Use Shaving Cream When Taking Tombstone Photos

My Dad, is on a genealogy kick. He's been going to a lot of old cemeteries, documenting old dates and info for births, deaths, marriages, number of children, etc. One problem he kept having was the dates not coming through on his camera, since the older tombstones turn dark with dirt, mold, etc. Now he carries a can of spray foam men's shaving cream with him, just for this very purpose. He'll spray it on the tombstone, smears it into the crevices of the wording and then wipes off the excess. Thus, leaving all the info he's in need of clear for the reading, which appears nicely in the photographs.


Source: Not sure where Dad got this info, but it works beautifully for him. Hope this can help others checking into their ancestry roots, too!

By Terri from NV

June 13, 20080 found this helpful

That's a REALLY GOOD idea!


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June 19, 20080 found this helpful

Well what a great tip. My husband and I used to trek to some out of the way cemeteries out here in MO and I would take photos and had that

problem. Now I will gladly pass this tip to him as he very dedicated to his work on his family history.

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September 18, 20080 found this helpful


They have a whole set of pamphlets for the education on tombstone preservation.

Cleaning A Gravestone

How to do Gravestone Rubbings:

Photographing Gravestones: A Few Basic Pointers by Trina Purcell

Tips for Photographing Gravestones, By Maureen Taylor

Suggestions for Your Cemetery Restoration and Stone Repair Toolbox

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February 8, 20090 found this helpful

Brenda, This may work well on granite tombstones, but it NOT a good idea for older limestone, marble or slate tombstones. Shaving creme leaves acids in the stone which helps accelerate breakdown of the stone. Better to bring a cheap 24 x 30 plastic mirror, and use reflection from the sun to illuminate the markings. Check out for some good non destructive methods for cleaning and documenting old tombstones.

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