candor I haven’t used a $1,500 film camera in about 10 years. I extensively use my digital camera when working with it.

The Digital Advantage versus Film Advantage
Most Digital Cameras
-Record and store photos on some sort of removable media card.
-Allows you to shoot numerous photos.
-Easily download them to a computer.
-Clear the card to be used again.

With a Digital Camera
-You can look at the picture as soon as you snap.
-Decide whether it’s good enough to keep.
-If not, you can retake them; before you leave the library or cemetery.
-Create opportunities for example, visit relatives and have them pull out their old photo albums and take photos of them on the spot.

When you think about digital images you can use it in all light conditions. You can take that image and put it in a photo editor, i.e. PhotoShop Elements or whatever you choose to use. I can take what would be normally a very horrible picture with film and I can pop it up, brighten it up. I can do all kinds of things. It is the most forgiving form of media.

Desired Features When Choosing a Digital Camera
-4-megapixel camera (Min).
-Selling for $350 to $500.
-Good quality glass lens.
-Automatic and manual exposure controls or scenes.
-Ability to shoot multiple formats. (JPEG, TIFF, RAW).
-Lens cover that closes automatically when the camera is turned off.
-4” or closer macro resolution and quality controls.
-Can use rechargeable batteries.
-Minimum 3X zoom on playback.

Today when you are looking for a camera this is not a big deal. When you start looking at them off the shelf they are 10 megapixels. For those of you with an existing digital camera, .that want to use it for genealogy it’s really, really critical that you have at least a four megapixel camera. The real short reason you are going to need for when you start to use a camera for documents. When I go to a library and I come across a book I want, it’s 200 or 300 pages of something that I want, i.e. a family history or something of that nature, rather than photocopying it I will take a photo of it.

When I have that image up on my screen if I have less than a four megapixel and I start to enlarge that I loose the image. Where if I have a four megapixel and above I really get down into detail. There has been times when I photocopy the document and I got have my magnifying glass out trying to figure out if that is an “A, B or a C”, what is that? When I bring that image up on a screen I can blow that image up to the point that there is no question in my mind that it’s a C or a B. I can blow that image up to 4 or 5 or a 1000 percent larger than what it is. Sometimes you need to do that depending on what you gather.

As far a costs of cameras you can get real exotic, you can get into $400-$500. My camera that I brought with me today I spent $800 on it four years ago. Today you can buy that same camera for $50 to $100 on the used market. It’s a great camera and it is still a great camera. If you are looking to find that kind of a camera to do the extra work with. On of the things that will be critical for going genealogy work is a one that allows you to screw on a lens. I also have the ability to zoom something else into it, I can put a barrel on the front of it and then put on a slide adapter. I can get better images taking photo of slides this way than I can using my scanner. I can do 100 slides in about an hour. With your scanner you can’t do that.

Defining Image File Formats
Each picture is stored in the camera as a digital image file. Two most common formats are:
TIFF (*.tif)
1. Best quality for master copy.
2. Image format is a commonly readable file that is recognized by nearly every image-editing program.
3. Some cameras allow you to save the data as .tif files which are much larger than .jpg files and require more storage space.
4. These files require more time to open or save.

JPEG (*.jpg)
1. Smallest files size for email and websites.
2. Higher quality JPEG format is usually good.
3. This file format compresses the actual data from your camera records and reduces the file size, without a noticeable change in image quality.

In my camera I have the ability to define whether if it is a TIFF or multiple levels of a JPEG, a low end, a middle end, or a high end JPEG. There are sometimes that I want a TIFF image. Often times when I am doing scanning for archival purposes, i.e. photo or those types of materials, I will scan it at TIFF at 400dpi. The bottom line is that the TIFF is like your original negative.

If you think about the original negative you had with your film or can do multiple versions off that and no degradation. If you take the picture and start making copies off that picture it is not the same. There is always a little bit of differentiations off like taking a photocopy of a photocopy. The TIFF is jam packing all that information that you have into that picture. When you blow up an image you can start to see the depth into an apple. That’s why you need the megapixel so you can get the crispness of the image.

