How to Adjust Photos for Newsprint


Formatting photographs for newsprint requires very different considerations than formatting photographs for digital or other print uses. While digital photos are formatted to look proper on computer screens and print photos tend to have more forgiveness in color profiles, newsprint photographs often have very specific formatting requirements that must be met in order for the photo to look appropriate. In addition to the CMYK color profile, newsprint photos must conform to specific contrast, brightness, and quality specifications. Photographers who typically shoot with digital cameras can adjust their photos for newsprint with digital photo editing software.

Step 1

Open your image in your preferred digital photo editing software, such as Adobe's Photoshop, Corel's Paint Shop Pro, Google's Picasa, or the open-source GIMP.

Step 2

Resize your photo to the newsprint specifications - determined by the amount of physical space your photo will take up on the page. When resizing, set your image to 170 DPI (dots per inch). For example, an image that will be printed in a rectangle 4 inches wide and 3 inches tall should be 680 pixels wide (170 times 4) and 510 pixels tall (170 times 3). If the particular agency requires a photo to be printed at a different DPI, multiply the desired DPI by the dimensions of the printed photo (in inches) to determine the correct resolution.

Step 3

Adjust the image's brightness and contrast until it appears correct on the screen. The degree of change in the brightness and contrast depends on the subject of the image and the exposure of the photograph.

Step 4

Adjust the image's brightness and contrast approximately 20 percent higher than looked appropriate for digital use. This will provide a crisper and clearer photo for newsprint use.

Step 5

Sharpen the photograph using your digital software's unsharp mask. The settings will depend on the level of sharpness that is automatically applied by your digital camera. Settings of approximately 180% sharpness with a radius of 2 pixels and a threshold of 2 levels will often work best. A sharpness setting that looks good on your screen will probably be appropriate for newsprint as well.

Step 6

Convert your image's colorspace from RGB (Red Green Blue, which is the most common digital color setting) to CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black, which is the most common print color setting). The location of this setting differs based on your choice of digital photo editing software, but will usually be under a menu option named "colorspace," "color mode," or "image mode."


  • Telegram: Media Kit
  • Enquirer Cincinnati: Digital Ad Requirements
Keywords: newsprint photos, convert to CMYK, news photography

About this Author

Kyle Cavnett is a legal and political commentator whose work has appeared in law and philosophy journals, and online in legal blogs and article repositories. He has been a writer for three years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from UC San Diego and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law.

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