We are always happy to receive quality digital colour photos (or scans from slides or negatives) that you are willing to make available to us, for use in the magazine ,on the website or on social media. The usual file format to use is JPG (with low compression/high quality please), but other formats like TIFF, or even RAW of the most common camera brands, will do as well.
For the website and on social media (e.g. Instagram, Facebook or Twitter), most regular photos will do as we do not use high-resolution images on it. For the magazine, quality demands are considerably higher. Please read the requirements below before uploading photos for the magazine.
We credit photos to the photographer (a person's name), or use them anonymously if you require so. We do not credit photos to websites or agencies.
Photos for the magazine
The minimum size requirement is for the subject of the photo to fill a portion of about 1600 pixels wide ('landscape' orientation). In other words, if you crop the photo like we do at Scramble, the resulting image should be at least that wide.* Obviously, that resulting image has to be sharp (originally sharp, not by applying a lot of sharpening afterwards). It also has to have the horizon as it was in reality, because much levelling afterwards may render the image useless (due to edge clipping). Finally, the exposure should be about right as highly under- or over-exposed photos can hardly be used.
* Photos at normal size inside Scramble magazine are printed at 300dpi, 13cm wide.
Please note that the above are minimum requirements. It is often better, and easier, to send us original photos (including JPG renderings of RAW images) that are sharp, level and well enough exposed.
As for information regarding the photos, 'more' is nearly always 'better'. We are interested in information about the aircraft, situation in which the photo was made et cetera. As a minimum, we need the registration/serial (when known) of the subject plus location and date for the photo. Ideally, these can be included in the file name like An-22_UR-09307_Amsterdam-Schiphol_31dec12_YourName.jpg, but this is not a must. We do need to be able to link the data to your photos in an easy way though, for instance by having the info in your email with reference to photo numbers (or at least being able to read serials or registrations easily off the photos).
Finally, front cover photos have even higher and somewhat different demands than above. The front cover is a 'portrait' photo at high resolution, which should be able to accommodate the Scramble logo and various texts above and below the subject. This leads to a minimum size requirement of 2100 pixels wide and 3000 pixels high, and special demands for composition. For the latter, it is best to study a few Scramble front covers to see what we need.
In any case, we appreciate your photographic contribution to Scramble!
Extra info on common problems
Despite the explanation above, we still receive a fair amound of photos that are very hard to use, if at all. The most common problems to really avoid remain the following.
Please be critical in this respect, certainly when using long lenses, taking photos with heat haze or jet wash present et cetera. No matter how dramatic a shot may be, if it is unsharp we cannot use it. A rather standard, sharp photo is better for us in such cases.
Especially with flying aircraft, there is a fair chance automatic exposure will try and match the large portion of sky to a medium tone, resulting in the aircraft itself becoming too dark. This cannot always be corrected for in post-processing. Learning to use the camera's histogram while shooting, if available, is the best one can do to get better exposed subjects.
Horizon not level
With very few exceptions, we need photos that depict the true attitude of subjects as it was: surface matching its true slope if any, vertical structures upright et cetera. How well we can level your photos in post-processing, if necessary, depends on the angle needed for correction and highly upon the amount of cropping. Tight cropping plus tilted horizon easily renders an image unuseable.
Photos with natural colours and contrast work best for Scramble. Blacked-out shadows work very bad in the magazine and large portions of white-out are a problem too. When preparing photos for Scramble, please check the histogram if available and try to work on a monitor that is not set on a very high contrast, for instance (a calibrated one is obviously the best). Finally, leave any 'disturbing' items like equipment in the photo please, we need the real scene.