Defining Image File Formats
Difference in image size.
JPEG (*jpg) 8 x 10 Photo – 343 KB
TIFF (*.tif) 8 x10 Photo – 18,620 KB (18.6 Meg) 54 times larger than JPEG version.

When I started doing scanning I was really concerned about my hard drive space. My hard drive space was 25 megabytes. The first computer I bought was a Macintosh in 1981, I paid for 5 megabytes $3,500. 5 Megs is a JPEG image. Today buying hard drives is not bad. I have a terabyte of disk space at home that is a thousand gigabytes. I am not afraid of disk space you are spending about $1.00 or less a gigabyte now. One of the better places I have found to shop is PC Club in Orem. I like PC Club very simply because its high end hardware and their support and management make it great to deal with.

In your camera is you will just make sure that you are on the high end JPEG, if you have the option to choose between JPEG or TIF the high end JPEG will work for you in 95% of the cases. Once in a while when I am working with slides and doing copy legwork and I come across one that is really, really important to me I cherish it and it’s really critical I will take a TIF image of that slide. That is how I make my choices in that area.

Moving Photos from Your Camera to Your Computer
Method 1: Cable/Docking Station
Your camera will connect to the computer by a cable special docking station. Docking stations are usually proprietary and only work with a camera make and model.

Method 2.: Card Reader/writer
Requires the memory card to be removed from the camera and places in the card reader that connects to your computer. Card readers are available for each type of memory (storage) card or stick.

As far as your camera and your computer we all have issues with docking. I just plug a cord into my camera and download. One of the secrets when you start working with images is it is important to make sure before you start downloading to make sure your batteries don’t run out – otherwise you will loose all your images. It’s really, really critical when you are starting to do work that you have that extra set of batteries.

It’s a beautiful photograph but do you know WHY it’s beautiful? Before we get into the heart and soul of using the camera in genealogy there is this whole concept of composition. I remember when I was taking photography from my teacher back in college. Rick Knight from Knight Photography in Orem was my professor. I learned a lot from Rick. When we first got into cameras he said it was all about composition. I asked when are we going to take pictures? After I got into that I realized the importance of composition. What makes a picture look good? What makes it important? It’s the common force we go do genealogy work we find the land that our ancestors lived on, what do we do, we jump out of the car we stand at the fence line and we take a picture of the land. We are feeling it. When we bring it home we put it in a family history book and we say, just look at the land, and they turn page. Why, because it is not interesting.

When we think about composition it’s all about the ability to think about what you are doing. The principles I am talking about right now, whether you are doing a simple page in a book or microfilm these principles hold true and some level. The first issue is to get close. I can’t tell you how important that is.

When you see the Japanese groups on vacation as you travel around what do they all do? Whatever object they might be, if it is a statue we all have to stand in front of it and take a picture. We I see them coming I stand aside because I am going to have to take 25 pictures with different cameras of them standing in front of a palm tree. What happens is they stand right in front of the picture and they stand up tall. How many of you have pictures like that. It’s like the grand canyon beautiful picture I’m at the grand canyon take my picture of me standing in front of the grand canyon. Well where is the grand canyon – well I’m in the middle of it. If you want me then get close. The whole idea is get close up on it. If you think about the face of a jaguar, the face of the monkey or even the coins, getting up close there is a different feel and excitement that comes with it. When we think about close we think about faces. There is the whole idea about getting up to close to faces that we are going to miss the hair. Me I don’t care if they get up close there is nothing on the side or the top that I care about.

It’s a beautiful photograph, but do you know WHY it’s beautiful? This is the most important principle I want you to understand.
Photographic Composition: The Rule of Thirds and the Golden Mean
-The rule of thirds is a guideline for when you have vertical and horizontal lines in your image.
-the “Golden Mean” says that the main subject of an image should be placed at the interesting points.

