Photographs on the Cornish Stained Glass website

Mark Charter

Use of photographs from the website

We are usually happy to allow the use of our photos, but please contact us first. In some cases we may have available higher resolution versions than the ones on the website. We are entirely non-commercial, and this is the basis on which we have been given access to many materials and locations, so we do not make any charge for the use of our photos. We suggest that you might instead make a donation to the church where the windows are, or to a related charity. If we receive a request for a photo that we do not ourselves own, we will put the person requesting the photo in contact with the photo's owner so that they can discuss terms directly.

Contributing photographs to the website

We welcome offers of photos for the website, particularly of windows of which we do not have photos, or of which our existing photos are of poor quality. We do not need the copyright of such material to be transferred to us and we will acknowledge the ownership of each such photo in its caption.

The purpose of the photos on our website is to help with study and comparison of the windows, and so we offer the following guidelines for photographing of stained glass for this specific purpose.

Stained glass is designed to be viewed by transmitted light, so it looks best when there is as little light as possible reflected off it from inside the building. It is therefore better not to use flash on the camera, and not to have any interior lights on in the building, especially those shining on or near the window. An overcast, cloudy day gives a diffuse light that is better for our purposes; it illuminates the window more uniformly and reduces shadows that might arise from protective grilles or nearby masonry, trees, etc. Even on a sunny day, it will help if you can choose a time when the window is in shadow. This tends, of course, to be more difficult for south-facing windows.
Automatic exposure controls tend to over-expose stained glass (so that the brightest parts become featureless white areas), especially when the window is part of a larger photo of the church interior. Things that will help with this are
  1. Use automatic exposure bracketting (AEB), where the camera takes a series of three or more exposures, one at its ‘best guess’ at the correct exposure, and one or more at faster and slower shutter speeds than this ‘best guess.’
  2. Set the exposure manually to a faster shutter speed (shorter exposure) than the automatic system suggests, so that the bright areas of the window do not become featureless white regions in the image.
  3. Record the images as raw files (for example, .CR2 or .CR3 files from Canon cameras or .NEF files from Nikon cameras) as well as the more usual .JPEG or .PNG files. Raw files record a greater range of brightness, from the darkest to the brightest areas of the window, and also retain all the detail originally captured by the camera. They do, however, occupy more space on the storage card than .JPEG or .PNG files.
We prefer photos taken from, as nearly as possible, directly in front of the centre line of the window, i.e., not to the left or right of it. Sometimes it is necessary to stand to the side to avoid obstructions such as lamps, or parts of a reredos. If you are using a camera with a zoom lens, you can reduce the effects of persective distortion, such as converging verticals, by standing as far as possible away from the window and using the zoom to fill the field of view. Standing further back from the window will also reduce the area of the window that is obscured by objects in front of it. A greater focal length increases the chances of blurring by camera movement, but the usual rule of thumb is to keep the exposure time in seconds shorter than the reciprocal of the lens focal length in millimetres. So for a 50 mm focal length lens, for example, keep the shutter speed shorter than 1/50 second.
File names
We prefer to receive image files with the original filenames preserved exactly as on the camera’s storage card, typically something like IMG_1234.JPG. Renaming files to something intended to be more informative, for example 'Chancel east (lower left detail).JPG', is not, in fact, very helpful to us. Such long names are usually either unusable or inadvisable on a website, because they contain characters that either do not conform to web standards, or are likely to cause trouble even if they do, strictly speaking, conform. Location and other ancillary information is better stored separately in a short text file, as a list of original filenames and corresponding locations, for example
IMG_1234.JPG Chancel east whole
IMG_1235.JPG Chancel east left-hand light
IMG_1236.JPG Chancel east centre light
We prefer to receive photos at the original resolution of the camera sensor and without any processing of any kind. Even if we use them on the website at a lower resolution, the extra resolution is often useful for reading inscriptions and identifying details. If you have the original raw files (see above) that you would be prepared to let us have, that is even better; we have considerable experience in the raw conversion of photos of stained glass windows. If you have used some form of exposure bracketting (see above), we would appreciate receiving all the exposures, even if some appear to be of no use.

Intellectual property rights

As we ask you to respect our intellectual property rights, so we try to respect the intellectual property rights of those whose material we display on the website, by acknowledging its ownership and source. If you can provide information about material on the website whose origin is not properly acknowledged, please let us know.