South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys  
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Photo contributions

Most of this site is relies on contributions from other people, mainly in the form of old school photos.

Although the quality of some of the photos on the site is restricted, I do try to hold as high a quality scan as possible of each photo. This means that there is a high quality archive available in order to future-proof the site and to allow high-quality reprints to be made if required. It also makes retouching photos (to remove scratches, stains and so on) very much easier.

My own scanning is done at a minimum of 600dpi resolution, and 16-bit greyscale (or, for colour photos, 48-bit colour), in order to get as much information out of the photos as possible. The files are also stored without using any "lossy" compression (which is the problem with normal JPEG images), and only a reduced copy is used on the site.

The problem with this is that it produces very large files indeed (between 20 and 200 Mbytes) and these are too big to send by email (but could be put on a CD).

How DO you get it to me?
The preferred option is to post it to me (email me for the address). I will always try to return material as quickly as possible (usually within 24 hours of when it is received), and this way I can scan or photograph the material to best suit the site and the archives. Of course, I accept that some people would rather not part with such treasures and I'm happy to accept scans of photographs and documents.

To try to maintain the best quality in the archives, I've drawn up some detailed guidelines below. If you can follow them then it would be a great help, but if it's not possible then don't let that stop you - I'll still be very grateful for your contribution.

However, if you send low resolution images, images of the whole of the scanner surface with a small picture in the corner, images embedded in Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoint slideshows, pictures as photos taken by a digital camera, and so on, you are committing me to what could be a lot of work.

So ... if in doubt, please ask.

  • Even if the photo is already on the site I may be interested in a higher quality version - so still get in touch
  • When you get in touch, it is useful if you give me some indication of how you're planning to scan the photos
  • Scan photos at the highest resolution you can - 300dpi is probably the minimum for most photos, but small photos (smaller than about 3 inches across) may be better scanned at 600dpi. I do all my scanning at 600dpi.
  • If the photo is black and white, set your scanner software to black-and-white (scanning in colour makes the resulting files unnecessarily large)
  • Try if you can to preserve shadow and highlight detail in the scan (I'd rather have a low contrast photo which has the detail, than a crisp-looking photo where faces are washed out and you can't see the folds in dark jackets)
  • Please don't try to "crop" the picture - scan the whole photo (including white borders) if you can
  • Don't try to do any repairs or retouching. I'm well equipped to do that, and retouching needs to take into account how a photo will be printed.
  • Send high-quality, low-compression JPEG or TIFF files. Please (please!) don't send BMP or GIF files, or photos embedded in other documents (such as word-processor, PDF or Powerpoint files) as these are almost impossible to use
  • Don't try to reduce the file size too much - file sizes of around 2 Mbytes are probably about right for black-and-white form or team photos
  • Size isn't too much problem as I have a broadband connection - but I'm aware that not everybody has such speed available and so we may need to compromise
  • If you're unsure of any of this, particularly if the photo is damaged, get in touch with me and I'll see what I can do to help
  • If the photo is damaged in any way I will do what I can to retouch/repair it (not the original, of course!) and I should be able to send you an electronic copy if you wish
  • If you can, include names of boys or staff and any other background to the pictures
  • And always remember that I'm happy to do the scanning myself - I will usually scan and post the photos back on the day that I receive them
  • Even if the edition you have is already on the site, it may have been produced from a poor quality original and I'd be interested in a higher quality version
  • Check with me first to ensure that you're not going to spend time on preparing something I already have but haven't yet uploaded
  • In order to print a "replica" copy for the school, the copying needs are rather demanding - to get the necessary level of quality, scanning will generate far too much data to email (but it could go on a CDROM I suppose)
  • Mailing me the ATOM is by far the best way - I will scan and return them as quickly as possible (that usually takes a bit longer than scanning photos)
  • If you feel you'd rather send me a photocopy then it's unlikely that I'll be able to print a replica, and the photos inside will not come out very well. However, it should still be possible to include it on the site
Other Documents
  • Check with me first to ensure that you're not going to spend time on preparing something I already have but haven't yet uploaded
  • Good quality photocopies are usually okay
  • Scans are usually okay too - aim for a minimum of 75dpi, and ideally 150dpi (particularly if there are photos)
  • When copying or scanning, a black card behind the page may markedly improve the quality
  • If the document(s) are particularly awkward, get in touch with me an I'll see if I can help
  • Always remember that I'm happy to do the copying myself

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