ANR Peer Review and Publication Production
University of California
ANR Peer Review and Publication Production

How to take publication-quality digital photographs

Many advances have been made in the process of preparing photographs for publication. Today, the prepress work for photographs is done in-house at Communication Services using advanced Photoshop software. Even so, there is a limit to what can be done with poor-quality photos, and some of these may not be acceptable for publication.

The total number of pixels determines the largest-sized print that a digital photo can produce. It is always better to have as many pixels as possible! Ideally, digital photos for publication will be of the largest size and highest quality the particular camera can produce. This allows the most flexibility in image manipulation and cropping. The image size should be at least 1200 pixels x 1600 pixels (2 megapixels) to produce an uncropped 4” x 5” print.

When shooting, the camera file format you want to select is an uncompressed format. RAW is best, and TIFF is acceptable. JPEG is a compressed format, and is often unacceptable. If JPEG is the top format the camera produces, however, the quality setting (compression) should be set at “Superfine” or “Fine.” But, depending on the quality of the camera, JPEG may not be acceptable at all.

Do not manipulate your photos in any way, including cropping, rotation, color correction, sharpening, or resizing, before submitting them for publication. You may make a JPEG copy of an image as an example or a cropping suggestion for the designer to use when processing your publication. Make sure the original and the example JPEG copy have the same or similar file names.

For more information or specific questions, contact Mike Poe, CS Media Services Manager.

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