Gregath Company, Incorporated
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Basic Photo Education
Click here for more about photo restoration and custom services.
Photo Design Instructions and Examples
Publication Design IdeastabDesign Element Ideas

Leaford Bearskin, Chief of the Wyandotte NationLeaford Bearskin, Chief of the Wyandotte NationPictures can and do add considerably to a book. Often an author may fail to secure photo information, thinking that the use of pictures would be too expensive. While it is true that the inclusion of photos almost always increase costs, their use can be cost effective, while adding very nice touches to your valuable work. We can work from loose original color photos, black and white photos, color slides, black and white slides, sepias, tin types, most negatives (even cabinet cards) and assorted types of computer files (requesting 300 dpi minimum with 600 dpi+ preferred), etc.  While not recommended, we also can work from b/w or color copies.

Click here for Berry Ewell's Blog Post About Content & Selection

Please note that while we can work from computer print outs, they rarely produce printed photographs as good as using actual photographs.  Print-outs should never be smaller than the size you wish printed in the manuscript.  The larger a clear print out, usually the better photograph in the printed book.  While some photo "restoration" may be included in the photo fee, if the print out looses detail, fine details or overall focus/crispness can rarely be put back in easily or inexpensively.

Digital Submission
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Photographs submitted digitally (computer scans/photographs) should be saved one photo per graphic file.  When getting computer graphic files ready for submission, never reduce the size of the file, compress it in any way, or down-grade your file formats to .jpg or .gif (unless this is their source format).  Reducing the size or type of the file reduces the quality of the digital photo.  Generally the larger the base file size the more detail the printed photo will have.  Regardless of the file size however, if you wish a full page photo (up to nearly 6x9"), please do not submit a graphic file that has small (such as 1x1") dimensions unless that was the original size of the photograph. The higher the DPI the source has, generally the better the print. We suggest no less than 300-600 dpi. Each file should be named as you were labeling an actual photograph.

When not already embedded, submitting pictures this way is the most economical photo option for black and white offset printing, reducing the cost per manuscript page.

If submitted material are not individual computer graphic files (provided on disk), additional charges will apply.

We receive manuscripts, including pictures with the instructions "Do Not Cut Pictures", frequently. No printer that we know of would have any reason to cut your ORIGINAL pictures/submissions. In the printing process, digital or physical print [known as a half-tone] must be made in order to be reproduced on an offset press. Many snapshots are of one or a few family members, with a whole lot of unnecessary background. Most of these pictures show very little, if any, detail of the subject without a magnifying glass. Providing the photo is clear under a magnifying glass, if they were enlarged and the half tone "cropped for effect", the same size picture may show the subject(s) in much more detail to the general reader.

While it is usually a little more expensive at most publishing houses, we perform this "crop for effect" service, free of charge and the end result is much more gratifying. Our professionals will choose exactly where the half-tone should be cropped and/or enlarged/reduced at no additional charge to you.  After all, are you trying to show Uncle Ed or the yard he was standing in? Of course, there are times when the background is the picture. We also receive instructions to enlarge or reduce to a specified size without cropping and it is practically impossible to comply, because without cropping, the size specified cannot be reached from the original without warping the outcome. Enlargement or reduction should only be done overall, not in only one direction. When we face such a problem, we use the largest dimension, and let the smaller fall where it may. [If 3"x5" is specified, when we get to the 5" measurement, the requested 3" may be less than 3".] If an author prefers total control over their sizing and cropping (custom), this can also be done at an additional charge, in-house.  Authors can also send exactly what they want and mark "same size originals" at no additional cost.

There are several popular ways to mark your printed photographs for custom cropping. Below are a few:

  • Make a photocopy of your original. crop the copy and attach it to the original (turn the face of the photo and copy toward each other and use a plastic coated paperclip is generally a easy and safe way of attachment.)

  • Attach tissue/onion skin, etc. paper to the photograph. With a light touch make your crop marks with a soft lead pencil on the paper.

  • Make crop marks (lightly) on the back of the photograph.

