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User and Contributor Manual

Adding a Photo

One of the primary advantages to the database is its repository of photos - from mineral photos to locality photos to site maps, thin-sections, and more, searching and browsing photos provides a wealth of information. Contributing your photos to the database is encouraged!

There are three types of photos you can upload: mineral/rock photos, locality photos, and other photos. Each type of photo should be uploaded in the same manner, but will require some different types of data once the type of photo is selected.

Preparing Photographs for Upload

In order to maintain the integrity and educational nature of the photo repository, we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines.

Taking good-quality photographs

It is important to make sure any photographs you contribute are of good quality – poor quality photographs do not add any helpful information to the database. While you do not need to be an expert photographer, there are certain criteria to be conscious of:

1. Subject is clear and obvious. Do not submit a photo of a boulder to illustrate a 1mm crystal within it.

2. Subject is sharp and in focus. This is the most common factor in the quality of a photograph. Taking photos with a hand-held camera in poor lighting is the primary cause of blurry photographs. The easiest solution is taking photographs in sufficient light, but if that cannot be done, a tripod can be very helpful.

3. Subject brightness/color balance are correct. Some photos are too dark, too bright, or erroneously colored to accurately represent the specimen. You may need to experiment with your camera settings to produce an accurate photograph. Alternatively, editing software such as Photoshop, Gimp, Paint Shop Pro, etc. can be used to correct a photograph – however these tools should not be used to over-process an image, only employed to accurately display the specimen.

4. Avoid distracting backgrounds. Plain backgrounds of white, black, or grey are recommended. It is also possible to take photographs in a way that the background is out of focus.

5. File size and type are appropriate. We encourage uploading photos at camera resolution. By default, images are displayed scaled down to 1024 pixels wide, but users can zoom in and pan around images larger than that. The image file size must be at least 0.5MB. Use a .jpg file format for your photograph uploads.

If you have questions or need help with your camera or mineral photography set-up, there are many resources available to you:

John Betts -
Wendell Wilson -
Photography Messageboard -

Preparing Information for Upload

Once you have taken a photo and have verified that it meets quality standards, you will need to be sure you have the proper information regarding the photograph you are uploading. The type of information you will need depends on the type of photo you are adding.

1. Locality Name. Find the locality in the database – this is helpful in determining that you know the name of the locality as it is listed on You can either add your photograph directly from the locality page and skip entering the information manually, or use keywords from the locality name to search for the locality in a the general upload form. If you cannot find your locality in the database, you will need to search to be sure the locality is not listed under another name, and if you are still unable to find it, you will need to follow the instructions to add a new locality.

2. Scale information. Every mineral/rock photograph needs to have a scale – for specimen photos, this may be the size of the largest crystal, the specimen as a whole, the field of view of the photograph, a visible scale in the photograph (make sure the units of scale are described if not obvious – coins are not recommend, as they differ from country to country), etc. Locality photos can also include a scale: for example, the width of a vein.

3. Mineral/rock name(s). Up to 8 mineral names can be added to any one specimen – they should be listed in terms of importance. For example, a specimen of small brookite crystals on quartz should probably be listed as brookite first and quartz second, as it is the brookite that is the prime mineral of interest in the specimen.

4. Description. You will need to enter some text description to go along with your upload. For mineral/rock photos, this must include a description of the minerals in the photo (e.g. the yellow crystal is X, the blue crystal is Y, the matrix is Z); description of the appearance of the specimen is also strongly encouraged (e.g. interesting X habit, Y twinning, excellent lustre, intensely colored, etc.). This section can also include extra details about how you acquired the specimen, or other relevant information. For locality photos, this can be the date the photo was taken, or any description that adds to the information provided by the photo. While entering this information, remember that the search functions are keyword-based – adding descriptive words (such as color descriptives, terms such as “zoned” or “pseudomorphed,” etc.) that may be helpful for someone searching for a similar specimen is encouraged.

5. Parent/Child Photos. requires that you only upload one listing for any specimen. However, if you would like to add alternative views of a specimen, they can be added as a child photo to the parent listing. If you want to upload multiple images of a specimen in this way, you will want to consider which image will be the parent image (this will be the image displayed), and which images should be submitted as child photos (these will only display when viewing the specimen images in full screen mode). Child photos can only be added after the original parent photo has been uploaded, and will be discussed further under Managing Your Photo Gallery.

Upload a Mineral Photograph

To add a new photograph, you must be registered and logged in. You can add a new photograph from the blue header of locality page under “Edit,” then “Add Photo.” Alternatively, you can add a photograph from the header, using “Add/Edit Data,” then “Add a New Photo.”

Use the “Choose File” button to select the file you wish to upload (reminder: this should be the parent photo), then select “Upload.” This process may take a few moments, depending on the size of the file.

When the image upload is complete, you will be taken to the Photo Upload Form page where you can enter information about the photograph.

