Since the advent of digital photography, railfan photography has experienced a renaissance, some might say an “explosion!” and we have been inundated with photo contributions— for which we are most grateful. Many photographers who have switched to Digital continue to contribute high-quality, well-composed news photos, however, some new photographers, and folks new to digital photography, may benefit from the following suggestions to improve their opportunities to see their photos in print in Railpace.
1. NEWSWORTHY — Not just “random shootings” of everyday subjects.First and foremost, Railpace is a News Magazine. When you have a photo to contribute, ask yourself, “Is it newsworthy?” While we do run well-composed shots of general interest, News Photos take precedence,and when space is limited, they get preference.
2. LOCATION IDENTITY— Compose your photo so you can tell WHERE it was taken. Not merely a “train in the woods… somewhere.” Include a “prop”; a signal, station, bridge, town, building, sign,etc. Make it more than a tight wedge view of the train.This is perhaps the major reason most photos don’t make the cut. You may have an interesting subject, such as a special excursion, a KCS or TFM unit, or a detour move, but if it’s somewhere-in-the-brush its news value is lost.
3. GOOD WEATHER—SUNLIGHT—Events happen in all types of weather, but since our space is limited,we generally select the best weather photos.Compose your photo angle with good lighting, not on”the dark side” of the subject.
4. PRONTO! When possible,try to get material in before the last week of the month,when space for the next issue is at a premium, or is filled completely. Stop thinking like a film photographer; “When I finish the roll next week, I’ll mail it off for processing,and then eventually send it in to Railpace…” Think like a newspaper reporter—you don’t want to be “scooped!” With our free FTP Upload system, you can send us your photos electronically the same day!
5. UNEDITED HI–RES— First, send us a small “thumbnail” low-res JPEG image for approval, so we can let you know if we can use it. If we can use your photo, we will e-mail you a passcode and the URL (web address)of our free FTP site, where you can upload your unedited, high-resolution, out-of-the-camera JPEG file. Kindly don’t spend time editing your hi-res file, allow us to do that, so we’re not trying to guess what corrections you may have already made, or have to un-do something you did.
6. INTRODUCE YOURSELF— It’s common courtesy to tell us who you are when you send us a photo or communicate by e-mail. We organize our photos and captions by photographer’s name, and it’s extremely helpful to know your name when we match up photos with their captions, and also if we need to get back to you with a question.We have no idea who “Conrail2336@aol.com” or “Bob@yahoo.com”is. We don’t need a “bio” or long introduction, just a pleasant hello and… your name.
We are overwhelmed with good material now that the world has gone digital, so you need to be prompt, and we have to be selective. But we welcome contributions from ALL of our readers—you don’t have to be “famous”or a long-time, experienced photographer. Check the photo credits each month, and you’ll agree there are many new names coming on board! Keep in mind that NEWS PHOTOS should be timely, not weeks or months, old.