Genealogy: Photographing oversized pages

Photographing oversized pagesBy 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 in places such as local courthouses, libraries, genealogical societies, family cemeteries, and long-ago home sites and the homes of those who have a portion of the family record.

The following is the process I use with my digital camera to photograph oversized pages.

  1. Set up your stand and adjust your camera.
  2. Open the large book/page.
  3. Adjust the camera and take photos.
  4. If the page is too large for your camera (e.g., map, newspaper) consider taking multiplephotoswhichcan be “stitched” together in an editing program. Ihave take a 3″ x 5″ cards and written one of the following words on each card:  Start, 1, 2, 3 4, End.   I place the cards around the large object I am photographing as outline below.  The cards help guide me as who what image goes where when I am stitching the image back together.
    1. Use card:  START (On top of page to be filmed)
    2. Use card: 1 (Quadrant 1) (Top nearest spine)
    3. Use card: 2 (Quadrant 2) (Top nearest right edge)
    4. Use card: 3 (Quadrant 3) (Bottom nearest spine)
    5. Use card: 4 (Quadrant 4) (Bottom  right edge)
    6. Use Card:  END  (Placed on top of the page just filmed)
  5. Rotate the book/paper as needed.