As smartphone imaging continues to improve, we want to produce a special edition of Retro Lovely, showcasing extraordinary work taken with them. Work that even working photographers could mistake for having been captured with professional equipment.
Including the cover of that special edition.
When we posed this thought and reviewed the feedback, we became certain of a few things. The idea was timely and resonated with our audience. Two; there would be a lot of misconception about what we are seeking, which would cause Three; the process could become much more time consuming than a regular edition.
Time is our most limited resource. Many reading this who've been in past issues may already have become aware of this by our constant effort to keep the amount of interaction we have with contributors to a minimum. It's sad, but it's a reality. To produce as many issues as we do, to offer the opportunities we do, all takes time. In the past, we have experienced instances where our production grinds to a halt because of the work that can mount as people want to contact us for information that's readily available on our website. Or the work that happens when people do not take care with their submissions or releases. We're amazed at the dozens of people monthly who can't take the time to capitalize their own names.
Why is this all important? Because this effort will have high demands on the images and image quality. Many of the model respondents who are excited about this may have wonderful photos of themselves taken with a smartphone. Images that look great on your screens do not automatically have enough or quality resolution to be printed in an issue of Retro Lovely. Some have tried to submit such work in the past, and when we review it, we can see the mottled or pixelated nature of the tiny sensors those cameras use. We'll be looking at this work with far greater scrutiny for print than those who take or view them will on their devices.
Then there's the whole matter of resolution. In the past, we've lost weeks of our lives emailing people saying, "these files aren't large enough." This is why, when Retro Lovely launched, we only accepted work directly from photographers. It's why our form has a widget that scans for a minimum file size. How many of you have seen the error message when they are not? This simple aspect of our submission form has saved us countless hours. We wouldn't have to do all that if people paid attention to our guidance and respected our time.
With this Smartphone Challenge, we know we face the same things.
What we are looking for is High-Quality images with attention to details. Just like you'd produce with a professional photographer and stylist team.
The images must be high resolution - this form will scan for it. It is very likely many considering this will have a few dozen pictures of themselves, shot on smartphones that were also shot with settings that are too small to print. If you intend to take part in this with new work, take the time to investigate your smartphone camera settings and make sure you are capturing the largest files possible with the least amount of compression when saving them.
They must not be screenshots from the device itself; we get way too many of those as it is, we're certain that will be worse here.
This is NOT for "selfie looking images" We have our SCRAPBOOK series, which IS for that... please don't waste your time here with that sort of selfie, candid, behind the scenes work.
The images submitted to this special edition should trick us into thinking they were professionally shot. Composition will be important. Lighting will be important. Makeup and hair will need to be well done.
Images SHOULD NOT be heavily edited. Here's a tip too, if you use editing apps or services, they will often resave the edited work very small in size. They will employ heavy compression to reduce the file size. Your great shot could be rendered unusable by those tools. We've seen it. We've seen it a lot.
We contemplated this challenge as only being open to professional photographers using smartphones but know there would be a large body of people who'd consider that a slight.
We know that many people will read what we ask for and still not take it seriously. Many will take a "what have I got to lose" attitude with it and submit work that is not what we asked for above. And to address that, we have an answer. $10, that's what you have to lose. This special edition will have a submission fee. BUT, for that $10 you will get a personal review as to it being accepted or not, and if not, a detailed reason why. You will also be told if we felt any images had cover potential. We wish we didn't have to do this, but we need all to take our time more seriously. In October, we were processing over 100 documents every day between submissions, releases, and email inquiries related to them, with 75% of those emails being unnecessary.
We spend as much time organizing data in Microsoft Excel as we do anything else, and that's way too much.