Photographic Documentation In The Field

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Photographic Documentation in the Field

Contributor(s): David Germano


It is often difficult to do full cataloging of each photograph taken in the field on a daily basis. However, if you don’t do at least some documentation in the same day, very likely you will lose important information later. Thus we suggest for each day that you save a copy of this document with relevant information for that day, either by paper if you are without electricity or computer, or in a separate computer file. If you are looking for our guide to cataloging photos one by one, please see Cataloging Images in MediaPro.

The forms can be downloaded, and printed or used as computer files. You can download as a PDF for easy printing, or as a DOCX file for filling out or customizing:

If saving as a file, using the following naming convention. YYYY_MM_DD_Place_Photos_PhotographersTwoLetterInitials. Thus,

  • 2013_08_16_Thimphu_Photos_DG.

Or if you have more than one date and place,

  • 2013_08_16_18_Thimphu_Paro_Photos_DFG.

Please make the place indicated specific as specific as possible while still covering multiple sites with a single name. Thus if you took photos in Thimphu City at multiple sites, just say Thimphu rather than listing out all the specific sites; but if you only took photos at the Memorial Stupa, then say “Memorial_Stupa” instead of Thimphu.

The easiest way to do this is open the last one you created, and then do “save as” inside word, and change the date and place (if relevant).

Date(s) & Times

Use format of YYYY-MM-DD for dates; for date ranges, use YYYY-MM-DD to YYYY-MM-DD; for a series of non-continuous dates, YYYY-MM-DD, YYYY-MM-DD, YYYY-MM-DD.

Also indicate specific general time range – morning, evening; 10am-12 noon, etc. in as specific a form as you easily remember. Picture Numbers

Indicate the picture number range, such as DSC 01234-01456.

Storage Location

Indicate where the photos are, whether stored on a named memory card, the computer, or an external hard drive.


Indicate the places, preferably with as much detail as possible, since later you will forget place names.


The main intent here is to indicate the general content of the photographs in a descriptive sentence or paragraph.

If you have time or it is relevant, you may want to try to also separately list out subjects covered by the photographic group, such as “monastic ritual, masked dances, etc.”


If specific people who you have information about figure in the photographs, this is where you can note down their names and any relevant information.

General Notes

This is for any other information not covered above that you want to note down for future reference.

Provided for unrestricted use by the external link: Tibetan and Himalayan Library