Occasionally it may be necessary to use submitted photos for press releases. Submitted photos are those that are not taken by our staff photographer but are provided by an outside source. In such instances these photos should meet certain technical specifications to ensure the high quality of the images sent to media outlets for release.
The following are a few guidelines to consider when submitting digital photos to our office. Photos that do not meet our minimum technical requirements are subject to use by our discretion.
Resolution is important
Resolution can be a difficult concept to grasp, especially when it comes to using digital images in print. Not only is the resolution important, but the “intended size” of the printed photo must also be taken into account.
Photos we send to newspapers are typically 4x6 inches with a resolution of 200ppi (pixels per inch). In this case we assume the image will be printed at 4x6 inches while the 200ppi resolution ensures the photo will be sharp and detailed.
If you’re not sure about the resolution of your image there are a couple of other ways to determine if it’s usable in print:
- A 4x6 photo that is 200ppi has a physical size of 800x1200 pixels.
- The area of an image this size is 960,000 pixels - roughly 1 megapixel.
So, if the shortest side of your photo is 800 pixels, or if your camera has been set to shoot with at least 1 megapixel, your photo should be sufficient in quality.
If you are familiar with applications such as Adobe Photoshop, you might realize that it is possible to increase the stated resolution of an image. This is usually referred to as “upsampling.” This means that the imaging program has to create data out of nothing to achieve the new, higher resolution – usually resulting in an image with poor detail. Therefore, nothing has really been done to fix the problem. The original resolution image didn’t have much detail. The upsampled image won’t have much detail either (although it may appear somewhat less jagged).
The photos below give a good illustration of this point.
Make sure it’s an image format
Photos submitted in Word documents or PDFs can be problematic. Make sure your photo is in a format dedicated to images. JPEG, TIFF, BMP, EPS and PSD are several popular image formats. We can accept any of them, plus a few others.
Our favorite format is JPEG since it is a compressed file and, therefore, takes up less bandwidth and storage space. When saving your JPEG images using Photoshop, we recommend choosing a quality setting of “high” to “maximum.
As an alternative to submitting a digital file, you may provide us with a hard-copy print or slide that we can scan and return to you at your request.