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editing tombstone photos

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#1 Bead87


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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:46 PM

I am restoring an old destroyed family cemetery.  I have taken pictures of all the tombstones that I was able to find, but a lot of them are almost impossible to read.  I don't have a list of who all was buried there since the first one was in 1829. I am trying to edit the photos I took in an attempt to bring out the remaining inscriptions that are barely there. Do you guys know of any filtering or software that can help intensify very faint lettering on tombstones? I have tried Nero and Gimp with no luck. I have Adobe photoshop CS4, but am having trouble using it, it is so big and complicated! Please help me!!!

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#2 Chris Cosgrove

Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:37 PM

I photograph a lot of gravestones as a volunteer with the War Graves Photographic Project ( twgpp.org ) and if you get a really bad stone there isn't much you can do in the computer afterwards. If the data isn't in the image, it isn't in the image.


There are several useful techniques to improve the apparent contrast in a stone before you photograph it. First of all, lighting. Unless the stone is facing North, then try and get sunlight coming across it at a fairly flat angle - about 10 to 30 degrees. If the stone is facing North, or for whatever reason it is impossible to get sunlight on it at the optimum angle, then it is back to night time photography and oblique flash, again at about 10 to 30 degrees. Another technique which can improve a stone is to lightly spray the area containing the lettering with water. Let the surface of the stone dry off, and you will often find that the lettering is still wet and therefore darker, much improving the contrast.


Sorry I can't be more positive, and if I am preaching to the converted, I apologise twice !


Chris Cosgrove

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