National Register Photo Guidelines

Based on the National Register Photo Policy Factsheet, and additional gudelines published by the National Park Service

  • Photographic prints are NOT REQUIRED by the NPS nor the THC.
     
  • High-resolution digital files are necessary for THC staff to determine eligibility of properties, prepare presentations to the State Board of Review, and help select the most representative images for the final submission to the NPS.
     
  • If a property has undergone any changes (through rehabilitation, partial demolition, or any other process) between the time of first submission of photos to the THC and the submission of a final nomination to the NPS, the THC is likely to request new photos that capture the integrity of the property at the time it is considered for listing.
     
  • Photographs submitted to the National Register as official documentation must be clear, well-composed, and provide an accurate visual representation of the property and its significant features. They must illustrate the qualities discussed in the description and statement of significance. Photographs should show historically significant features and also any alterations that have affected the property’s historic integrity.
     
  • The photographs must illustrate each exterior elevation, noteworthy interiors or details, and the streetscape.
     
  • The necessary number of photographic views depends on the size and complexity of the property. Submit as many photographs as needed to depict the current condition and significant features of the property. A few photographs may be sufficient to document a single building or object. Larger, more complex properties and historic districts will require more photos. A single building may be sufficiently documented with 10-15 photos. Larger districts will typically include up to 50 photos.
     
  • Copies of historic photographs can be particularly useful in illustrating changes that have occurred over time. Such images will be presented on continuation sheets.
     
  • For historic districts, photographs must document representative properties mentioned in the nomination text as well as characteristic streetscapes.
     
  • For guidance on photographing architecture and other historic resources, refer to the National Register bulletin How to Improve the Quality of Photos for National Register Nominations

Guidelines for Digital Photo Files

  • Set your camera to save color digital images as RAW or uncompressed TIF files. If these formats are not available, save as JPGs, but do not alter the images (other than naming the files) before saving them to a CD or portable media for submission to the THC. Do not use the JPEG setting on the camera if a higher-quality setting is available.

  • The size of each image must be at least 1200 x 1600 pixels at 300 ppi (pixels per inch) or larger (2000 x 3000 preferred). The resulting files should be 10-20 megabytes each. If your photo files are significantly larger (40 MB or more), reduce the image size. THC staff can asist you if you have any questions about file size.

  • It is recommended that digital images be saved in 8-bit (or larger) color format.

  • The file name for each color electronic image must correspond with the photo log included in the nomination. For example, the image files for the Gunter Hotel in Bexar County, Texas, would be saved as “TX_BexarCounty_Gunter_0001.tif,” “TX_BexarCounty_Gunter_0002.tif,” and so forth. Use four-digit numbers.

For additional information, contact the Texas Historical Commission’s National Register Coordinator.