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Photo Editing Techniques Used At Newspaper Offices

December 19, 2013 IADT General, Photography 0 Comments

Photo Editing Techniques Used At Newspaper OfficesPhoto editing discussions often spark controversy. From airbrushing away extra pounds to changing a person's skin tone, every photographer has an opinion on altering photos.

But photos destined to land on the pages of a newspaper do need editing. Soft, absorbent newsprint has a slightly gray tint that makes unedited images look muddy and flat. Photos must also fit the visual format of the newspaper. Ultimately, editing makes newspaper images pop.

Adjusting Contrast

Before you submit a photo for an editor's approval, increase the contrast. All colors should appear vibrant, shadow areas should be dark and highlights should be bright with defining details still distinct. Soft, muted photos with little tonal range will not reproduce well on a newspaper page. Use the Levels feature in Adobe Photoshop to increase the contrast in the highlights, midtones and shadows of the photo to give the image definition and clarity.

Color Adjustments

Your digital camera's preview screen is not calibrated to the same standards as the newspaper office computers or the printing presses. To make the colors in a photo look realistic, adjust your image based on the press output specs. A photo editor can provide these numbers and help you edit the photos to match the capabilities of the printing process.

Web-ready Versions

Because many newspapers now offer the same content online and in print, you have to edit each image twice: once for print and once for the web. Internet-based images will be resized to 72dpi, a much lower resolution than paper-printed photos, which often print at 300dpi. Web-ready photos require fewer contrast adjustments because they are viewed on the illuminated screen of a computer or hand-held digital device.

Cropping for Space

As a news photographer, learn to shoot every situation in both a vertical and horizontal orientation. You won't know what format the editors need until they begin designing the newspaper pages. If you only submit horizontal images and there's space for a vertical photo, the image will get cropped. Cropping can change the content, emotion or story-telling ability of the photo. Avoid this edit by creating a variety of usable images for each assignment. The blog post Digital Photography Tips and Tricks will show you how to take clear, usable photos.

Do you think this amount of photo editing coincides with photojournalism ethics? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Photo credit: Stock.xchng

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