Preparing your photographs for upload

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To upload photographs to mindat.org you need to be a registered user of the mindat.org site. Please do not add photos to the manual pages (here) as they will not be added to the mindat.org website. You have to add photos from the Add/Edit menu that is reached from the main mindat.org web page.


Taking good-quality photographs

It's important to make sure any photographs you take are of a good quality. While you do not need to be an expert photographer there are certain things you must make sure of:

  1. Subject is clear and obvious. Do not take a photo of a large boulder to illustrate a 1mm crystal within it.
  2. Subject is sharp and in focus. This is the most common mistake. Taking photos with a hand-held camera in poor lighting is the primary cause of this mistake. Make sure you use a tripod, or, if you cannot do this, take photos where there is sufficient light, such as outdoors on a sunny day
  3. Subject brightness/colour balance are correct. Some photos are too dark/too bright or the colours are wrong (often with Dioptase). You may need to take several photos at different settings on your camera, or alternatively use image-processing software such as Photoshop, Gimp or Paint Shop Pro to adjust your photo after taking (but beware of over-processing - do the minimum needed to correct the photo).
  4. Avoid Distracting backgrounds. Take your photos on plain backgrounds where possible, white, black or grey work well. If you take a photograph of your specimen on a glass plate several inches above the background, you can get the background out of focus and eliminate shadows from your specimen.
  5. We encourage uploading photos at camera resolution. However, there is no use in uploading a huge photo that is blurred - in that case resize your image to a sensible size. Use a jpeg format file for your photograph (.jpg file type).

By default, images are displayed down-scaled if they are more than 1024 pixels wide, but visitors can zoom in and pan in the image at full resolution.

A couple of good online articles about photographing minerals by John Betts and Wendell Wilson Mindat's Photography Message Board

Preparing for upload

Once you have made sure your photo is ready for upload, here is the checklist of the information you need before uploading.

  1. Locality name. Find the locality in the database. The easiest way to use this information is to add the photograph from the locality page - the locality information will be filled in and you do not have to enter or select the location. The other way to enter the locality name into the upload form is to copy the name (eg highlight the text then use Ctrl-C or copy on the Edit pulldown list) so you can paste it back (Ctrl-V or paste on the Edit pulldown list) into the upload form.
  2. Scale information. Every photo needs to have a scale, either size of crystal, size of specimen, field of view or some comparable feature in the photograph (such as a scale). Make sure that such indicators are described if not obvious ie. say the units are cm's if that is not visible on the scale itself (coins are NOT good size indicators since not everyone knows the size of a US quarter coin or euro).
  3. Mineral Name(s). Up to 8 mineral names can be added, list them in terms of importance for the specimen. A scattering of tiny Brookite crystals on Quartz would probably be listed as Brookite first and Quartz second, as it is the Brookite that is the prime mineral of interest in the specimen. If you enter varietal names or synonyms they will be fixed for you on upload. If you add the photo from the detail locality page, the first mineral will already be filled in.
  4. Description. You will need to prepare some descriptive text to go along with your upload.
  5. Also, we now have a new option 'parent' when adding a photo. The idea for this is to allow people to upload more than one photo of an individual specimen - which is sometimes a good idea - What will happen then is these secondary photos will NOT be shown in the main part of the site. but when you view the first photo, you will be able to select and view the other photos connected to that 'parent'. PLEASE only use this for photos of the SAME SPECIMEN or it will not make much sense. If there are no other photos of the specimen in the mindat.org database, leave this field empty when uploading photographs.


What if I can't find a locality

If you can not find a locality in the mindat.org database then you need to add the locality (while we have a lot of localities, we don't have them all in the database). Instructions for creating a new locality entry




Delete a locality Upload Photograph