Genealogy: Photographing in the libraries

Genealogy: Photographing in the librariesBy Barry J. Ewell

For over 40 years I have used the camera to capture the lives of my family and friends.  The camera has been a very important tool in my professional career in public relations and advertising.  I first started with a film camera and spent hundreds of wonderful/fun hours in a dark room developing and printing my on prints.  Since the late 90’s I have used the digital camera extensively in to aid in my genealogical research.

I would like to share with you a few of the lessons I have learned when photographing in libraries.

  1. Know the policy about digital photography before you go.
    1. 80 percent of libraries have allowed me to use a digital camera with some criteria.
  2. Do not use flash.
    1. Usually prohibited due to photo sensitivity of artifacts.
  3. Set up photo stand or tripod.
  4. You may need to sign an intended uses statement.
  5. May need to have one of their staff handle rare objects.
  6. Only take photos of intended artifacts.
  7. No photos allowed of interior of building or people—especially in government buildings.
  8. Set up camera in a corner away from others so as not to disturb.
  9. Set up near a window to gain most from natural light.