Just remember tick-tack-toe – divides the screen up in thirds either horizontally or vertically. Then we have the junction points, the target or the bull’s eye. When you are thinking about a picture you say – I like those pictures. The land is on the lower third, the sky is on the upper third, when you learn to work with that it will make a large difference. There is something about the image and where it sits on the page that makes all the difference in how something feels and looks with that.

Photographic Composition:
-By placing objects in your composition along strong diagonal lines that create a triangle, you’ll add strength to your image.
-Another way to use triangles is to draw a line diagonally from one corner to the other of your frame, then draw another line in from either of the remaining corners so that it meets your first line at a 90 degree angle.

Simple rules of composition will help you in doing genealogy photography into absolute magic. If you are taking photos of grandfather’s home or your doing your scanning you are doing the same principles.

Frame within a Frame:
-Use materials near you in your foreground and include them in your photograph around two or more of the edges to create a sort of “frame.”

When I am taking pictures I will actually frame the shot with my hands to see what is a good picture. On my ancestors land I framed the picture with a tree and fence post. You can still see the land but it gives it more interest. When you are working with open land if you have the ability to frame at any level do that or at least take one picture of it framed and then open and when you get back home you can make the choice of what you like and what you don’t like.

The other concept is a Leading Line
-Roads and footpaths are a great way to use leading lines to your advantage and draw your viewer into your photograph.

You are getting lower to the space, whether a face line, road or space, and your letting the line lead your eyes. I could stand up and take a picture of the road or I could crotch down just a little bit and let the road lead my eyes. You can see how the railroad tracks or a path how that works to help out.

Photographic Composition: Circle
-The circle (breaks the Golden Mean) can be used effectively when composing a photograph, if the subject is right.
-“The Circle” is a tricky element to use in photography effectively, but when done well, makes for an outstanding photograph. This is really a fantastic shot – the moody lighting adds a gritty, realistic feel.

One of the toughest things to photograph is circles. How do you work with a circle? I finally decided the best way to work with a circle is straight on. If find if I am dead on center on top that seems to make it just a little bit easier to work with. This comes into play when you are working with artifacts, i.e. a cosmetic case or watch face.

Photographic Composition: Rhythm
-This is a way to use repetition of form and shape in an image to create interest.

One place that is really, really fun is the cemeteries; you will get a rhythm to the headstones. One of the common rhythms we will see with the headstone is like with Arlington Cemetery. I often find that when we are doing family history you find a rhythm in the fence line that is in front of the ancestor’s home. You find a rhythm in the trees near the home. There is a sense of feel that comes with them.

Photographic Composition: Negative Space
-Negative space is a term used in photography that implies only a tiny fraction of the frame is taken up by the actual subject.
-Negative space is usually used to make the subject seem very small, or to give the impression of the subject being in a wide-open space.

So you don’t have a tree your family is from Nebraska. When I was doing some genealogy work in Otis, Kansas, it is smack in the middle of that state and the closes Wal-Mart is a 150 miles away. There weren’t any trees. One of the things you can use is negative space. You are putting off in the picture one element to one side of the frame. If you are using negative space, one way is to have that element point towards where you want the eyes to go.

In the materials I will send to you is a list of what to take with you on a genealogy trip, to the extra battery, film or cards. When I am out doing genealogy on the road for about 2-3 weeks plus and every day is a rush to get something done I was taking 3-4,000 pictures a day. Especially when you are in a library setting and you’ve got a lot of books. There is only one book in the archive and need to get it. When I am doing really heavy work and a JPEG is a meg and half in size I will take a gig or two gigs or four gig backup. In my camera bag I may take up to 10 gigs of cards. Why do I have so many gigs, well over a period of time I didn’t bring enough gig with me and I happened to collect them along the way.

He shows a chart of how many pictures you can take per megapixels. 4MP will fit 724-800 images on a 1GB memory card. 5MP – 565-625 images, 6MP – 452-500 images, 8MP 301-333. You are probably saying 8MP that has to be good, yes, but you don’t need it all. 5MP is just fine, it is not really necessary to go much beyond that.

