Adding Photos to Find-A-Grave

In a recent email the topic of adding photos to Findagrave was mentioned. It got me thinking that one of the things I’ve often meant to do is to create a little “cheat sheet” of the steps involved in processing photos before I upload them to that site. It’s not that it’s that overly complicated, but it’s something that I do only sporadically, and so I always have to review it and re-learn it each time. Thus, posting a little cheat sheet on this blog will give me a quick way to review the steps in the future.

The guidelines on findagrave include a maximum file size of 350 kg (why did I think it was 250 kb?), cropped with minimal space surrounding the gravestone, and 300-1200 pixels wide. There are other guidelines too, but they mostly have to do with copyrights and are not an issue when using your own photos.

In order to be compliant with the above guidelines, I need to edit/process every single image before I can upload it.  Let me explain. The camera that I generally use to photograph cemeteries is an Olympus point-and-shoot purchased a couple of years ago. It’s a 7 megapixel camera and I like to shoot at the highest (or second highest) quality setting. So the photos coming out of the camera are way over both the size and pixel width limits set by findagrave. Also, I like to step back and get some context in the photos. If family members (husband, wife and young children) have separate tombstones, I like my photo to include the whole group. That way when I come back and load it on the computer, I can more easily locate the family in my genealogy database (assuming they are already entered). For findagrave, however, this means that I need to crop the original photo to avoid the extra space around the tombstone. Actually, I may have multiple crops of the original photo — one for each of the tombstones.

Over the years I have accumulated several photo editing programs. My main one is Paint Shop Pro. I use that for editing my “people” photos and creating digital scrapbooking layouts. I could certainly use that for the findagrave photos, but I have two freeware photo editors, FastStone Image Viewer and IrfanView, and I tend to use one of these for generating the findagrave photos. Both are great programs that I have had and used for a while now, but for this I will post the method I use in FastStone.

Note: If you are having problem seeing the screen shots, click on them to open them in a larger window. You can return to this page with the back button.

The first step is to run FastStone and navigate to the directory with the photos to be processed. When you first bring up FastStone you are in the browser view. If you double click on one of the thumbnail images, by default that image will appear in a full-screen view. If this happens, you can click on the ESC key to return to the browser view. Since I prefer to open the image in what they called the windowed view, I needed to change the settings. (You should only have to do this once.) See the screen shot below. The icon for settings is circled in yellow.

Screen Shot 1

On the settings window, I changed the “associated image opens in” to windowed view. I have left all the other options as is. Then just click the okay button to return to the browser view.

Screen Shot 2

The next thing that I like to do is rename all of the images to something more meaningful than the name assigned by the camera. The way I do this is to double click on the first image. This launches it in the windowed view per the setting change above. Next click F2 to bring up the rename window and just type in a new name. (Note that before clicking on F2, holding down the left mouse button will zoom to full resolution to make it easier to see the details of the photo.)

Screen Shot 3

I find it easier to now continue through and rename all of the files. The images can be advanced by clicking on the right arrow key on the top menu. The keyboard arrow keys should also work for this. Sometimes I come across an image that needs to be rotated, so I do that prior to the rename. When the renaming is completed, return to the browser view by clicking on the browser button (circled in red in the above screen shot).

The next step is to create the cropped images, so double click on the first image to go back to the windowed view. Bring up the crop window by clicking on the crop menu button (cricled in yellow on the next screen shot). Draw a bounding box around the first tombstone and click on  the “Loseless crop to file button” (circled in red).  I usually save the crops in a separate directory from the originals, so in the dialog box that pops up, navigate to the directory where the crops will be stored and enter a name. When you exit this dialog box, Faststone will automatically advance the crop window to the next image. So if there was another tombstone on the image you were just working on, use the left arrow key to go back and make the second crop. Continue until all images have been cropped, then use the browser button to go back to the browser view.

Screen Shot 4

At this point, we need to use the browser view to navigate to the directory where the cropped images are stored. Then highlight/select them all in the main browser window, then click on the F3 button to bring up the batch rename/resize window. (See below). First, we need to set the output folder (circled yellow), which in my case I make the same as the input folder. Thus the resized crops will replace the current crops. This is okay because the original images are stored in a separate directory.  Next I make sure all the files are selected in the left-hand input list window. Then I deselect the rename and ask-overwrite buttons, and click on the advanced-options (circled red).

Screen Shot 5

The advanced options button brings up the window in the screen shot below. If necessary you can navigate to the dpi tab and set that to 72dpi. I can skip this step, because these files are already set that way. So I set the size for the longest side to 600 pixels on the resize tab. (see yellow circles in the screen shot below).  Then hit the okay button (circled in blue in the screen shot below). This brings us back to the previous screen. To actually process the resize, click the start button (circled in blue in the screen shot above).

Screen Shot 6

The cropped images will be resized and Faststone will display the new size as in the screen shot below (see yellow circle). Just do a quick check at this point to make sure all the resulting images are smaller than findagrave’s limit of 350 kb. (Most likely they all will be small enough.) Now they are ready for upload!!

Screen Shot 7

I know this seems like a lot, but it actually goes fairly fast. I find it’s much easier and faster to do all the renames, then all the crops, then the batch resize rather than processing (reaname/crop/resize) the first image, then the second, etc.

Well that’s my little cheat sheet. Hope it’s useful!

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One response to “Adding Photos to Find-A-Grave

  1. 8 Megabytes is now the maximum size photo allowed.

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