(Professional photographer Norman Taylor taking pictures of a mounted Dipper (Cinclus cinclus)).
We regularly hire Norman to come in and take pictures of our specimens. Sometimes these pictures are for an exhibition or display in the galleries, other times it is just to have a good visual record of our collection so that it is easier to identify things quickly when looking though our database. There are occasions when researchers want to see a picture of a specimen before they come to visit to see if it displays the characteristics they are looking for, or because they can get the information that they need just from the image, saving them a trip. If, for whatever reason, the specimen was lost, having a visual record of it means you still have valuable information on its appearance; this could be sent to the Police if it was stolen or at least give an idea of scale if it was destroyed in a fire. When an object goes in for conservation treatment to be cleaned or repaired then it is always useful to have before and after photos, then you have a record of what has changed/improved in appearance. If the specimen is sent out on loan you always take a picture to be sure that when it is returned it is in the same condition as when it left, as it is the responsibility of the person/organisation you are lending it to to look after it and keep it safe.