There are several real problems concerning reproducing pictures that authors may not be aware of. The very best reproduction processes lose some quality from the original. Some "antique" photos are sent to the printers that are barely discernible as pictures. These pictures should professionally restored or computer graphic whiz (with a very good photo-quality printer or high dpi digital output), first. We do offer this service. Remember that the printer can do many miracles with size, but he is not set up to restore faded photos with any degree of certainty. Any old, faded photos sent to the printer will in all reality, probably only result in faded print and possibly disappointment.  For additional fees, we now offer limited photo restoration - please inquire if interested.

If you are preparing a manuscript for publication, take a critical look at the pictures. Do they show the detail you want? Is there too much unwanted background? Are the faces too light? Too dark? In many cases, there are no better pictures of the subject and in some cases, no others at all. In these cases, the question is, Can they be enhanced? Quite often, the answer is yes!   Because our halftoning process is now digitalized, we have added to our basic photo page fee some elementary "touch up".  Our staff will, at no additional cost, work with the photo submitted to get the best printed photo.  Additionally, staff will do limited restoration work (remove some dust or a crack from the background, etc.) as they see fit while working with submitted pictures. The free, value added service, described is left to the judgment of our staff as to the work accomplished.  Again, for more specific work, such as the mending of a hole, we now offer some photo restoration for additional charges - please inquire if interested. Additionally, in most major cities, a trip to the yellow pages will find a local photo restorer. When you have photos reproduced, compare them closely with the originals. Often the reproducer, to improve contrast, loses detail.

For best results, arrange your pictures on each page for placement, and copy the page (optional but requested). If manuscript is sent via computer file, make sure you leave blank spaces for the photos - not the photos themselves.  For hard copy originals, photos (or print-outs) should remain unattached to the page (or to each other), with placement and page ID on reverse of the photo. Example: 3 photos on page 23 marked/identified 23a, 23b, and 23c. Post-It notes are becoming popular for this type of identification, but can come off during preparation, causing loss of time as the author is contacted to re-identify the photo(s). The manuscript page should have identical photo placement notations in their blank spaces. If providing digital graphic files, name your files as you would label the back of a physical photo (above).

  • IF you are providing the half-tones, they should be trimmed and affixed to (or produced/saved as part of) the manuscript page, as a part of the camera ready manuscript,  to avoid additional expense beyond the standard non-process fee.  We do not guarantee satisfaction when using someone else's half-tones or computer generated originals. 

  • IF you are providing digital files separate from manuscript, please submit them in a non-compressed format such as a bitmap, tiff or Photoshop file scanned at minimum 300 dpi (higher dpi, generally better outcome - 600 dpi or higher is suggested).  Compressed files such as .jpg and .gif work fine online, but shouldn't be used to print a book with unless it is the only copy available.  The higher dpi the scan, the better quality photo file we will have to work with for the project.  Place only one photo per file and identify/name it as you would an actual photograph.  Currently, our company does not accept unsolicited files by internet, email, zip disks, nor files that span more than one disk.  Because of this, CD-R (Compact Disc - Read only) or USB ("jump", "thumb" or "flash") drives are the suggested medium for file submittal if not file sharing (Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Skydrive/Onedrive, etc.).

  • IF you are providing digital files for digital reproduction, files should be placed into (embedded) the book text file.  If extra photo work (fee service) is needed, double check to be sure file formats are compatible and write specific instructions as to what should be done to the graphic file, as well as the exact place it should be added to the manuscript.

Back to Digital Submission

All photos and/or digital media (disks, chips, drives, etc.) should be grouped and placed in the top of the manuscript box, before sending to the publisher. Note above, only actual halftones should be affixed in place - unless otherwise instructed.  Be sure to specify what the most important subject is when cropping alterations are possible.

For more suggestions on this subject and more, order our book:
wholesale price eligible G550-$20.00 WRITING Family History Or Genealogy For Pleasure and Profit Complete Edition, by Gregath Company, Inc., *updated* 2011. ISBN: 0-944619-00-2, 8½x11", softbound book, 126 pages, suggestions & examples of all facets of your project for the typist and/or computer user.
Also available on disk.
Note: All G prefix books 100 pages or more, this one included, that are SB can be special ordered in hard cover edition - contact for details.

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Page Last Updated: January 25, 2022

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