Make sure that every slide has — at the very least! — your name on it. Otherwise, return can't be guaranteed. Words of description (area, species, etc.) written right on the slide can be of great help.
If sending slides/other images in one package targeting two or more articles, please places slides in a separate sheet (or sheets) for each different article and mark the sheet accordingly.
Brief captions written on each image are helpful; if no information is written on images, a sheet of captions is essential - and, in any event, always welcome/useful. (However: please make sure your slides are numbered to match your caption sheet. Too many photographers offer a numbered caption sheet to match the order of slides in the sheets but in use, inevitably some slides get pulled, shuffled around (often weeks later) and then the caption sheet offers little sure insight.
If sending digital images via CD, again, please include JPGS for review along with RAW files plus a color hardcopy printout of thumbnails.
Make sure you have on file with Sport Fishing a current contract or our accounting department will not issue payment. (If you need to be contacted, contact managing editor Stephanie Pancratz, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Payment will be issued to the first name on the slide (stock agency or photographer) or CD unless other payment arrangements are specified .
If any of the images submitted have appeared (or will appear) in any potentially competing publication, please make that clear. (This doesn't necessarily preclude us from choosing it, but it's good to know.)
Format — Vertical! Is the shot vertical or, if horizontal, croppable to a vertical format that will fit? (If you think a horizontal may be croppable to fit, be aware if how much the image will need to be enlarged - if a great deal, too much grain will preclude its use.)
Format — Space at the top! Is there plenty of space at the top for both title and subtitle?
Format — Space on the left! Is there plenty of room along left side for cover blurbs (without covering up any essential part of image)?
Format — Image/Composition! Does the image do a good job of filling the frame? (A distant, jumping fish on a 35-mm slide cannot be blown-up large enough for cover use without becoming a grainy mess.) Will the image fall in the right area? Mentally grid the cover in four equal rectangles; the focal point of the image will need to be roughly in upper left corner of the bottom right box (i.e. slightly down and to the right of center). Note that your image can be flopped as long as nothing shows in the way of logos, boat names, etc.
Focus! Is it tack sharp? (That includes the entire image, not just part of it.) If not, sending the image is a waste of your time and money.
Background Bright, monochromatic and uncluttered! Is the background color bright? (Need bright blue sky, water — sometimes bright green or clear water works but dull greys or browns won't make it.) Is the background monochromatic so lettering over it will "pop"? (Believe it or not, many otherwise great photos are rejected because the top of the page contains too much light/dark contrast — best example: rippled surface of water where bright white reflective patches alternate with dark water.) Is the background uncluttered? (Title can't be put over tackle, boat towers, etc.)
Subject Right for our "look"! Is the subject appropriate for the "Sport Fishing look"? (All the criteria above can be met perfectly, but the subject must fit our needs. Don't send us rainbow trout or jetty fishing or bloody fish, etc. Look at recent covers to see what SF looks for. If you're unsure, e-mail or call and ask.)
Test it yourself! Here's a good way to figure out yourself if an image works: Using an actual cover as a guide, cut a piece of white posterboard to size and sketch in with a black marker the title/subtitle and some blurbs; then project your image onto it (which will allow you to ''crop'' as you might feel optimal) to see how it fits.