Replace Image

This section is used if you want to replace a photograph you have uploaded to the database. Since only allows one photo of any individual specimen, this is how to update a photo of a specimen if you have a new, higher quality photo of the specimen you want to add. Updating photos is only permitted with different photos of the same specimen – any additional specimens of the same mineral and locality should be uploaded as a new photo.

Current Image Data

This displays data regarding how the image is currently displayed on

Original Image Data

This displays data regarding the file you originally uploaded.

Photo Data


This area is used to enter the information for the locality of a specimen. If you chose to upload your image from the locality page, this information will already be filled in. If you uploaded from the general upload tab, you will need to enter one or more keywords to search for your locality, select “Check,” then choose the appropriate locality from the drop-down menu.

Specimen minID

Every specimen has a unique minID. If your photo contains a specimen which has already been issued a minID, please enter it here. If empty, a new minID will be allocated for your specimen.

To learn more about minID and why we use it, click here.

Photo Type

In this section, you must choose the type of photo you are adding. This is either a Mineral/Rock Photo, a Locality Photo, or Other Photo. Selecting the correct tab for your photo type will provide you with the appropriate set of data boxes to describe your photo. The content required for each type of photo is described below.

Mineral/Rock Photo

This tab should be selected if you are adding a photo of a mineral or rock specimen.

Mineral/Rock Name(s)

Here you will need to select the names of the minerals or rock types present in your specimen. Up to eight minerals/rocks can be listed for each specimen. These should be entered in order of importance of the species in the specimen.

If the mineral is already listed at the locality, you can select it from the Quick List to automatically add it to the list of minerals/rocks. If the mineral is not listed at the locality, you can enter the mineral name, select “find,” and choose the matching mineral from the drop-down menu – however, if you are selecting a mineral in this manner, you MUST include information about how the specimen was identified, or the image will not be approved.

Note: if you are adding a photo of a mineral that has not been added to the locality, the photo will not display in the locality gallery until the mineral is also added to the locality.

Collection Information

This section is used to record collection information of a specimen. You can select more than one of the available options.

Type of Photo

This section is used to designate what type of mineral/rock photo you are adding. The list includes the following:

  • Mineral/Rock Photo (full view)
  • Mineral/Rock Photo (close-up/photomicrograph)
  • Mineral/Rock Photo (close-up/photomicrograph using layer compositing)
  • Thin section (normal light)
  • Thin section (polarized light)
  • Polished section
  • Polished section (polarized light)
  • TEM
  • SEM
  • Cathodoluminescence
  • UV Fluorescence (Short Wave)
  • UV Fluorescence (Medium Wave)
  • UV Fluorescence (Long Wave)
  • Stereo View
  • Interference Figures
  • Mineral in Situ
  • Cut and Rough gem material

The type you chose here should match the photo you are currently editing information for.

Year Collected

This is used to document the year in which the specimen was field collected or mined – this does not mean the year you added it to your collection. If you do not know the year, leave this blank.


This is used to document the dimensions of the specimen. You can enter as much information as you have, but either Specimen Size or Field of View must be entered. Be sure to select the correct unit of measurement from the dropdown menu.

  • Specimen size – used to list the height, width, and depth of the entire specimen.
  • Field of View (FOV) – used to list the field of view of the photograph.
  • Largest crystal size – used to list the largest dimension of the largest crystal present on a specimen.
  • Weight – used to list the weight of a specimen (useful for gem material, etc.)

Locality Photo

Locality photos are for photographs of the locality itself – mine dumps, mine buildings, historical site images, maps, geological cross-sections, etc. Please do not post mineral specimen photographs in this category!


Enter a short title for the image.

Year Photograph Taken

Enter the year the photograph was taken – only use this if you know the exact year the image was taken! If you do not know the exact year, leave this blank.

Type of Photo

Use this area to designate what type of locality image you are uploading.

  • Site Photo (Modern)
  • Site Photo (Historical)
  • Geological Cross-Section
  • Workings Cross-Section
  • Geological Map
  • Topographical Map
  • Location Map
  • Share Certificate
  • Other Documentation

Other Photo

Photos designated to the “Other Photo” category will not count towards your photo upload “count.” There photos are for you to use in your personal pages and can only be viewed either as direct links or within specific subsections of Use this only for photos that do not fit into other categories. Locality is optional for this kind of photograph.


Enter a short title for your photo.

Type of Photo

Use this area to designate what type of locality image you are uploading.

  • Personal Photo
  • Mineral Named after
  • Unidentified Mineral
  • Mineral Label
  • Artwork
  • Miscellaneous
  • Mineral Cabinet or Display
  • Fossil, etc.
  • Mineral without valid locality
  • Fake Mineral
  • Venue for Event
  • Artificial/Synthetic crystal(s)
  • Lapidary
  • Analytical Data


Use this area to add any text description of the photograph. While entering this information, remember that the search functions are keyword-based – adding descriptive words that may be helpful for someone searching site photographs is encouraged.

