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What - besides rulers - can I put in my photos to indicate scale? What things are the same size all over the world? Answered

 I'd like to include scale-indicator objects in some of my photos; but rulers are boring, and dollar bills or US coins seem kind of US-centric. What small, preferably common-household-type, objects are the same size all over the world?



Best Answer 8 years ago

The credit-card format is pretty-much standard for plastic cards, and most people have a plastic card of some kind.


 Oooh - credit cards is an excellent idea - thanks :)

Just be careful not to show the card number. Use a dummy card, or something else that's credit-card sized but not a credit card.

Good point. I kind of figured that it went without saying, but it's probably good to say it. :)

I was figuring that I'd use my library card, which just has a pretty picture & the name of the library on on the front; or else blur-retouch out any personal info on old expired credit cards from defunct accounts.

Use your hand!
Or perhaps a yard gnome...
Human hand = better.

Or measure it in feet!


Actually, the gnome is a good idea.  Especially if it is a yard gnome; good basis of dimensions.

However, If its a smaller project, you would probably be better off with an inch gnome.

If you live in the UK, however, you may need to buy a gnome based off the metric system, such as a meter gnome or centimeter gnome...

How about good old-fashioned paper money? Playing cards? Pencils?

"...dollar bills or US coins seem kind of US-centric."

Hmmm...  Fair enough.

However, I suggest monopoly money...

Also, I found this:

Oooh - I like the monopoly money ... except wasn't that invented in the US? <g>

Yes, however, it asks specifically for things other than "US coins."  There is nothing about "US Bills."  Even though it mentions "dollar bills" monopoly money doesn't have a real monetary value, and, even if it did, it would be measured in either cents or pesos.

Hmmm,  let's see,  thimbles are about the same size everywhere, 9 v batteries, aerosol cans,  floppy disks 3.5 ",  CD's for that matter, flat irons (the kind you heat on the stove), and sterno cans....for a few.

So are they common exterior (landscape) or interior items?

 Interior, for the most part; but if, say all pine cones, or all pruning shears, were the same size everywhere, I'd be happy enough to bring a few inside.

Pine cones aren't; depends on species.

Pruning shears definitely aren't -- several different sizes exist in the US, and completely different designs exist elsewhere.

Why _not_ use a ruler? 

"Why _not_ use a ruler?"

Because they bore me. :)
(Not all the time. But I can only think of so many different aesthetically worthwhile photo compostions involving rulers, architectural scales, measuring tapes, and related paraphenalia.) 
(Not that you can tell by looking at them or anything, but I try to set up most of my "product"-type photos as the best little compositional still-lifes I can manage.)

OK. So the first challenge is to find something that will be familiar to viewers everywhere that Instructables (or whatever publishing medium you're using) will be viewed. Then to find something from that set that's standardized. Preferably standardized in metric dimensions, if you're serious about internationalization.

I tend to agree that a CD is an obvious choice for Instructables since anyone who gets here will almost certainly have those. And they might make nice display platforms for small objects. <grin/>

Tire Rims at one time.  I don't think that would be the norm for the USA nowadays, LOL.  What used to be 13" and 15" now 26" and 30".

Wood matches for the small stuff.
Although rulers are boring, those L shaped black and white striated rulers marked in inches and metric that they use on all the CSI tv shows (and in real life too oddly enough) do give an air of proffesionalism.
Here in Oakeyville they keep the Liar size in a locked glass cabinet at the local chemists. I'd thought about it, and asking for a packet would be the equivalent of branding a Liar Squared symbol on ones forehead. I had thought about getting Karroo Wife to ask for a packet - but Damn, she just can't keep a straight face. sigh. Whom I kidding.

Matches are are good idea - thanks. :)

The L-shaped rulers do have a professional all-teched-up sort of feel, which is good for some photos; but  I'm also on the look-out for things that lend themselves a little mroe to the artsy, for when I want to get all artsy-farty with my photos.

Lastly, just for you (and for the sake of procrastination :), and with my compliments to Mrs. Karroo -


That sounds like a use for someone's pencil collection

 (Rim-shot!!!) :) :) :)

Wow! I'm flattered to think that anyone's paying that much attention - and it's an excellent idea, too. :)

 I thought those came in at least three sizes: Small, Medium, and Liar. ;)

Batteries. AA, AAA.
Mobile phones - fairly similar around the world
memory cards
A USB connector
A PC mouse

-Tylenol capsule
-post-it pad