Photography Production

Professional Publishing (Designers)

The quality of every printed piece that Seattle Children’s produces is another way to reinforce our vision to be an innovative leader in pediatric health and wellness. Working with approved vendors and printers will help us reach the high-level of quality that we strive for. Below are important steps toward achieving the best photography reproduction possible.

Scanning Film Negatives

To ensure the best color match, always release film negatives with an approved contact sheet or print, and instruct the printer to balance the scan to that color sample. See the Photography Quality Checklist later on this page.

Depending on the paper stock the image will be printed on, the printer may have to make special color adjustments. For example, uncoated papers are more absorbent than coated papers, and printing images have to be prepared in prepress differently to accommodate the absorbency of uncoated papers.

Digital Photography (Photography Taken with a Digital Camera)

Generally, the higher the dots per inch (DPI), the sharper the printed image. A 2-megapixel image is 1200 × 1600, so at 300 DPI it will reproduce well at 4″ × 5″ or smaller. For 8″ × 10″ reproduction, the image should be at least 6 megapixels, assuming no cropping or resizing. Keep in mind that these guidelines are not absolute. Your lens, lighting, CCD quality and method of printing all play a part in the final results.

Color Proofs and Color Correction

When a photo (print, film, or digital) is released to the printer, it is important to request a loose color proof, calibrated to their press. It is appropriate to scrutinize each photo on the proof and ask the printer to adjust any colors (see the Photography Quality Checklist later on this page).

Any color comments you make should be reviewed and approved on a revised loose proof. Or, if the color adjustments to the first proof are minor, a composite (with all content and the approved color photos) color proof should be approved. This composite proof is often the final proof you see before going on press.

Attending press checks is recommended. This is your last chance for quality control and allows you to make final color adjustments (within the limitations of the printing press) with the pressman.

Halftone Photography

When the use of four-color photography is not appropriate or to complement a four-color photo, color halftones may be used. There are a variety of ways to achieve desired results. Please consult with the printer for the best approach to meet your needs.

Photography Quality Checklist

    • Balance scan (to the contact sheet or print)
    • Balance color. Photos should not be overly saturated in one color – too yellow, too red, etc. (If the photo is being printed as a color halftone or black and white, the shadows, mid-tones and highlights should be adjusted to have a full range of value so they do not look flat when printed)
    • Scans should not be flat or washed-out (full weight of color)
    • Add contrast (if the scan looks flat and is missing highlights and shadows)
    • Make sure there is sufficient resolution in digital photographs
    • Open up detail and brighten highlights (many digital photos tend to be dark overall)
    • Add contrast (digital photos often look flat)
    • If a photo begins to look grainy, often too many adjustments have been made to the electronic file or it is being reproduced too large for the available resolution. You may want to instruct the photo lab or printer to rescan and hold the detail and smoothness, or find an alternative image.

Desktop Publishing by Seattle Children’s Staff

The quality of every printed piece that Children’s produces is another way to reinforce our vision to be the best children’s hospital. Using appropriate photography and striving for above average reproduction are important ways to represent that vision. Below are important steps toward achieving the best photography reproduction possible for desktop publishing.

Photo File Formats

Photos in the Photo Library are available in JPEG format. This is a bitmap format, generally available for placement in Microsoft Office applications. Please discuss your use with Emily Maltby at ext. 7-5264. She will help provide the best size.

Digital Photography (Photography Taken with a Digital Camera)

Digital camera resolution is measured in megapixels. One megapixel consists of one million pixels/dots. The more megapixels, the higher the resolution and the better quality of the photograph. A 2-megapixel image is 1200 × 1600, so at 300 dots per inch (DPI) it will reproduce well at 4″ × 5″ or smaller.

For 8″ × 10″ reproduction, the image should be at least 6 megapixels, assuming no cropping or resizing. Let’s say you take an image at 100 DPI that is one square inch in size. It is composed of 100 × 100 pixels. It may look good at one square inch.

Now blow it up four times to four square inches. Since it still contains the same 100 × 100 dots, it will now only be 25 DPI, and it will now look grainy. That’s why you always have to consider the final reproduction size and not the original resolution.

Keep in mind that these guidelines are not absolute. Your lens, lighting, CCD quality and method of printing all play a part in the final results.

Photography Reproduction Considerations

Because there are many ways projects may be produced (desktop inkjet printer, color copier, black and white printer etc.), always insist upon accurate color matching. Poorly matched colors may weaken impact and lessen the effectiveness of the photo. Adobe Photoshop is an effective tool for color management.

Note that documents created with Microsoft Office are unsuitable for professional-quality reproduction (e.g. offset printing).