How to Take Photos for Newspapers

Carole Anne Tomlinson

Because newspaper staffs are shrinking and because their editors and publishers are seeking more interaction with their readership, it is now easier to get your photos into your local publication. Taking photos for newspapers could be anything from cute “enterprise” photos of kids playing in a park to on-the-spot news photos of fires, accidents or other events. Here are some tips for taking the kinds of photos newspapers seek.

The traditional view of a newspaper photographer is not that close to the way things are done today.
Carole Anne Tomlinson

Things You'll Need

  • Digital Camera
  • Adobe Photoshop (Or Another Photo Manipulation Program)
  • Apple Macintosh Computer

Get close. Photos of people or events are better when they are close and fill the shot.

Get the fronts of people, not the backs. The sides are OK, too, but you need to see a face.

Get identification. Newspapers generally will not print photos with the names of people and where they live. The rule is: If there are 3 to 6 people easily identifiable in a photo, get the names. If it’s a large crowd shot, it isn’t necessary to get everyone’s name.

Call the newspaper editor who will use the photo. If it’s a photo of an accident or a fire, call the City Editor or Managing Editor. If it’s a photo of kids playing, you can call the aforementioned, or the features editor. Tell the editor what photo you have and ask if he would like it. If so, ask in what format the photo should be and what’s the best way to get it to the newspaper.

Format the photo as per the editor’s instructions. If she wants it as a JPEG or TIFF, format it that way. Most newspapers use Adobe Photoshop for photos, so it’s a good idea to use the same thing. This is particularly true to add caption information. To add a caption in Photoshop, go to the File menu and choose "File Info." Here you can insert your name as the author (photographer) and write the caption. When you save the photo, the caption will be embedded, so it will stay with the photo as you transmit it.


  • Don’t format the photo to size or color correction because most newspapers will have specific standards for this and will take care of this formatting. Don’t save photos in unusual formats. The two most basic and standard formats are TIFF and JPEG. Don’t assume newspapers use PCs. Most newspapers use Apple Macintosh computers. If you bring photos to newspapers on CDs, make sure they are compatible with Macs.