For mineral/rock photos, this must include a description of the minerals in the photo (e.g. the yellow crystal is X, the blue crystal is Y, the matrix is Z); description of the appearance of the specimen is also strongly encouraged (e.g. interesting X habit, Y twinning, excellent lustre, intensely colored, etc.). This section can also include extra details about how you acquired the specimen, or other relevant information. Color descriptives, terms such as “zoned” or “pseudomorphed,” etc., entered here can be helpful for someone searching for a similar specimen.

For locality photos, this can include designating notable features (ex. mine buildings), including scale if it is not obvious (ex.: the width of a vein section), the full date of when the photo was taken, or any other information that adds to the information provided by the image.

Copyright and Usage

For details about the copyright policies, see Copyright Information.

To add an image to the database, you must have the copyrights to the image (any image you have taken yourself is your copyright), permission from the copyright owner (if you have had a photographer take an image of your specimen, be sure to check with them for this permission), or be submitting an image that is either out of copyright or has a license allowing upload to Do not upload images that you do not have permission to use.

  • License – Used to describe the type of copyright.
  • Copyright Notice – Used to enter the appropriate text to designate the correct copyright.
  • Copyright URL – Used to link to the webpage of the copyright owner (optional).
  • Your Catalogue Number - Used to input your personal catalogue number (optional).
  • Allow commercial use – This can be checked if you would like to allow to use the image in fundraising projects. Note: any use of these images will still provide photo credit.
  • My Rating – Used to rank your best and favorite images within your gallery. Setting all images at 10 will have no effect, so be selective in choosing your best images. These ratings only apply within your personal gallery.

Upload Your Photo

When you are finished entering the appropriate data for the image you have uploaded, select Upload Photo and Information to submit your image. If your image does not appear immediately, it has been added to a pending list for manager approval – this does not typically take long, and your image should appear in your gallery and the database shortly.

Managing Your Photo Gallery

Once your image has been uploaded, you can edit any of the data fields about your photographs, upload an improved photograph of the specimen, add additional photographs of the specimen, or request deletion of the photograph. Any changes made will not be updated until you select the Update Photo and Information button at the bottom of the Edit Page.

If you believe there is an error on a photograph from another member, either contact the member directly by use of the contact form on their home page, post a comment on the Mistakes & Errors Messageboard, or use the link on the photo page to create a “Talk Page” in the Messageboard.

Go to Edit Page

This page is used to edit information about a photograph – it is the same page that appears when you are initially uploading an image. To navigate to the edit page of a photograph:

Click “Edit This” (below the photograph) in your photo gallery.
Click “Edit This” (below the photograph) in the locality's gallery.
Click “Edit This” (below the photograph) in the mineral's gallery.
Click “Edit This” on the detailed display of the photograph.

You can use this page to add or update any information related to the image.

Replace Image

To replace an image with a higher quality image, use the replace image function. Choose a new file, and select “Upload.” Use this only to replace images with a new image of the same specimen or same locality.

Upload Other Photos of This Specimen (Child Images)

This section can be used to add a “child image” - this is used for adding additional photos of the same specimen, or similar views of a locality. This can be used to show both the front and back portions of a specimen, or showing detailed shots of portions of the specimen. Use this feature if you need to add additional images of the same specimen – remember, only one listing for any specimen is permitted, and all photos tied to this listing must be of the same specimen. Note that these additional images are not displayed as individual listings, but when the “parent image” is displayed in an image search, it will have an icon in the upper left portion of the image thumbnail to indicate there are child images, which can be navigated to when viewing the parent image full screen.

Select “Click here to add a child image,” which will direct you to the Photo Upload Form. Add the image and fill out the corresponding data as you would with any image. This image will be located within the detailed photograph view rather than as a new image listing.

Upload another image of a specimen (Mindat photo by another mindat member)

Perform the standard upload of one or more (if using parent plus child) photographs. Request the merger of the MinID number for the photographs. When the merger is done, all the photographs will be available on the main photo screen, but will be designated as the same specimen as follows:

1. Same photographer – results in parent/child images.
2. Different photographers – results in separate listings with the same MinID number.

Deletion Request

To delete an image from, please fill out the form located under Deletion Request and tick the “Please Delete this Image” box. Note that we reserve the right to reject image deletion requests where there is no valid reason given. If you request is rejected, you may enter further information and resubmit your request a total of three times. You can cancel a pending deletion request by unchecking the delete image box. If there are child photos associated with this photograph, please indicated if they should also be deleted, or which image you would like to make the new parent image.

See Ownership of Data under Joining for information about rights reserved by

Reason for Deletion Request – You will need to submit your reason for requesting the image be deleted.
Deletion check box – You will need to check the box indicating you want the image deleted.

Removal from Gallery

If you wish to remove a photo from your gallery, but not necessarily delete it from the database, you can chose to make the image listed as “anonymous”. Note that you cannot make a photo anonymous and still retain the copyright. Both boxes below must be checked to ensure that you understand that you are relinquishing your rights to the image.

I wish to remove this photo from my gallery.
I relinquish all claims of copyright on this image.

Mineral and/or Locality is an outreach project of the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Public Relations by Blytheweigh.
Copyright © and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2019, except where stated. relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.
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