How to Submit Digital Pictures for Magazine Publication

Most magazines now accept digital images. The question is will they accept mine!

I won’t answer that question I’ll leave that to you to answer once you have finished reading this article.

It’s only just recently that magazines have decided to accept digital images this is due to the image quality of early digital camera were not man enough for the job i.e. did not produce images with enough resolution and level of detail to reproduce well in magazines. Most Picture Editors on magazines prefer either slides or prints as this is mainly at present habit but is currently changing due to more professional photographers using digital cameras. A good reason your images may not be accepted is if you supply your images already printed, it’s OK to do this for your Granny, family or friends it’s a no no when submitting to a publication. Why, have a close look at your printed image the picture is made up of tiny dots and lines. When scanned by the repro department they have to blur your image to try to get rid of these dots and lines otherwise your image has a moiré effect so you end up with an image that looks bad. Your best option is to supply your images to the magazine on CD-ROMs again don’t use cheap ones they go wrong! You can get approx. 31 images onto a CD of 700mbs if each image is 22mbs in size.

Increase the resolution.

Digital photography and getting your pictures into print is supplying an image to the correct pixel size and resolution in a format that can be easily opened by another computers operating systems. What does that mean, well not everyone uses Microsoft Windows many publishers use Apple Macs some even use Linux if your image can’t be viewed IT WILL NOT BE USED!
Many magazines now included brief information on submitting digital photographs in the content section. Have a look at To see how to submit images to Photography Monthly. If in doubt, ask. Did you notice they want your image resolution at 300dpi, your camera only takes a picture at 72dpi, how do I know what size my image needs to be at 300dpi. Help is at hand here’s a link to a little tool, which will help with image sizes, pixels, colour depth and file size. it free. Its called Commercial Printing Information, there does not seem to be anything thing like this software anywhere else on the internet! Using this software to see what size your image can go to and then you can resize your image accordingly in your normal photo editing software.

Size matters!

The pictures pixel dimensions can be read with the above tool so dimensions of say 3200x2400pixels we would be looking for a file size of about 21mbs this would be OK for a full page. The above program can help you decide what size your image will be OK up to.

Why JPG?

Another problem magazine picture editors come up against is images supplied in a unusual format. To save problems later ALWAYS save images in JPG format. JPG format is optimised for compressing full-colour or grey-scale photographic-type digital images. The reason for using this format is that any computer system can open JPG images. Remember, not everybody uses Microsoft’s Windows, many magazine publishers’ use Apple Macs and some people are using Linux systems. Regardless of the system used all will read JPEG files.

Submitting work.

When submitting work remember to include your name & address with a brief synopsis of what is on the CD together with a high quality printout of your images and the file names of the images, this can be easily done in PhotoShop by going to File > Automate > contact sheet. Find the folder your images are in pick your paper size and number of images on each sheet of paper. Please remember someone has to look at these images so small images get a thumbs down as does too many. Don’t forget to stick a DO NOT BEND label on the envelope as CDs don’t like being bent.

New words we have learnt

Moiré effect – A moiré pattern is the combination of two or more patterns viewed at the same time.

DPI stands for dots per inch and is used with resolution
JPG or JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group is the name of the committee that designed the photographic image-compression standard.

Do’s and Don’ts of submitting your Digital Pictures


Do Make sure your images are to the correct pixel size and resolution.

Do Make sure you send a contact sheet of the images on the CD together with file names.

Do save in JPG format.

Do clearly name image files on CD-ROM.

Do use high quality ink and photo paper for contact sheets.

Do turn off time/date stamp, as it’s difficult to remove and takes time.

Do enclose return postage if you require your bits back

Do e-mail if you are unsure of what is required or how files should be submitted


Don’t e-mail huge unsolicited images

Don’t over sharpen images

Don’t send hundreds of images – be selective, send only pictures to do with that publication (*see below).

Don’t send pictures of different subject matter unless requested

Don’t use cheap blank CD-ROM’s, paper or ink.

Don’t send expensive storage media i.e. the card from your camera

Don’t use long file names remember, not everybody uses Microsoft’s Windows.

Don’t use 3rd party software on your CD’s to try to display your images when viewed.

*If the magazine is say an aircraft magazine don’t send irrelevant images of an say landscapes, animals etc… Stick to the magazine subject.