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The editors of magazines are constantly searching for interesting, high-quality images and articles to feed the insatiable appetite of the newsagents' bookshelves. However, be aware that editors are busy people. Most publications print submission guidelines and a contact point - usually the picture editor. It is best to submit material in the manner requested, since to do otherwise makes more work for the relevant office and inevitably leads to delays.

Most magazines accept prints, transparencies or digital files on CD or DVD. Prints are an advantage in the sense that they may deliver immediate impact, but are not ideal from an editor's point of view because they must be scanned and are likely to produce lower-quality results. Sending original transparencies is inherently risky because they are quite likely to be lost or damaged. It is a sad fact that others will not treat them with the respect afforded by their author. Glassed transparencies are a potential disaster. The glass will break and the transparency will be ruined. Use flexible transparent plastic sleeves should you choose to follow this route.

Digital files on CD or DVD are probably offer the best and safest submission format. CDs are easy to post, replaceable, and deliver suitable quality. Magazine staff welcome them because they minimize the amount of work required to use them. However, it is vital to prepare a submission in the correct way. Images should be comparable in size with the dimensions of the relevant magazine's pages, and should have a resolution of 300dpi. Increasing the apparent resolution by interpolation might seem easy but picture editors are not stupid - they have seen it all before. Files should be in high-quality JPG or TIFF format and bear meaningful filenames. try using 1/1, 1/2, 2/1, 2/2 etc, or 1, 2, 3 etc, or just sensible English words such as landscape 1, portrait 2 etc. An index sheet showing small prints of each image, together with the relevant filename, should also be included. This enables editors to assess your work without having to read the CD. A4 index sheets should include about 12 - 24 individual prints. Label the index sheet, the CD and the CD case with your name and contact details.

Do not expect a quick answer. However good the images are, there are others of similar quality. It is not unusual for editors to hold images for six months - be patient. The hard facts are that most will be rejected with no comment - perhaps just a "with compliments" slip enclosed. It's a tough way to make a living.


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