Photographer guidelines

Quick links to Frequently Asked Questions:

• How to join our photographer database

• Acceptable digital file formats

• Metadata, caption and photo credit information

• Digital lightbox submissions

• Photo handling and archiving

• Payment rates and publishing rights

Montana Outdoors Annual Photo Issue

• Where to send your submission

Thank you for inquiring about photo guidelines for Montana Outdoors. We’re always seeking new talent and beautiful imagery, and photographers are welcome to submit photos for consideration.

Join our talented pool of photographers
Please send your contact information, including address, phone, E-mail and website to We will enter your information into our photographer database and will add you to our photo call e-mail list.

We send out six photo calls per year via e-mail, usually about two months in advance of the magazine issue. These photo calls feature specific requests for the stories we are working on. Unsolicited images are not accepted, as we simply don’t have the time or space to consider them.

Montana Outdoors purchases photographs of the highest standards in clarity, color, and sharpness of focus (when focus is called for). We also require images to be clearly illustrative, be exceptionally beautiful, sparkle with a full range of dark to light, and have a good light source.

Currently we have about 400 photographers who regularly contribute to our magazine. With only 40 pages and limited space, Montana Outdoors doesn't purchase a lot of photos from any one photographer, but we recognize that each person brings his or her own talents and specialties to our publication. Crisp, colorful photos, unique perspectives, artistic interpretation all score points with us. Please just send us your very best images. Quality over quantity is always preferred.

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Photo submissions and image formats

We accept all photos provided that the files meet our publication requirements:

Slides and transparencies. Beginning with our May-June 2008 issue, we no longer accept film submissions. Our workflow is entirely digital.

Digital files. Please send 8-bit, high-resolution TIFF or uncompressed JPEG files on a CD or DVD. We don't accept RAW format files, as there are too many versions of RAW to accommodate into our workflow. We prefer digital files that have only little or no color correction or sharpening. Some of this work must be performed on our end, in order to optimize photos correctly for process-color magazine printing. We calibrate our color workflow and monitors to color keys provided by our printer, so it’s important that we receive images in a relatively untouched state.

Digital photos must meet minimum resolution requirements for printing.
At minimum, we prefer a photo to be at least 8”x10” at 300 pixels per inch. Ideally, we prefer photos that are 11”x17” (a full 2-page spread in the magazine) at 360 pixels per inch. Since our magazine is printed stochastically, we require slightly higher resolution than standard line-screen printing. The bottom-line: the higher the resolution and size of your image, the larger we can feature it in our pages.

We do not return CDs and DVDs submitted to us unless specifically requested. We do not honor holding fees. We do not acknowledge receipt of submissions unless you send them by certified mail.

Montana Outdoors does not generally publish photos of captive animals. We prefer to use images of animals photographed in the wild and will give preference to wild animal photos accordingly.

Metadata, caption and credit information
All photos must be labeled or include meta data and keywords that include your name, and credit written as you wish the photo credit to read. We appreciate that you add brief caption information (e.g., “Mule deer buck, Little Belt Mtns.”).

We strongly encourage you to include meta data, and it increases the likelihood that your photos will be selected for publication.

Digital lightboxes
You may also send us custom lightboxes generated from your website. We will review your lightboxes accordingly, but be advised that we consider digital images physcially sent to us on a disc first, and look to lightboxes secondary to fill our photo needs.

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Photo handling and archiving
Often, we will archive your digital submissions to a hard drive, referenced by photographer and date of submission. We do this so we can refer back to your images and consider them for future articles, magazine news items, or other FWP projects. This also helps us to learn what your specialties are and to become familiar with the subject matter you shoot. Not to mention it saves you the trouble of re-submitting the same images at a later date. Understand that we will NEVER share your images with anyone or any organization. And if we wish to feature your photos in an FWP project other than the magazine, we will ask for your permission first. If you do not want us to archive your images, please specify your wish with your submission, and whether or not you want us to return your disk(s).

Payment information and publishing rights
When you submit photos to us for consideration, you are agreeing by proxy to the terms of our purchasing and publishing rights:

Montana Outdoors purchase agreement for artwork and photos
I understand Montana Outdoors is purchasing one-time rights to the use of my photo(s) or artwork in the current issue or reprint from this issue (including reprint on the Montana Outdoors website, and covers/page spreads to promote the magazine). Any additional use of this/these photo(s) or artwork in subsequent issues or for other FWP projects will be subject to a new one-time use and additional payment. Montana Outdoors will properly attribute the photo or artwork to me with a credit line accompanying the image, and I will receive three copies of the magazine issue once it is published.

Purchase rights to your photos are for one-time use only, with these exceptions:

1. Limited, small-format, on-line use as noted above.

2. Covers and spreads may be reproduced to promote the magazine.

3. Photographs may be reprinted as part of an article reprint used for educational purposes only.

All photos used will be credited in the magazine. We will credit your photo based on how you label your file (i.e., “Jill T. Photographer”, “Photographs R Us” or “”). If a photo is submitted by a photo agency representing a pool of photographers, we will credit both the photographer and the photo agency if so requested. In the Montana Outdoors annual photo issue, we only credit the photographer.

Photographers whose images are printed will receive three copies of the magazine issue.

Montana Outdoors articles are featured on the Montana FWP and Montana Outdoors web sites. We may include a small JPEG version of the opening spread for each article, or an image of the cover. We will not seek separate permission nor pay additional compensation for this electronic use.

If we select your photos for an issue, we will send our claims department instructions to pay photographers at the time the magazine issue goes to the printer. You will then receive a check in the mail, and copies of the magazine at roughly the same time, around the first week the magazine issue is printed.

Photo payment is as follows:

We may also consider your photo submissions for other Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks publications and projects, such as brochures, regulations and annual reports. Please let us know if prefer to have your images available only for consideration in Montana Outdoors magazine. Montana FWP will pay for one-time publishing rights for any use of your photos, with payment ranging from $50 to $350 per image, depending upon size, usage, and project budget.

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The Montana Outdoors annual photo issue
Each year, we dedicate our January–February issue to photography. No stories or news items, just the most beautiful, intriguing, and incredible images that cross our desks. For aspiring photographers and part-time photo hobbyists, this is your best opportunity catch our eye. And it's the one time each year that we open the pool to all types and styles of imagery. Sometimes our photo issue is focused around a basic theme, like Montana seasons or Montana wildlife; other years, it's open to simply the most amazing photos sent to us. The call for photos for this issue generally comes out late September or early October. You must be registered with our photographer database to receive the call via e-mail.

Where to send your submission
Mail your disc to:

Montana Outdoors
Attn: Luke Duran
PO Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620

We do not return discs submitted to us unless specifically requested.

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