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Outdoor photographer

Montana Outdoors Magazine Photographer Guidelines

Photo Guidelines graphicThank 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 using the guidelines outlined below.

Join our photographer database

Please send your contact information, including address, phone, Email and website to We will enter your information into our photographer database and will add you to our photo call email list.

We send out six photo calls per year via email, 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.

Acceptable digital file 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 uploaded via 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.

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

We do not accept digital light boxes, only high-res images submitted to us electronically per our photo calls. We may contact photographers individually for specific photos or requests.

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 in late September or early October. You must be registered with our photographer database to receive the call via email. We limit submissions for the annual Photo Issue to just ten of your very best images. Submitting 11 or more images will disqualify your submission from consideration, no exceptions.

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). The issue is distributed in printed form to subscribers and newsstands, in an online digital reader format on Issuu and social media channels, and in PDF format on the Montana Outdoors website. 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 two copies of the magazine issue once it is published.

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

  • Limited, small-format, online use as noted above.

  • Covers and spreads may be reproduced to promote the stories  in print, email and social media.

  • 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 two copies of the magazine issue.

Montana Outdoors articles are featured on the Montana FWP and Montana Outdoors web sites, email distribution and social media channels. 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 or direct deposit to your bank account, and copies of the magazine at roughly the same time, around the first week the magazine issue is printed.


Payments to photographers for one-time rights

Photo payment is as follows:

  • Front cover: $350

  • Inside 2-page spread: $200

  • Back cover: $200

  • Inside full page: $125

  • Full page + 1 additional columns: $135

  • Full page + 2 additional columns: $175

  • Inside half-page: $90

  • Inside quarter-page or smaller: $50


We may also consider your photo submissions for other Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks publications and projects, such as brochures, regulations calendars and annual reports. Please let us know if prefer to have your images available only for consideration in Montana Outdoors magazine. 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.

How to submit your photos

We do not accept unsolicited images. These instructions are for photographers who are on the Montana Outdoors photographer mailing list, and who are submitting images for a specific story as outlined in a photo call.


Submission Instructions

You’ll need to create an ePass FTP account to participate. Visit to begin. Once you create your account, you’ll receive an email to confirm your address. You’ll need to reply to activate your account.

  • Your submission must be a folder of your images zipped (compressed) into one file. This means you are uploading just one file to Montana Outdoors, not individual photos.

  • Each image must have your name and contact information embedded in to the image metadata. If you don’t know how to do this, then please include a text file with your name and contact information along with your submission.

  • DO NOT direct your uploaded submission to Luke’s email address. Please make sure you direct it to follow the steps below. Otherwise it may be missed, and not logged in.

  • Submissions emailed or mailed on a thumb drive to any Montana Outdoors staff will be rejected and not considered.


Send us your photo submission in just a few easy steps:

Step 1: Zip/compress your submission images into one file. Naming this compressed file with your last name is helpful!

Step 2: Go to the ePass website: and log in to your account. You’ll need to set up a new account with user name and password if this is your first visit.

Step 3: Click the blue “Send a New File” button. Drag your zipped file in to the upload window, or click the window to locate the file on your computer. Your file will immediately start uploading.

Step 4: Once the upload is complete, click the “Continue” button. You’ll then see “Recipient Options.” Select “State Employee or EPass Customer” under the General heading.

Step 5: A new window called "Recipients" will appear. Click on "Find a State Group" tab, and in the search bar, type in "MT Outdoors." Click the blue search button, and a button titled "+FWP *MT Outdoors Magazine" will appear. Click on this button to add it to the "To:" recipients field.

Step 6: If you wish, you can also include a short message in the Message field. Then click the blue “Send” button at the bottom of the screen.

Done: You’ll get an onscreen notice of successful upload, and Montana Outdoors will receive notice of your submission. If you get this onscreen confirmation, then rest assured we will receive your submission. This is the only confirmation you will receive, as we will not send out additional confirmations by email. Montana Outdoors staff will then log in your photos for consideration. Please do not contact us to see if we received your submission. We understand your concern, but we simply do not have time to respond to the number of inquiries we would receive.