Help us get the best fly photos online

Please notice that this article series was started in 2002!
Back then digital cameras were few and far between, and film cameras, macrom lenses and scanning your flies in a flat bed scanner was the order of the day.
Today most people have a digital camera (or even a phone), which can do decent macro shots, and much of what you can read here is very out of date. But the general methods and advice still holds, and the articles should still be worth reading.

By Martin Joergensen

The rules of thumb are the following:

  • Do not mind settings for DPI (dots per inch) or absolute measure (centimeters or inches). Concentrate on pixels. Your scanner program usually shows them somewhere.
  • Aim for a file, which is somewhere between 1000*800 pixels to 1600*1200.
  • Scan in the maximum color depth, which normally outputs 24 bits.
  • Scan and save in RGB - not CMYK, palette colors or any other setting.
  • Do not use sharpening functions in the scanner.
  • Save the untouched scans as TIFF or high quality JPG's (not GIF!). Use a compressed TIFF format if possible or ZIP the files with a compressing utility such as WinZip.

  • Aim for the highest possible number of megapixels and set all controls and menus to the highest possible quality.
  • Or take photos using RAW format if possible and convert to high qualilty JPG.
  • Do as little as possible to the original photo and send us the untouched images if in doubt.

  • Send us one picture attached to a mail to test the connection and the quality.
  • When that is confirmed, send the rest of files off to us as attachments to one or several emails.
  • Please send a description of each single picture and tell us about location, situation and persons involved
    When you contribute material for GFF we prefer that you deliver as much original illustration material as possible with your text. We hold high standards on GFF and that puts certain demands on the quality and character of your work.

    Only original material
    We want only original material of which you are the copyright owner or have an explicit right to use from the original copyright holder. That means no copies of pictures from books or magazines, and no scans of other people's photos unless you have their acceptance. When you scan photos or other illustrations make sure to mention the photographer to us, so that a proper originator can be quoted in the article.
    We also prefer that the flies you scan or photograph are your own or aquired under the same circumstances as mentioned above. We usually try to quote both tyer and originator when possible.

    Only good material
    We can do wonders to non-optimal material as shown in the article about digitizing flies, but we can do even more wonders to the optimal raw material. Always use the best, sharpest, well exposed and well composed pictures for scanning.

  • Scan in a quality, which is better than the final quality.
    We prefer to get oversize originals somewhere between 800*600 pixels and 1000*800. We also prefer TIFF-files over JPEG- or GIF-files. TIFF's can grow quite large, but if you have the bandwidth to send them, we have the bandwidth to recieve them. File sizes of about 600 kilobytes to 1.5 megabytes indicate that you are in the right neighborhood. BMP files are also an option, but these grow quite large.
  • Digital cameras mostly produce JPEG-files. Don't convert those! Just send us the raw JPEG from the camera.
  • Attach the file(s) to an email to one of us with a description and a caption. We will the work on the file(s) and let you see the result before we publish.
    Don't worry: We will not put files in the large sizes out for download! Once we are done working on the pictures, they will typically be about 20-40 kilobytes - maybe 100 for the most complex pictures.

    Pictures like the left one are not rare, and can be salvaged in a good photo editing program. We often add little effects such as frames, shadows or other extras to enhance the graphic experience and look of the page. These two are saved together in the same high quality JPEG-format to illustrate the actual difference in quality and take up 43 kilobytes. Robb Nicewonger Photo.

    If you can't scan
    If you do not have access to a scanner or doubt your own abilities when using one, you have other options:

  • Send us the flies and/or copies of your pictures through ordinary mail. We can also scan slides if that is what you have.
  • Have a friend scan the flies or pictures according to our guidelines on this page and in the article.
  • Have a lab transfer the pictures from negatives or slides to a cd and contact Martin about reducing the files to a proper size before you send them.

    Contact GFF partner Martin Joergensen

    More on digitizing
    For more information read the article, which consists of four major parts dealing with each their step of the process. These can be read as one or separate parts:

  • Photographing flies
  • Scanning fly photos and flies
  • Editing the digital images
  • Finishing and saving

    If you have further questions regarding digitizing of flies and photos, contact Martin.

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