How to Prepare a Digital Image for Submission

A detailed guide for how to get your images ready to submit for competition using the club-supplied memory sticks and some common software packages.

What we need to do

Digital images are submitted in the following format –

RGB Colour 8 bit or Greyscale 8 bit, sRGB IEC61966-2.1. JPEG, maximum of 1400 pixels horizontal, 1050 pixels vertical, with (optionally) 72DPI

Getting to this format of image requires some editing; this HowTo will explain how to
achieve this in two commonly used packages – Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. The
next version will add further packages if members require them. Please use the website
feedback link for your comments and queries about this document; we can only improve it
with your feedback!

Adobe Photoshop (including Elements)

Start off by making a COPY of your image. The reason for this is that these changes are not
reversible, so by having a copy you can ensure that if you accidently save over your original
image, you can get back to it.

When you have your copy, first flatten the image by selecting the Layer menu, then clicking
Flatten Image.


You’ll now have a single layer (called either Layer 1 or Background – it doesn’t matter

We now need to set the mode to 8 bit RGB or Greyscale; this is because the JPEG format
can’t handle such things as 16bit and lab colour. Click the Image menu, and select Mode.
Select RGB or Greyscale first, then repeat for 8-bit. Note that these are commonly already
set correctly; most versions of elements will only have 8 bit (which will be greyed out).


We now need to set the Colour space. This is because the projector and many programs
used to view images can only handle sRGB, so any other colour space would give false
colours when viewed. Photoshop and Elements do this differently.


In Elements, select Image, Convert Color Profile. If it is not greyed out, select
Apply sRGB Profile. Generally, images in Elements will have this greyed out as you
will already be working in the right colour space.

There are very few options for the conversion, and these vary depending on which
version of elements is in use. If offered choices, select:

Intent                                                 Perceptual
Black point compensation         Yes
Dither                                                 Yes


In Photoshop, select Edit, then Convert to Profile


The dialog that then appears looks daunting, but we only need a few settings


In the Destination Space box, for colour, set the profile for RGB to sRGB
IEC61966-2.1 as shown (use the dropdown to select). If this doesn’t appear in the
list, just select the closest one starting with sRGB to it. For greyscale, you should set
the Dot Gain 20% profile. Note that toned monochrome images are not greyscale!

In the Conversion Options box, select the Adobe (ACE) engine and intent
Perceptual. Ticking the Black Point Compensation and Dither boxes generally
gives better results, but you may wish to try with them on and off to see the effect.

That’s the colour sorted, we now need to resize the image. Later versions of Photoshop
have a very quick way of doing this – click File, Automate and Fit Image. You can then
just type in the values in the dialog box and click OK:


However, this is not available in earlier versions or Elements. For these, we need to do a bit
more work.

In Photoshop, select Image, then Image Size. In Elements it’s Image, Resize, Image
Size. You will get a dialog box like this:


(this is Photoshop, Elements looks slightly different but all of the boxes)

Irritatingly, it’s best to work with this box from the bottom to the top!

First, make sure you have all the boxes ticked at the bottom, and have chosen Bicubic

Now, in the Document Size box, you may set the resolution – this is optional, but if you do it
you must do it now. Select Pixels/Inch for the resolution units (it is normally the default),
then type 72 in the Resolution box. The number of pixels and size will change – just ignore

Finally, in the Pixels Dimensions box, make sure you’ve got Pixels selected as the units. It’s
normally the default.

Now you need to do a bit of thinking – is your image portrait or landscape? If it’s portrait
(the width is smaller than the height) type 1050 in the Height pixels box. If it’s landscape
(the width is bigger than the height), type 1400 in the Width pixels box. Whichever one you
type in, the other will change to keep the proportions. Once you’ve done this click OK.

Our image is now prepared; you may want to save your copy at this point. It’s worth looking
at it and seeing if sharpening needs adjusting or if the change in colour profile has affected
the image in any way; this is your chance to correct these.

Our final stage is to save as a JPEG file. I’ll show how to do this straight to our Camera Club
memory stick. Insert the stick before starting the next phase. This is for the PC – Apple Mac
is a little different, and if anyone has access to one could they please update this section!

Click File, then Save As. In the box that comes up, click My Computer (older versions of
windows, you’ll need to use the browse bar to find My Computer). You should see your
memory stick as a drive there – mine is L:, but yours will be a different letter. It’s easy to
recognise because it’s called BCC_xx where xx is your member number. Double-click it in
the dialog. In the file format dropdown Format, select JPEG. Type your file name in the File Name box. It must be in this format:


So, if I was member 34, submitting a picture called “Old Pump”, my completed dialog would
look like this:


Remember, the only way the Competition Secretary knows your title and your member
number is what you put here; these images are copied off your stick onto a CD for the
judge. It’s important to get this right!

Click Save. A dialog box appears asking for quality options:


Set the quality to 12 as shown and select Baseline (“Standard”) if it’s not already
selected. Click OK to save your image and that’s it – you’re finished.

What Next?

Follow these instructions again for any other images you are submitting – remember, it’s two in a monthly. Once you have done this you need to eject your memory stick – on Windows, click the “Safely Remove Hardware” button in the toolbar (one with a green arrow)


Then click on the line for your memory stick’s drive letter:


If everything is okay the red light on the back of the memory stick will go out. You can then
remove it and hand it in for your competition.

When it comes back, I suggest you delete all the images on it so that you don’t get them
mixed up with next month’s entries!