Editorial Photo & Artwork Guidelines

If you are asked to submit a photograph, screen shot or a logo to BZ Media, for use in a print publication, supplement or conference materials, please bear the following guidelines in mind.

Note that we have separate guidelines for people/products, logos, and screen shots. We also have some handy tips for taking better-looking photos of people — but send in what you have, we’ll try to make it work.

Photographs of People/Products

  • Photos need to be high resolution. Bitmaps that would look great on a Web page will look dreadful in print. The recommended minimum size for a bitmap file should be two inches across by three inches high, at a resolution of 300dpi — that is, 600×900 pixels, at the least. A smaller photograph may be usable, but frankly, it will probably not be.
  • Photos need to be in a high-color format. The best formats are high-resolution JPEG files (.jpg) and TIFF (.tif) files. We prefer not to accept GIF files (.gif) because they are only 256 colors. However, in case of doubt, send the file in and we’ll tell you what we think.
  • Photos should be in color. A color photograph will look better than a black-and-white photograph — but if all you have is B&W, send it in. As far as electronic files go, a 256-color image doesn’t reproduce well in print, so please use 24-bit or higher color depth.
  • Please don’t edit or alter the photograph. Please don’t crop it, modify it using Photoshop or anything; just send us the raw image, we’ll do the rest.


  • Please send logos as vector-based EPS files (such as an Adobe Illustrator file with fonts converted to outlines) if possible. If a vector-based EPS file is not available, send a 300dpi TIFF, JPEG or Photoshop EPS files (i.e., one that’s at least two inches long). Web-resolution logos will not be usable in a print publication.

Screen Shots

  • Screen shots should be the native bitmap file. A native bitmapped screen capture from Windows will be a huge .BMP file. This may be converted to a compressed TIFF file, or compressed to a .ZIP file for emailing. Do not convert a screen capture to JPEG or GIF, paste it into a Word or PowerPoint document, or otherwise modify the native bitmaps. Screen captures on other platforms should also be native bitmaps, typically in TIFF.

Need help?

If you have questions about artwork, please contact SD Times’ art director Mara Leonardi.

Hints for better-looking portraits

  • How to get a professional appearance. The biggest element is a clean, uncluttered background. You may also wish to have the subject wear business casual or formal clothing, such as a shirt with a collar instead of a T-shirt. If you don’t have a photo like that, send what you have, and we’ll see what we can do.
  • Side or front natural light is the best and most flattering. Taking pictures outdoors with overcast skies is best; a picture outdoors on a sunny day is also good, but direct overhead sunlight (near noon) is too harsh. If possible, keep away from indoor lighting, especially ceiling or fluorescent lights. Avoid unpleasant backlighting by making sure the subject isn’t standing between the camera and a window or lamp.
  • If you must use electronic flash… Reduce red-eye by asking the subject to look at the photographer, not the camera. Eliminate harsh and unpleasant shadows by ensuring that the subject isn’t standing or sitting within three feet of a wall, bookcase or other background objects. Another problem is white-out: If the camera is too close to the subject, the picture will be too bright and have too much contrast.
  • Maintain at least six feet separation between the camera and the subject. If the subject is closer than six feet to the camera, his/her facial features will be distorted, and the results will be very unattractive. For best results, hold the camera more than six feet from the subject. It’s better to be farther away and use the camera’s optical zoom, rather than to shoot a close-up from a few feet away.
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