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Requirements For Photographs

All photographs intended for reproduction by the half-tone or the rotogravure process should conform to certain requirements.

All photographs intended for reproduction by the half-tone or the rotogravure process should conform to certain requirements.

First: The standard size of photographic prints to be used for illustrations is 5 x 7 inches, but two smaller sizes, 4 x 5 and 3½ x 5½, as well as larger sizes such as 6½ x 8½ and 8 x 10, are also acceptable. Professional photographers generally make their negatives for illustrations in the sizes, 5 x 7, 6½ x 8½, and 8 x 10. If a writer uses a pocket camera taking pictures smaller than post-card size (3½ x 5½), he must have his negatives enlarged to one of the above standard sizes.

Second: Photographic prints for illustrations should have a glossy surface; that is, they should be what is known as "gloss prints." Prints on rough paper seldom reproduce satisfactorily; they usually result in "muddy" illustrations. Prints may be mounted or unmounted; unmounted ones cost less and require less postage, but are more easily broken in handling.

Third: Objects in the photograph should be clear and well defined; this requires a sharp negative. For newspaper illustrations it is desirable to have prints with a stronger contrast between the dark and the light parts of the picture than is necessary for the finer half-tones and rotogravures used in magazines.

Fourth: Photographs must have life and action. Pictures of inanimate objects in which neither persons nor animals appear, seem "dead" and unattractive to the average reader. It is necessary, therefore, to have at least one person in every photograph. Informal, unconventional pictures in which the subjects seem to have been "caught" unawares, are far better than those that appear to have been posed. Good snap-shots of persons in characteristic surroundings are always preferable to cabinet photographs. "Action pictures" are what all editors and all readers want.

Fifth: Pictures must "tell the story"; that is, they should illustrate the phase of the subject that they are designed to make clear. Unless a photograph has illustrative value it fails to accomplish the purpose for which it is intended.

Reference book: How To Write Special Feature Articles

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