Contributing to the Site|
Submission Guidelines for
The digital age has made it possible for us to share photographs in many new
ways. But it has also created new problems.
At "Trailblazer", we love to get your photos. And we really regret having to
turn photos down because they won't appear well in print.
The biggest problem for "Trailblazer" today is this: A photo that looks good
on a computer screen does not necessarily look good on the printed page. The
reason: They use different methods to fool the eye.
Fooling the eye
All picture media depend on fooling the eye. For instance, we see "moving
pictures" when still pictures are projected on a screen at 24 pictures per
second, each new picture showing things in slightly different positions.
Television shows us 30 pictures per second. It also fools the eye in another
way: The pictures are made up of 483 horizontal lines, which you can see if
you're close enough to the screen. The bigger the screen, the wider the lines.
Photos taken of TV screens usually look terrible on the printed page.
The printed page uses a pattern of dots to fool the eye. The rows of dots are
very close together, up to 150 rows per inch or more. The sizes of the dots
determine how "dark" an area of the photo looks in black-and-white. Dots of
three special colors are combined with black dots to fool the eye into seeing a
Computer screens use a series of dots, or "pixels". ("Pixel" is short for
"picture element".) Unlike the dots on a printed page, pixels are all the same
size. Each pixel varies in color and intensity.
There are more rows of pixels on a computer screen than there are lines on a
television screen. But a photo of a computer screen still may not look good on
the printed page.
Computer screens can have quite a few numbers of pixels per inch, depending
on how the monitor is constructed. About 72 pixels per
inch is a common standard. Web page designers sometimes work at a total size as
small as 640 pixels wide by 480 pixels high - about the best traditional
television can do - and it usually looks good on the computer screen.
Digital photos and scans are made up of pixels. Computers can convert these
pixels into the dots needed to show a picture in print. And experience has shown
that it the digital photo should have at least 300 pixels per inch at the size
the photo will be printed to make the photo look good on the printed page. A
photo that is 640 pixels wide by 480 pixels high would look its best at only
about 2.13 inches wide by 1.6 inches high on the printed page.
This means that a picture downloaded to a web site, or emailed to your family
and friends, may not look good in print.
Guidelines for photos
Here are some guidelines for submitting photos to "Trailblazer":
• The digital camera should have a resolution of at least two mega-pixels.
The more mega-pixels, the better.
• Avoid using digital zoom. It reduces the number of pixels in the picture.
• Save the photo at the highest quality available. This will take more room
in the camera's memory - but will help make the picture look its best in print.
• It's best to submit the original photo to us; that way we can have it
scanned to match our requirements. We'll return it to you.
• Second-best is a high-quality copy made by photographing the original print
on film. Copies made on copy machines usually lose a lot of quality. (Copies
made on do-it-yourself photo machines often seen in drug stores may work,
depending on the quality of the photo produced by the machine.)
• We can also use a high-quality, high-resolution electronic scan of the
original photo, following the suggestions below.
• If you're scanning a photo or having it scanned at a store, make sure the
resolution is at least 600 pixels per inch if the photo is smaller than 4 by 5
inches, and make sure the resolution is at least 300 pixels per inch if it's
larger than that. For very small snapshots, 1,200 pixels per inch is better.
• Do not use software to "adjust" the photo. We need the original file to
adjust it for the best appearance in print.
• Scan only original, traditional photos. Scans of photos from publications,
such as old issues of "Trailblazer", usually lose a lot of quality because of
conflicts between the dots in the printed picture and the way pixels are
Submitting digital photos
• Save the photo file in "tif" format if possible. If not, save it in the
highest quality "jpg" format you can.
• Never use software to artificially increase the number of pixels in a
photo. This just increases the size of the photo file without adding detail.
• Convert scans from color to grayscale; this reduces the size of the file.
• If the size of the photo file is larger than one megabyte, have it "burned"
to a CD instead of trying to send it by e-mail. Send
the CD to "Trailblazer" in a package designed to protect it from harm. We'll
return it to you.
Other factors enter into the acceptability of a picture for "Trailblazer". If
a photo is blurred, too dark, too light, or has other technical flaws, we may
not be able to make it look good enough to print.
Prints produced on home or office-type inkjet printers usually cause problems.
An 8-by-10 print produced on a six-color (or more) photo printer, however, may
And remember: We like to share your photos with the rest of our readers. We
just want them to look their best in "Trailblazer"!
Where to Send Your Items
For the TB send all material to:
Ms Diane Kessler
73 Providence Hill Rd
Atkinson, NH 03811
(603) 362 - 9737
For the Web Site send to:
404 Calgary Drive
Peachtree City, Ga. 30269