A primer on submitting digital photos to the Neighbors page

Posted: Friday, September 22, 2000

What looks good on a computer screen frequently looks awful in print.

Submissions to the Juneau Empire from digital cameras are becoming increasingly common, since sending pictures by e-mail is often simpler and more worry-free than mailing or bringing developed photos to the newspaper. But new technology also means new problems, such as photos that reproduce poorly or can't be read by the Empire's computers. A few simple steps can prevent trouble:

Avoiding grainy photos: A 4-inch by-6-inch photo on a computer screen generally looks terrible if printed at the same size in a newspaper. The reason is a computer screen uses 72 dots per inch to display photos while the Empire uses 200. Put another way, the photo on screen needs to be about three times the size it will appear in the newspaper to remain sharp.

Pictures most likely to be troublesome are those shot with inexpensive cameras, which typically have a resolution of 640x480 pixels, or photos from more expensive cameras taken at a low resolution (hint: If your camera can store 16 large pictures or 64 small ones, don't opt for the 64-picture setting if at all possible).

At the same time, using a top-of-the-line camera or a "superfine" setting that uses all of the camera's memory for one picture usually isn't necessary. A camera with a resolution of at least one megapixel should allow this.

How to e-mail photos and information about them: Make sure pictures are saved in JPEG format, at a high-quality setting if possible. Uncompressed TIFF files are often too large to be received easily and other file formats frequently can't be read at all. Information about the picture should be sent as an e-mail message (not an attachment), with the photo sent as an attachment to the message. Include all names of those pictured if possible or practical. Event photos should include the date of the activity, a description of what occurred and a phone number for the Empire to contact if any questions arise.

Where to e-mail photos: Photos for the Neighbors page should be sent to msabbatini@juneauempire.com.

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