Your Guide to Taking Better Cemetery Pictures
Seriously, I have a guide to taking better pictures of a cemetery. Let me explain:
Many years ago, I was commissioned by Arbor Memorial Gardens Inc. to photograph their many cemetery properties in Ontario. It was good steady work, and I loved doing it. I found spending time working at the cemeteries was really relaxing and meditative.
Arbor was very pleased with the results. So much so that they asked if I could put something together that gave advice on how to take good pictures- a ‘Tips Book’, if you will. The book was intended for the managers and staff of Arbor’s cemeteries nation wide so they could, on occasion, take their own pictures. They did hire other professional photographers across Canada to photograph the properties outside of Ontario (seems they didn’t have the budget to send me around the country), but often they needed an image that was originally overlooked, or of some new garden or product. In that case they were hopeful the managers and/or staff would take them.
At the time, I created the document with a bit of a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ attitude- I thought a little humor would be warranted, as it did seem odd to give advise about photographing cemeteries. When I look at the guide now, it make me cringe a bit- it’s pretty unpolished. But you know what, I think the advice is solid. I’m sure there is information in here that people can benefit from (or have a good laugh at). So, without further ado, here is the guide (click for PDF):
Ps. I gotta tell you, photographing cemeteries really helped develop my eye for the power of perspective. Often, I had to hide unwanted elements and try and enhance others (mostly hide). I did this by changing the camera position closer or further, left or right, or higher or lower, relative to what I was shooting. It’s amazing how one can alter a scene and change the perception of things by changing CAMERA POSITION.
Remember this- “Perspective depends only on your position. It has nothing to do with your lens. Shorter or longer lenses don’t change perspective; they just make framing tighter or looser. Different lenses require you to move closer or farther way to get the framing you want, but it’s the change in position that alters perspective, not the lens.” -Ken Rockwell