Taking Better Digital Photos: Overall Tips
-Be prepared. Gather everything you’ll need, such as a tripod; extra batteries, and any props you’ll use.
-Hold your camera steady. Camera movement causes most of the blurry pictures you see.
-Get closer. Try to get within two to four feet of your subject. Ideal photo composition is 90% subject and 10% background.
-Cut the clutter. Nothing ruins a photo like stray objects that detract form your composition.

When I went to Otis, Kansas there was a Lutheran cemetery and a Methodist cemetery. I had family in both cemeteries. I got through the Lutheran but my batteries died before I got to the Methodists. Talk about a mad side of the family. It took me three years before I was able to go back and finish the photography work in that cemetery. A camera battery literally was and 1 ½ drive to the nearest Wal-Mart.

Holding your camera steady a simple trick that will save you a lot of effort in jittery pictures, in some cameras it may take a second or two before it clicks and takes the picture and it’s jittery. It’s especially true in low light. If you don’t have a tripod then use palm of your hand. Put the camera on the face of your hand and that becomes your tripod. Before you take the picture either breathe out or breathe in and just hold it. That will make you steady now. If your fortunate to have a tripod that’s great too.

The idea about clutter, there is people and bushes and all types of things behind your image. The cleaner you can make your image the better off you are. I remember in the photo lab spending to much time trying to get the things out that I didn’t want. If you can do that before you ever get to your editing software you can make images clean and it will save you a lot of work.

Taking Better Digital Photos: Overall Tips
-Don’t say cheese. Sometimes you want a perfectly posed picture, such as a portrait of the kids with their grandparents.
-Avoid the bull’s-eye effect. There’s nothing wrong with placing your subject in the exact center of the frame, but there’s nothing particularly interesting about it either.

People don’t always have to be smiling. Sometimes I will sit back at family reunions over in the corner looking for people and faces. I’ve got pictures where we all stand in a row and say cheese. But I have also found like in the girl, a simple face that is just as good too.

Zero In on the Real Picture
The famous picture of the granddaughter sitting on the couch, I get tired of seeing the lower portion. Get closer in on the person. You can take a larger picture but then in your editing software you can get in closer. There are many times when I have been scanning that I have gotten 3 or 4 pictures out of one image. I’ve done a save as and then cropped portions out and I’ve been able to make these multiple images that are important to me.

Photographing Slides and Film
-For best results, mount your camera on a tripod.
-Mount your adapter to the camera.
-Place the camera in front of light source that will provide constant steady light.
-Insert memory card. Suggest 256 meg or higher.
-Insert the first slide/film and click the shutter button.
-If you are unable to secure an adapter for your camera: Strongly suggest using scanner equipped for slides and film.

Photo Studio in-a-box –
Provides desired tools to photograph documents indoors.

I will use PhotoShop in-a-box when I am in a library with very dark scenarios. You will see that the lights are on the side. Libraries will allow me in about 80% of the times to set up the box with the lights on the side and the book on the bottom and they will let me start taking pictures.

When I am taking pictures of slides I will face the light and let it come in as I take the picture. Not only does it have a slide attachment it will also let you take the microfilm with all your family on it. If you have ever used the scanners at the FHL trying to scan about 400-500 images and just about the time you get going someone’s tapping you on the shoulder – my turn. The images aren’t that great. I have just ordered the films to my local FHC, taken the attachment, slide it along and take a picture of it. It’s a full image like if I had it printed. On those microfilms I have been able to take about 100-200 pictures and put them on CDs and sharing them out with the family to help with the indexing of them. Not everyone has to go to the FHC anymore. I don’t have to worry about the copier being down or giving me bad images.

There is also a picture mount that comes with it so I can put the colored film through it. For all those items, it’s a simple tool, it cost me about $100 for the barrel, about $100 PhotoShop in-a-box. It has saved me hundred of hours if not thousands of dollars in effort.

Genealogy Photography is 10% Outdoors and 90% Indoors
-Historical societies
-Family reunions
-Other places where documents and pictures are.

