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How to photograph a war memorial

How to photograph a war memorial


The NSW War Memorials Register has undergone essential maintenance and system upgrades from July 2023 to March 2024. Submissions about war memorials are being accepted from 11 March 2024. Submissions about individual veterans are not being accepted at this time. Read more here


Photographs are an important part of recording a war memorial on the NSW War Memorials Register. They document the memorial's physical characteristics, and provide a record of its condition, which can help identify conservation and repair issues. Following the below guidelines will ensure your photographs are of a suitable format and quality to be published on the Register.

We encourage you to download our full guide to photographing war memorials before you begin documenting the memorial. 

Please note:

  • any images submitted to the Register are subject to review under our Editorial Policy and reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution. We reserve the right to exclude or edit any photo submitted, without notice.
  • we do not generally accept photos that contain people. 

Minimum requirements

You must have at least one high-quality, clear photograph of the memorial in its entirety to submit a new or updated memorial to the Register. We also suggest you take and submit multiple photographs, as shown in the 'What to photograph' section below. 

Quality and resolution 

  • Please use the highest quality setting on your camera or device.
  • Set the image quality to high or fine. The minimum resolution should be 150dpi. 
  • Photos should be saved in jpeg, png, or gif format. 
  • Photos must be less than 8MB but as large and clear as possible. 
  • The image size of photos you upload should be at least 2 Megapixels in size, or approximately 1600×1200 pixels.


  • When possible, shoot with your back to the sun, as opposed to facing towards the sun; this will avoid potential overexposure and lens flare.
  • If you are taking a photo of a memorial in a glass cabinet, such as an honour roll, avoid using the camera flash, or take the photo from a slight angle to minimise reflections.

File names 

  • At a minimum, name your files with the name of the memorial. This will help you when preparing your submission and will help us when we review your submission. 
  • You can also include brief additional details in the file name, such as 'North side' or 'Left plaque', to easily identify the subject matter of the photo. These are particularly useful if you refer to these areas in your submission. 

What to photograph 

The purpose of war memorial photography is to clearly show the war memorial in its entirety, and with its key elements, without obstructions. To fully document the memorial, we recommend taking the below photos. Please also refer to the example photos on this page and in our guide to photographing war memorials

  1. Setting: Take a photo of the war memorial in its wider surroundings, including any gardens, trees, or plaques nearby. 
  2. Front: Take a photo of the front of the memorial, straight on. 
  3. Sides: Take a photo of each side of the memorial, clearly showing any details, inscriptions, or decorative elements. 
  4. Plaques and inscriptions: Take a close-up photo of each plaque and/or inscription, including any honour rolls, showing as much detail as possible. Pay particular attention to fully capturing dedications and veterans' names. 
  5. Damage: Take close-up photos of any area/s where there is damage to the memorial, or areas of concern. This may include graffiti, cracks, plant growth, unstable stonework, or deteriorated mortar joints. 
  6. Anything else you think is important to show about the war memorial, such as unique decorations, or the maker's name. 

Avoid photos where the memorial is being obstructed or blocked, such as by people or structures. Remember to always check your photos before leaving the area to make sure you have fully captured the memorial and that your photos are not blurry or otherwise unusable. 

Example - Gosford Cenotaph

The below photos were submitted to the Register in 2015 by Jason Connolly for the Gosford Cenotaph

1.  Memorial in its setting

This photo shows the memorial surrounded by the gardens of Gosford Memorial Park, with three flagpoles in the foreground. 

Gosford Cenotaph in its setting

2.  Front of the memorial

This photo shows the memorial's front side, as seen from Mann Street, Gosford.

Gosford Cenotaph, front view

3. Other sides of the memorial

The three other sides of the memorial are captured in the two photos below.

Gosford Cenotaph, side view


Gosford Cenotaph, side view

4.  Close-ups of plaques and inscriptions

One dedication plaque and one honour roll have been photographed in detail. The inscriptions and names are clear and legible. 

Gosford Cenotaph, close-up of plaque


Gosford Cenotaph, close-up of plaque

5.  Any areas of damage or concern 

This photo shows a crack in the stone work at the base of the memorial and the faded inscription on the re-dedication plaque.

Gosford Cenotaph, close-up of crack in stone and wear to plaque

6. Any areas of special interest

This photo is a close-up of the three service emblems attached to the top of the memorial on the right-hand side.

Gosford Cenotaph, close-up of service branch emblems