What’s a hi-res photo? Not all in outdoor media know

Not all digital photography is created equal. Find out why 120 product submissions didn't make the O.R. Daily last show.

We’re well into the 21st century, and while flying cars aren’t quite here yet, technology has come a long way to change our daily lives.

That includes our careers with an endless list of new tablets, operating systems and social media platforms to learn. In the media world, these new technologies are front and center and have further propelled the importance of a good image — whether it’s presented on old-fashioned print or new-age tablets.

But not all images are equal in the digital photography world, especially when it comes to print purposes, such as for publication in the O.R. Daily, which SNEWS produces. For these cases, the photo must not only be compelling and of good quality, it also absolutely must be of high resolution, or “hi-res” for short. That helps us make sure that the photo will display clean, crisp and unpixelated.

Many in media world will say they know what hi-res photo is (and we’d hope so, it’s a crucial part of the job), but we’re here to spill the beans, that about 15 percent of outdoor industry’s public relations folks aren’t up to speed.

How do we know? Before every Outdoor Retailer, SNEWS requests new product descriptions and hi-res photos suitable for print in O.R. Daily.  It’s a free section and quite popular. Last show, we received more than 800 submissions for some 250 available spots, which means we have to whittle down the list to our top picks.

Our first gauntlet: Is the photo hi-res? If not, it gets the chopping block. Last show, about 15 percent of the submissions were knocked out in the first round for coming in with low-res photos. That’s 120 submissions.

We used to spend time to contact the people and let them know we needed a hi-res shot, but that chewed up a lot of time, and it was unfair to those that followed the guidelines the first time around. Plus, in this day and age, every outdoor brand should expect its media crew to know what a hi-res photo is.

We get it. Photography budgets have been cut and some in upper management think they can save a buck by shooting product or people with an iPhone. (We regrettably receive those submissions too). We’re here to tell you, don’t skimp on good photography, it still matters, perhaps more than ever.

So here are some tips to help ensure you’re sending us a high-resolution photo:

>> Hire or consult a professional photographer with a professional camera. They’ll be well versed on the topic and the good ones will give you both hi-res and low-res versions of a photo, named accordingly, so you don’t get them confused.

>> Just because a photo looks good on a screen doesn’t mean it will look good in print. For printing purposes, the photo should be greater than 5 inches wide or tall at 300 dpi. The file size should be at least 2.5- 3.5 MB, if not greater. You cannot resize a low-res photo to make it hi-res. Once it’s low-res, it’s low-res forever. You’ll have to go back to the original photo to retrieve a hi-res version.

>> Check that your email program doesn’t automatically downsize hi-res photos to low-res versions. Many smartphones and tablets do this by default.

>> If you’re the CEO or president of an outdoor brand, test your public and media relations firms. Simply ask them to send you a hi-res photo of one of your products.

>>BONUS POINTS. Use our naming convention: BRANDNAME_ProductName_ColorOrVersionInfo.jpg. We would be every so grateful!