-Land and buildings where family members once lived, worked or worshipped.
-Many outdoor shots are of historical consequences, but not of genealogical substance.

Why do I use my digital camera versus photocopying? When I first started using it was simply about time. I was at the state library in Kansas and the photocopier went down. I am back the next day and sorry he won’t be here to fix it until Tuesday. I had a plan that leaves in five hours and I’ve already spent a $1,000 to get here so I am going to use my camera. I went through the books. All of a sudden I found when I got home that magic had happened. The images I had were better than the photocopies. Even if they were dark I could take them in my photo editing software and just do auto correct and take a yellow page and turn it bright white. All those types of things became very clear.

Digital Photography Is All About Lighting and Location
-Use flash less than 10% of the time.
-Instead of flash use:
--Natural lighting (e.g., near a window).
--Light stands with diffusion screen and lights.
--Self-contained photo studio includes: tripod, diffusion lights and screen, and copy stand.
-Shooting documents with flash indoors usually creates a “Hot Spot” caused by using flash too close.
-When you have no choice but a flash; use it sparingly like in a group setting or for a gravestone that is in shaded area.
-Many libraries and research facilities prohibit flash photography.
-Come prepared to shoot without flash.

The first problem you will always face is lighting. He shows examples of cemetery headstones in morning sun, mid-day sun, sunset and an overcast day. The best light outdoors for cemeteries in an overcast day. In the information he will send to you is a whole section on how to work with headstones. Simple ticks on using a water bottle and spraying the face you want to cover on a white stone. It will darken it up enough to give you a darker image.

Photographing Unbound Pages
-Mount your camera on its stand, in shooting postion.
-Use a white sheet of paper, or the white painted cookie sheet.
--Set the pre-set white balance on your camera.
--Choose auto white balance if your camera doesn’t have a pre-set option.
-Place your document in position and anchor it with magnets.
-Select the camera’s macro mode if necessary.

Take a new cookie sheet and on the back cover it with white contact paper. Use magnets the best are the ones you get from the insurance guys and cut them up into strips. It’s a nice way to get a clean flat surface to take you photos.

Photographing Unbound Pages
-Zoom in so document is properly framed.
-Make sure the focus is clear and sharp.
-Set the camera’s self-timer, and press the shutter.
-View the picture on the LCD; zoom in and check for the proper focus, and exposure (brightness and contrast). Can you easily read the text?
-If the focus and/or exposure are incorrect, make the camera corrections, and re-shoot the document.

Books can be a problem, because the pages seldom lay completely flat when the book is opened to a normal reading position.
-Shoot book pages with the cover held up at the 80-degree angle.
-Rotate the book so spine is facing the back of the copy stand.
-Open the book to the first page you want to shoot.
--Make sure there are no shadows falling on the page.
--Hold the front, or back cover and the pages preceding the one you are shooting.

In one of my trips I came across a clue that said that there was a women that donated some documents to the library of Virginia. I kept trying to call this archive for multiple days saying I don’t have time to come out but would you please photocopy them. I finally got a hold of him and he said Mr. Ewell we can’t do that for you. Guys money isn’t the issue I don’t have time to come out, I’ve been in the field 10 days and my plane goes back tomorrow. Barry you don’t understand there are a hundred volumes here. I said I will be right up. Thinking that I still have a 6 hour drive to the airport and the things I need to do. I drive back up the other way. When I get there I see these volumes and something magically happens.

I set up my items there and I am taking photos. My wife was going to come in and we were going to spend a few days together and I’m saying I can’t leave I gotta get this stuff. Her plane lands and I am still four hours out from Washington. She calls and says sweetheart I am looking for you. I’m here. Where? In Virginia, four hours away. I said I would be right there but ½ an hour later I am still taking pictures. As I left the University there’s a strong spirit that says this is why I sent you to Virginia. I realized that the work is just more than photos but it was capturing the work that would be done for this women that had spent 25 years capturing pictures and documentation. This was a live, live document.

