Enhancing digial photos is a subjective process, as every photo editor and ad designer takes a slightly different approach toward balancing color, contrast and lighting. Often their enhancements don't translate properly from the computer screen to the printed page.
To remedy this problem and create common guidelines for photo editors and ad agencies, NAA's Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production, or SNAP, Committee added a "best practices" appendix in July to the latest SNAP Cold-set Printing Standards, which can be downloaded free at www.naa.org/snap.
"We've always included photo guidelines in the manual, but it was geared more toward film-based photography," says Dennis Cheeseman, vice chairman of the SNAP Committee. "Given the proliferation of digital photography today, we thought it was time to offer tips and advice to help photo editors understand the key characteristics that make it easier to reproduce images correctly in newsprint," says Cheeseman, also director of customer services at US Ink (www.usink.com).
The 16-page appendix includes guidelines for altering digital images, such as adjusting color, contrast, exposure balance, noise reduction and maximizing the dynamic range of tones. There also are tips for softening light sources and reducing red eye.
The goal is to enable ad agencies, photographers and photo editors to deliver press-ready, SNAP-compliant digital images to pressrooms, Cheeseman says.
Cheeseman says the SNAP committee is working on another appendix to provide guidelines for creating SNAP-compliant PDFs. Because the PDF format is widely used by newspapers and ad agencies, having SNAP-ready PDFs would speed pre-press workflow and boost overall print quality and consistency, he says.
At presstime, there was no release date for the PDF appendix, although Cheeseman says it's part of the committee's "ongoing effort to help newspapers improve the overall quality of their print products."