Gravestones aren't designed to entertain the public, a gravestone is actually there to mark someone's final resting place and for their families to peacefully mourn their beloved. Although I admit to looking at some historical graveyards and wondering if they had a contest to win beyond the graveyard. But it's fairly impossible to know how the deceased would like their gravestone to be treated, therefore we should all play it safe and keep off their graves.
I understand there's some people who would be comfortable with sitting on their grave, but not everyone thinks like that. Please don't try to justify messing around on someone's grave because you're okay with it, it actually makes you look childish and assumptious.
I don't think the amount of time should affect the amount of respect given, a graveyard may be over a hundred years old but that doesn't mean you can treat it as a playground. Despite the length of time the deceased may still have families who pay respect to their ancestors, please be careful of anything around the gravestones such as flowers or vases. I would be quite angry if someone was posing pretentiously across my grave for Goth points.
Besides gravestones cost a lot of money and if you damage it you'll probably be handed the bill. The main rule to follow in a graveyard is to simply be respectful, not touching or stealing things are rather obvious but sadly some people don't think it applies to them.
Tips for graveyard photography.
- Check whether you need permission first, some graveyards don't allow photography. If someone asks you to leave then don't argue back, just politely apologise and leave.
- Read up on possible state laws.
- Don't remove anything from the graveyard, that dried flower might look like a good prop but it doesn't belong to you.
- Obey posted signs.
- Don't leave anything behind, including litter etc.
- Please be relatively quiet in a graveyard, you don't have to impersonate a mouse everytime you visit but avoid any screeching or honking laughs. I regret walking past a graveyard with my friend who has the dirtiest laugh, she cannot stop herself from laughing or even tone the volume down. I was mortified, you know who you are!
- Do not disturb anyone, don't take photos of someone without their permission in a graveyard and try changing your camera settings so the "click" noise is quieter.
- Check opening and closing times, getting locked in and spending the night in a graveyard won't be fun.