I made that decision on the way to pick my wife up that I would extend my trip for an extra 2 ½ weeks. I came back to the University about a week later and set up for four days just taking these 100 volumes of information. There was this whole idea if I going, am I only capturing my own family? That is the beauty of the camera you can capture a lot more than just what you are looking for. It’s frustrating to think that you have a photocopy of something and then it says refer back to page 452. Not good if you only have page 453.

Photographing Bound Pages
-Set the timer and press the shutter button halfway down and hold in position for a few seconds to give the camera time to adjust the automatic focus and exposure settings.
-Check to make sure the focus is correct before pressing the button all the way down so the timer releases the shutter.
-Before photographing the next pages, place the opposite cover down on the table.

What is nice about the camera is that I can capture two pages at a time. If I need to split the pages I can do it in my photo editing software. If I take pictures right side up or upside down I don’t care I can turn it in the software. Even if my image is crooked I can set it up in the imaging software. Digital photography without the digital editing software is kinda hard to work with.

Photographing Bound Pages
-Slide the book back into position so that it is under the camera, with the spine of the book next to the stands.
Note: if the page is upside down, that’s ok. You can fix that during your editing.
-Repeat for each page, turning the book around each time.

Using Voice Recognition Software for Scanned and Filmed Documents
-Page Photographed
-Need to turn into a Word Text File to use in family history, website, etc.
-File Size 239 Words
Voice Recognition
-Naturally speaking (Speaking and Editing) 2 Min 23 Sec.
-99% Recognition
Data Entry
-Data Entry into Word (Typing and Editing) 6 min 45 Sec.

I went down to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and in the index I found 75 histories of both sides of my family. I am taking 500 pictures and we say I would like to get that in a text format. Well, I don’t want to be typing 500 pages again. What I do have is a digital recorder and I use a software, Dragon Naturally Speaking, I can speak into the headset and it will type it automatically for me. I spent 10 hours over a period of weeks and I had a transcript that I read into the digital recorder. I put it into the jacket and I synced it up into the software in about and hours time I had 400 pages of script that I never had to put my fingers on. You give commands to the software so it knows what to do with it. For me it’s about 98% correct.

Photographing Oversized Pages
-Set up your stand, and adjust your camera.
-Open the large book/page.
-Adjust the camera and take photos.

I was in one of the libraries and I came across this map 18” x 24” and I had my camera up. I wasn’t able to get the whole document so I got up a little higher on the chair. Next thing you know I am standing on the table. I look down and there is a librarian looking up. What are you doing? I’m sorry, I got down and I said I got to work this out. This isn’t going to work.

Here is a secret for Photographing Oversized Pages
-If the page is too large for your camera (e.g. map, newspaper) consider taking multiple photos which can be “stitched” together in editing program. For example:
--Use card: START
--Use card: 1 Top Left:
--Use card: 2 Top Right
--Use card: 3 Bottom Left
--Use card: 4 Bottom Right
--Use card: END
-Rotate the book/paper as needed.

Like most genealogist it is exciting to gather but it might be a few months or years before we are able to get back to the materials we gathered. When I am able to take this document and reassemble it I know how it fits together. It makes it really simply to work with.

Common Experiences of Photographing Photos
-Photos are tucked away in trunk, glued in albums, etc.
-Access to the photos requires owner to be there with you.
-Sometimes photos are already in book or magazine.
-Photographs are captured best with scanner.
-When scanner is not available, digital camera is next best thing.

Type of photos expected:
-Usually black and white.
-Tintypes and sepia toned portraits.
-Color photographs.
-Old negatives.
-Printed in book/magazine
-Cut out from/printed in newspaper.

I had that opportunity to sit in at an aunt’s home and scan photos. I was there all day and I only had one day to do it. As the day was drawing near I didn’t have time to finish the scanning. I made sure I did all the photographs but then when it came to paper documents I used my camera. Sometimes that is all that you have the ability to work with. You found that photo in a library and that’s the only image you have seen available. That camera is going to give you the ability to bring home and you are going to have that picture of that relative, it’s not going to be a photocopy, it’s going to be a good solid image. With a few little tricks you can make it almost as good as the original.

