Why We Didn’t Print Your Photo

“Why isn’t my photo in the latest issue?”

I hear this one all the time — at trade shows, during phone calls, in emails. So I’d like to address it. I’m going to, in great detail and without prejudice, let you know exactly why we didn’t print your photo in Western Sportsman Magazine’s “Reader Submitted Photos” section (found in each print issue’s “Field Notes.”)

We Just Haven’t Printed It Yet

As you know, Western Sportsman magazine comes out six times per year. And we print anywhere between six to 18 Reader Submitted Photos per issue — at times more, such as our 2010 Fishing Roundup, found in the current May/June issue.

And we sell more than 30,000 copies per issue — and each one is read by as many as seven to nine different people. And a LOT of you send in photos. So if we haven’t printed yours yet — please, just give us time.

It’s Low-Resolution

Nine times out of 10 — if your photo never makes it to print, it’s because it’s “low-resolution.” What does this mean?

It’s simple: all print magazines have a minimum standard of resolution for digital images… this is usually about 266 DPI (dots per inch) at a given size. Anything less, and the photo appears grainy, pixelated and generally not worth looking at. But enough shop talk…

What this means for you is even simpler: In short, we’ll never be able to publish a digital photo in our print magazine that is less than 2,000 x 1,500 pixels in size. To find out how many pixels your image is, just click “File Info” (Mac) or “Properties” (PC). If it’s less than the minimum, we can’t use it.

To avoid a low-res image, simply ensure your digital camera is always set to its highest possible resolution. Finally — and this is VERY important — don’t allow your email program to shrink or alter the photo in any way. It must be sent “Full Size” or “Original Size,” otherwise it’ll appear in my  in-box as an unusable, low-res image.

(Further: you can bet that if it was shot with your cellphone, it can’t be printed. Even the iPhone 4 and Blackberry Torch have trouble shooting a crisp enough image to grace a glossy page.)

I know this seems draconian and heavy handed, but put yourself in someone else’s shoes: you’ve just paid $6.50 for the latest Western Sportsman, and inside you find a bunch of grainy, pixelated photos? We strive to produce the finest outdoors magazine in Canada, and that applies to all sections of our publication.

(Note: low-res images that are otherwise suitable will be posted HERE.)

It’s Just Unsuitable

You don’t have to tell me hunting and fishing can be dirty business. (You should see me after a day salmon fishing!) However, Western Sportsman generally will not print the following photos:

  • Images of excessively bloody fish or game
  • Images of hunters “sitting on” downed game
  • Images with visible gut-piles
  • Images that promote unsafe practices (i.e.: firearm pointing toward person)
  • Images of questionable moral, legal or ethical behaviour

There’s No Information

Subject: fish

From: fisherdude78@xxxxx.com

hi heres my fish pic caught last year pls print in next mag thx

Every week I receive e-mails like the above, usually accompanying a blurry, low-res image. If you’d like us to print your photo in one of Canada’s premier outdoors magazines, please take a minute to CLEARLY explain the who, what and where of the image. Also, please type “Reader Submitted Photo” in your email subject line — it really helps us out. Chances are, if you won’t take the time to be succinct and clear in your e-mail, we won’t take the time to read it.

It’s A Print

… or even worse, a “print-out.” If you’ve printed your image out on your inkjet or laserjet home printer, it won’t make it into the magazine. The quality is just not high enough. Sorry.

If you’ve mailed in a print… well, again, I’m sorry – we no longer accept prints. It’s 2011 — a cheap digital camera costs about as much as two rolls of film bought and developed. We don’t listen to cassette tapes, we don’t watch movies on our VCR and we don’t accept prints any longer. Thanks for understanding.

Let me say, though, we REALLY WANT TO print your photos. And we love receiving them. So please, make it easy on us — and we’ll make you famous.





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