Photography For The Writer: How To Send Digital Files

OK. So you have gotten the assignment and you are going to try your hand at taking photos yourself–but you have a major issue–how do you send in the files? If you are new to this type of thing, here’s a little help:

  • First and foremost, ask the editor to send you photo specs and how they want the files sent. Here you may hear terms such as dpi (dots per inch) and photo dimensions.
  • Some editors like to get a CD or DVD of the photos. It is worth your time to learn how to do this, and it isn’t too difficult to learn if you have a burner in your computer. Investigate what your capabilites are so that you know what you can deliver.
  • Some editors will ask you to upload your photo files to an FTP server. For this you will generally need a web address, user name and password. Getting the files on the server is very simple and usually a matter of just opening them and uploading. FTPs are all just a bit different but I’ve never had one that was too complex.
  • Some editors will ask you to e-mail the photos. If this is the case, don’t shrink the files down too much. Refer to the photo specifications before sending. This can get complicated if you aren’t photo savvy, so it may be easier to send a CD or DVD if you don’t have a photo editing program or decent digital camera.
  • Large files can be zipped and sent via e-mail as well. I’ve never done this, but basically it means that the files will go through e-mail because they are temporarily compressed. WinZip and YouSendIt are sites that offer this type of thing.

Now. You absolutely need to know a bit about your camera. Make sure you are taking photos on the higest quality setting. You should be able to find out how to do this by reading your manual. (We will have more info about what kinds of cameras work well for beginning writers later on, so keep your eyes peeled…)

There is more to this in terms of learning how to tell what dpi your photos are and re-sizing photos, but this should at least give you an idea of how files can be sent. We’ll have more coming on this subject as we go along…but this should help prepare you for your first conversation!

Photo above: Copyright 2008, Catherine L. Tully


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