Dec 24, 2015

How to Photograph Your Red Grid Marks

      Many people write to us and include photos of their marks, but unfortunately, quite a few of them are blurry or low resolution. I want to make sure that both you and our investigation team have the best record possible of your mark, so here are some guidelines for taking the best possible photos. I will assume that most will be photographing with camera phones, but if you have multiple kinds of cameras, it is helpful if we can get a higher quality photo that might come from a more professional camera. We appreciate as many photos as we can get (within reason) so photos from multiple sources are helpful.
If you can't email large size photos you can easily upload them to and send us the link.

  • Take two sets of photos: with and without flash.
  • When photographing without flash, do it in an area with bright, even lighting, such as in front of a bathroom mirror where many people have bright lights. Outside light during cloudy weather is also some of the best, most even lighting.
  • Make sure your auto-focus is focusing on the body part/marks. Auto-focus tends to focus on areas with contrast and hard edges so it's not uncommon for the camera to focus on what is behind smooth skin, such as a bookshelf or rumpled bed sheet, rather than on the more subtle tones found in the marks.
    • If you are using a camera phone this is easily overcome by holding the camera and subject very still (rest the camera on an object if need be) and then touching on or around the marks as you see them on your screen. This will tell auto-focus to focus there.
    • Now review the photos and zoom in to make sure the marks have been focused on.
  • Take up close and wide shots. Get as close as your camera can focus and then back off for another shot so that we can see where the marks rest on the body. 
  • If possible, take photos over successive days as the marks fade, but don't hesitate to send us the photos as soon as possible.
  • Make sure your camera settings are set to as high quality (as in megapixels or resolution) as possible. This setting is available on most camera phones.
  • Send us the original, unedited photo with no color enhancements or cropping.
Thank you and please know that your photos and information are part of our growing understanding of this phenomena.

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