Preparing Images for Newsprint

Preparing images for newsprint is a challenge all of its own; just look at a local newspaper to see how flat and poorly prepared most of the images are. But there are many options available in Photoshop to create terrific looking newsprint images.

In this tutorial, I will discuss the basic specifications required for both color and black and white images intended for use in newspapers. I'll discuss the retouching techniques I use to prepare images for newspaper so they really stand out.

I think much of the poor image quality found in newsprint results because people preparing images for newsprint have no concept of what really happens when an image hits the paper. Let's look at some common mistakes that appear to happen to many newsprint images.

  • The image looks too full.
  • The image looks too flat and lacks contrast.
  • The detail in the image is lost.
  • The color is lifeless.
  • The image looks soft.
  • The shadows are too full.

Newspaper image quality had been a big issue for a company I started working with years ago, when the client threatened to pull the account if something could not be done to improve the quality of the images that printed in the local newspapers. After the images were prepared, the client was initially taken aback by the look of the images. The images were much sharper, more open, and had much more contrast than what the client was used to seeing. The client was, of course, happy when they saw the final print in the newspaper, however, and they gained confidence regardless of how the raw images looked to them ahead of time.