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Photographs and Images

IMAGES can affect the way people perceive your music before they even hear it. Your images should tell a story – even if it is “just” a band photo. What does it say about YOU besides what you look like? Does it describe the music? Does it capture your personality? How does it tie in to your music? Can you hear your music when you see the image? Ask others what they visualize when they hear your music

When shooting your photos or drawing your art, consider the following:

  • The shape of a CD insert is SQUARE, not a rectangle (although, the Digipak and the traycard are slightly wider). And the disc is donut shaped. Not every picture works on that shape.
  • How will your image translate to tiny? Remember that your cover will often be viewed at 1-inch square online and in catalogs – will it still be recognizable. Even photos inside are usually on a few inches across.
  • You will need room for your title and band name and other important cover text over or around the image.
  • Allow for up to a 1/4 inch to be CUT OFF around the outside of the image (it’s called Bleed) if you want your photo to go to the edge of the paper
  • High contrast, colorful images work best for covers.
  • What will it look like in black and white? Some colors look the same in greyscale.
  • COPYRIGHT POLICY: You must have the right to use and reproduce the images you include in your packaging. Do not use copyrighted materials from artists, photographers, or other authors of original works without written permission and a release.

Graphic file formats

  • TIF: Best. Images should be either RGB or greyscale at 300 PPI or more at 100% of the size it will be used.
  • A 5-inch CMYK TIF file at 350 PPI should be about 8.6 megabytes. If it isn’t there is probably something wrong.
  • JPG: OK. If you must provide JPG, save with the least compression and as largest file size possible (no compression) to avoid degradation.
  • Do not open and resave a JPG multiple times – every time you do, it degrades the image. If you must reopen, save as a TIF first and use that file to edit.
  • Digital cameras should be set to the highest uncompressed format your camera has. Avoid cameras under 2.5 megapixels.
  • Don’t place images in a Word file.
  • Pulling images from a website: DON’T.
  • GIF or PICT – DON’T.

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