Photographing Photos
-Mount your camera on it’s stand, in shooting position.
-Use a white sheet of paper/copy stand.
-Place your photo in position and anchor it with magnets if desired.
-Select the camera’s macro mode if necessary.
-Zoom in so photo is properly framed.
-Make sure the focus is clear and sharp. Set the camera’s self-timer, and press the shutter.
-View the picture on the LCD; zoom in, check for the proper focus, exposure (brightness and contrast).
--Make sure you don’t see any reflections, hot spots, etc.
-If the focus and/or exposure are incorrect, make the camera corrections, and re-shoot the document.

Photographing Microfilm
-Hold the camera up next to the lens. Or place your camera on a tripod located in front of the reader screen.
-Place a white paper (or other color) on the read surface as the target area for shooting.
-Adjust the camera/tripod position so the information you want to copy fills the LCD frame, not the viewfinder.
-Focus and or set the macro mode if necessary. This will depend on your camera model and how far away it is from the microfilm reader.
-Make sure the flash is turned off. Set the camera’s self-timer if needed.
-Gently press the shutter button halfway to lock the exposure and focus.
-Press the button completely down. If using the tripod; move away from the camera and wait for the self-time to trip the shutter.
-Take several shots. Consider using the “best shot selection” and/or auto bracketing your shots if your camera has these features or manual bracketing if it doesn’t.

Photographing People
-Enjoy taking photographs
-Take close “tight” photos of your subject.
-Take candid pictures.
-Use natural light.
-Avoid harsh shadows.

Photographing Children
Make picture-taking a part of your everyday life with children. Children are always climbing, building, exploring, and trying out new things.
-Begin a photo tradition.
-Be patient
-Shoot at eye level
-Take candid pictures
-Include friends
-Get close
-Lets kids record their world.
-Place your subject off-center

Photographing Buildings
-Choose your angle, avoid distractions
-Include an interesting object in the foreground
-Take pictures of the buildings architectural details
-Include people when appropriate
-Use lines to lead the eye
-Wait for the right light
-Consider the direction the building is facing.

Telling a Story
Take a sequence of pictures that convey the main point of the project – tearing down a wall, digging a hole, showing a horse, taking a trip, walking in the steps of ancestors. Include all the steps.
-Start with a “before” shot.
-Include people
-Show details
-Shoot at different angles.
-Fill the frame.
Photographing Family Gatherings
-Scenes from the funeral.
-Get close

Photographing at the Cemetery
-Take photos of the cemetery entrance, sign, book of records, and church.
-North, south, east, and west: Best time of day for photographing headstones
-Large headstones need a close-up of inscriptions.
-Family grave plots need group and individual photos of each headstone.
-Consider taking photos of all headstones in small community cemetery.
-Look at the base, top, sides, and back of headstones.
-Take eye-level photos of headstone inscriptions
-Talk to the sexton.
-Take the time to clear grass and other foliage away from inscription.
-Use a little chalk for the hard to read old headstones.
-Tilt your camera to the angle of the headstones.
-Black and gray polished marble shoot at angle.
-Try using flash on shady headstones on cloudy days.
-Try soft brush or natural sponge and water to remove surface soil.
-Never use hard objects or stiff brushes to clean the stone.
-Removing lichens with sharp objects most often destroys surface.
-Keep a written record.

Photographing at the Cemetery
-Some items to consider as part of the written record include:
-Map of the cemetery with stones numbered.
--When photographed (time, date, and frame number).
--Transcription of the epitaph.
-Post your photos of headstones on family websites of sites such as Virtual Cemetery.

In closing: The same principles I talked about with using the camera apply to the scanner. He showed how he was able to use his imaging software to clean up some photos.

This presentation is available on DVDs #132 for UVPAFUG members to borrow or purchase.

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