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Preparing images

WritersServices Self-publishing

Images for your book

Print technology allows black and white images to be printed within the book using our Print on demand technology. (When we say 'black and white' we mean both line drawings where there are no shades of grey and half-tone images such as photographs.) Full colour printing is also possible for POD now although the finish is matte rather than glossy. It works well to include a b/w image inside, along with a caption, but you can have a colour image on the cover.

It helps if you can enhance your pictures. You will normally start with a colour image. You might have to scan the photo first. If your file is about 2Mb, it probably has about the right amount of detail. This allows you to scan at a higher resolution. Remember that if you plan to expand the image you will, in effect, be reducing the DPI. (72 DPI is fine for screens but at least 300 DPI is needed for printing). It is normally better to do the enhancement work while the image is still in colour and then change the image to black & white when the work is done, as there are more tools available for manipulating colour.

Be prepared to trim the image so that you can focus the attention of your reader. If you remove most of the background, you might find that you have to make fewer compromises with the other adjustments.

Have a look at a few books and see which images work.

Then you need to:

  • Convert to B/W
  • Enhance contrast
  • Lighten

Converting to B/W

All image-processing packages offer the chance to remove colour and render the image in shades of grey. It is best to do this first and before you start performing other adjustments. Some packages offer to convert your picture to a sepia tone but this still needs to be turned into tones of  black and white. To optimise the printability of your files, use 8bit greyscale with at least 300 DPI.

Enhancing contrast

It is important to distinguish between contrast and brightness. A low-contrast image is grey. A high contrast picture has blacks and whites, and little in between.

Adjusting brightness

If a photo is too dark or too light, details are lost. You can play with the contrast and brightness controls to achieve the effects that will work in the book.

Finally, you might want to use various tools that software provides to sharpen or frame the image. With some software it is better to leave sharpening until the end so that you are not adjusting adjustments but it is worth checking!

What you want to end up with is a an image with strong highlights so the contrast and brightness will have to be a bit higher than what you would regard as normal. You can achieve some remarkable results which improve the focus of the photograph.

Software to edit your images

GIMP offers a free download of an excellent package which handles all the current image formats. This is a sophisticated programme and it is worth spending some time to learn how to use it.

Source of images

There are many image libraries but Google and Flickr both have images.

Don't forget to check that you have copyright permission and/or model release for your images.

Photo libraries Picture technologies Print technologies


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