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Home Submitting Photos Formatting Photos Using Photoshop
Frequently Asked Questions PDF Print

Q: How do I format my photos for submission to the photo competitions?

The key thing to keep in mind when formating photos for submission is that the projector we use in the competitions has a (maximum) resolution of about 1920 x 1200 pixels. This means that any photo that exceeds this size in either dimension, could end-up being cropped by the projector. Furthermore, down-sizing the image from the "native" resolution coming out of your camera significantly reduces the file size. This helps when emailing the files and takes-up less space in our hard-drives.
With this in mind, here are a few simple steps to process your photos for submission:

1) Open the file in your photo editor of choice

This could be almost any basic photo editing software. Most people use Adobe Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) so the tutorial will assume you are using Photoshop Elements. The steps are similar with most other photo
editing packages.

2) Open the image resizing window

Go to Image -> Resize -> Image Size to access this window. This window allows you to change the pixel dimensions (i.e. resolution) of your image.

3) Make sure both the "Constrain Proportions" and the "Resample Image" checkboxes are checked.

The "Constrain Proportions" option ensures that the vertical and horizontal dimensions are reduced proportionally. This is what you typically want since otherwise your image will look "distorted".

The "Resample Image" option ensures that the image will actually change in pixel dimensions (resolution). Keep the drop-down menu in "Bicubic" (this should be the default) or "Bicubic Sharper". The drop-down menu determines the algorithm the software uses to resize the photo. The default option (Bicubic) works fine for most cases so you need not worry too much about it:)

4) Change the "Pixel Dimensions"

There are two possible cases here:

a) If your image is horizontal - change the "Width" to 1920

You will notice the "Height" will scale proportionally to something below what it was originally (because earlier you checked "Constrain Proportions"). Now have a look at what is the new height:

- If the height is less than 1200 you are ready to move to step 5.

- If the height is still more than 1200, then enter 1200 under "Height". Remember: our objective is to fit the new image on the projector which is 1920x1200. You will notice that when you set the "Height" to 1200, the "Width" will reduce further automatically. You are now ready to move to step 5.

b) If your image is vertical - change the "Height" to 1200

You will notice the "Width" will scale proportionally to something below what it was originally (because earlier you checked "Constrain Proportions"). You are now ready to move to step 5.

Note: because here you started with a "Vertical" image, if you scale the height to 1200, it is impossible to get a width of more that 1920 (assuming "Constrain Proportions' is checked). This is why you don't have to double-check the width like we did in case a) above.

I have this feeling someone will ask the inevitable question: "what about square photos? Is this a 'vertical' or a 'horizontal'?" Ok, smarty pants, here's your answer: just do exactly the same as if it were a "Vertical Image". You will end-up with a 1200x1200 size photo which fits fine in the 1920x1200 projector frame.


5) Save the file

Go to file->Save As. For file format choose JPEG. 

The .jpg file label should be last name, first name and title of the image. For example, if your name is "Joe Johnson" and your image is titled "Bull Moose" you would name the file:

Johnson Joe Bull Moose.jpg.

Don't be afraid to use spaces in the file name.

Now, press the "Save" button. You will now see the "JPEG Options" Window. This window allows you to set the compression settings for the file. This helps keep the file size small. Choose "High Quality" in the drop-down menu (corresponds to a quality setting of 8). This compression setting reduces the file size significantly while keeping a very high image quality.

Press "OK" and you are done!

This may sound a little complicated but it is easy once you try it. In essence, all we are doing is keeping the file smaller that the 1920x1200 projector "frame".

Optional step: some photos benefit from a thin frame around the image to separate them from the projector background. If you would like to add one, do the following before saving the file:

- Select the complete image (Ctrl+A in a PC, or menu Select->All)

- Go to Edit -> Stroke (outline) Selection

- Choose a color that contrast with your photo (say white for a dark photo)

- Select 1 or 2 pixels for width

- Select "inside" for "Location" and leave "Blending" at "Normal", "Opacity" at 100%

- Press OK.

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