Photo guidelines

We love it when our readers send us photos! Here are some guidelines to help your pictures be the best they can be in our newspaper and on our website.

  • We can accept digital photos from your camera or smartphone. We also can accepted pictures printed on photographic paper. (When submitting a printed photo, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want the photo returned, or arrange to pick it up after publication. Otherwise, it may be discarded after 30 days.)
  • We can’t use photos that were printed on a typical home printer on regular typing paper or photos from a newspaper clipping, torn from a magazine or copied on a copying machine.

PHOTO GUIDELINES

Pictures should:

  • Be in crisp focus
  • Be well-lit
  • Have a non-distracting background

Ideally, there also should be as few people in the photo as possible so the faces aren’t too small when printed. Pro tip: If you need to take a picture of a large group, also take some photos with just 1-3 people in them and submit several photos. We can run a couple of photos of most events.

Captions should:

  • Name people from left to right, starting with the people in the front row and working to the back.
  • Include each person’s first and last name, job title if applicable, and hometown.
  • (For photos of students) Include the student’s grade and/or age. It is okay to use just the child’s first name and last initial for privacy purposes if desired.

HIGH-QUALITY PHOTOS

We need photos that are high resolution (hi-res) for printing purposes, meaning they have many dots per inch (DPI).

For our purposes, hi-res photos are 300 DPI and have a file size of at least 1-10 megabytes (MB).

Low-resolution (lo-res) photos have fewer dots per inch, usually 72 DPI. Images on Facebook and most websites are low-res. (They are ideal for online use because they have smaller file sizes and thus load quicker online.) But even if they look fine online, these photos in print tend to look jagged or blurry (“pixelated”) because you can see the individual dots.

Here are a couple of ways to tell your photo’s resolution:

  • Check the file’s information: In a PC, right-click on the photo’s icon, select Properties and then Details. Scroll down, and you’ll see the dimensions in pixels (dots) and the DPI.
    OR
  • Estimate the resolution by looking at the file’s size: Hi-res photos are usually at least 1MB in size and often are about 5-7MB. Larger file sizes up to about 10-20 MB are acceptable. Don’t try to send multiple large files in one email; use multiple emails. A lot of email servers have a 10-20MB limit on email sizes.

Here are some rough rules of thumb about file size:

  • If the file is less than 250KB, it will only be suitable for use online.
  • A file size of 250KB-500KB might be usable as a small thumbnail-sized image in print.
  • A file size of 500KB to 1MB should be usable up to about 3×4 inches in print.
  • A file size of 1 to 1.5MB should be usable up to about 4×6 inches in print.
  • A file size of 1.5 to 2MB should be usable up to about 6×8 inches in print.
  • A file size of about 3.5MB should be usable up to about 8×12 inches in print. (The print area of our newspaper’s page is 10 inches wide.)
  • A file size of about 6MB or more should be usable at even larger sizes.

CAMERA SETTINGS

Digital cameras: If you set your digital camera to take photos at the finest resolution and the largest size, it is likely to be at 300 DPI.

Smartphones:

  • Be as close to the person/item you are shooting, and make sure the subject is well-lit. Faces in shadow will not reproduce well in print.
  • When you click “send” to email the photo to us, your phone should give you the option of various sizes the file should be. Choose “actual size” or the largest file size available.
  • Also, if you have the option of taking a photo in HDR mode (high dynamic range), choose that.

Film cameras: Ensure the photos are printed on high-quality photographic paper (not regular typing paper used by a home printer).

RESOURCES AND REFERENCES

Discussing photo resolution can get surprisingly complex. Here are some resources we found useful if you want to read more:

Is your image high enough resolution for printing?

High-res or low-res? How to make sure your digital images are suitable for print…

QUESTIONS?

If you have questions about photos you would like to submit to the newspaper, call the editor, Carolyn Bahm, at (901) 433-9138 or email her at carolyn.bahm@journalinc.com.