This week I’m doing an illustration for the cover of our Entertainment Tri-State section.
The feature is on the upcoming holiday Lion’s Club Arts and Crafts Show. We had some images submitted but unfortunately there were some problems with them.
I’m going to take a moment to discuss some general guidelines on submitted pictures.
A good cover photograph is hard to come by. Not only does it need to be visually compelling, as a cover photo it needs to be composed to allow empty space for headline, body copy and other promo elements. It also needs to have high clarity and resolution.
The size of a typical photo album snapshot is about 5 to 6 inches at its widest point. This is what most folks are used to when they talk about picture size. For a two or three column photo anywhere in the rest of the newspaper, that’s a fine size. But for this cover, the finished image will need to occupy about a 9-inch square.
Now, anytime you increase the physical size of an image, the image resolution decreases proportionately. Anytime you blow up a photo of your uncle Elbert’s face, you also blow up his big bushy eyebrows and the whole image begins looking blurry.
So right off the bat, any submitted photo print would be at a disadvantage, as we’d have to nearly double the size to fill the space.
Digital image sizes are often difficult for most people to judge because the only reference to file size is two numbers; physical size (in inches or picas), and resolution in (pixels/inch.) I don’t know of many people who pay much attention to those numbers as much as they do the image file size (usually about 300K.) When you send an attachment in an email, the paperclip icon includes this file size.
A good rule of thumb for submitting cover quality images is to be 8 to 10 inches and at least 200 dpi (dots per inch.) This gives a file size of about 8 megabytes.
Sometimes the digital images we receive are of printable quality (200 dpi but the physical size is only a few inches.
The photos for this week were at a high resolution of 300 but only 1.3 inches wide.
Secondly, photos of an arts and crafts show or any other exhibition, for that matter, invariably consist of people looking at stuff. So aside from concentrating on one particularly unique craft (such as the cool stone carvings by Earl Grey that can be used large) there tends to be a lot of background clutter of other exhibitioners and a crowd of folks milling about. They also tend to be a bit dark. O.K., My digital sermon is done. With that being said, we’ll need to “punt” photowise this week and look for a compelling image that would promote a holiday arts and crafts show. So Dave Lavender has suggested a drawing of Christmas elves in a toy making process. Tune in later and I’ll have some rough ideas by then.