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Photographer Guidelines

If you’re interested in submitting photos to JEMS, please review this set of guidelines for answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). Understanding what kind of photos we’re looking for will help you get your work published.

If you would like to submit a group of photos, please zip the photos into a batch/group using your computer's zip program. Instructions for compressing a folder are below.

On a PC:
1. Locate single folder of photos that you want to compress.
2. Right-click folder, hover cursor over ‘Send To,’ then click ‘Compressed (zipped) Folder.’
Note: The completed compressed file will appear in the same location as the original folder.

On a Mac:
1. Locate the single folder of photos that you want to compress.
2. Right-click and select ‘Compress’; A window will appear indicating the folder is being compressed.
Note: The completed compressed file will appear in the same location as the original folder.



The Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS), an award-winning publication, is a leading voice in emergency medicine and prehospital care. Our readers consist of EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physicians, EMS managers, administrators and educators.

We seek articles about the EMS industry of direct relevance to field providers; clinical developments and controversies in prehospital care; stories chronicling provider health and professional development; innovative applications of EMS; interviews and profiles of key industry players; the latest in EMS equipment and technology; and news and commentary about the industry.

What qualities does JEMS look for in a good EMS shot?
We look for sharp, well-framed images with room around the frame edges to crop. For photographers who regularly respond to fire/rescue/EMS calls, we encourage shooting the scene from as many different angles as possible, concentrating on both the action and the smaller details. When possible, please shoot and submit vertical and horizontal formats of the same scene. We prefer photos that show rescuers, paramedics and emergency workers interacting with patients, performing medical or rescue-related tasks or using equipment. Please include captions that indicate response organizations pictured, city, state and type of incident.

What image format should I use?
We accept digital images in jpg, TIFF, or EPS format at 72 dpi for initial review. We require 300 dpi resolution for publication.
Note: Please DO NOT send negatives, prints or transparencies

What are the basic guidelines for digital photos?
A word about megapixels:
The general rule of digital photography is that you can always "size-down" an image, but you can never "size-up" an image without sacrificing image quality.

If you're using less than a 3.2-megapixel camera, your images will not be of a size and resolution that can be used on the cover of JEMS or as a full-page photo. If your images aren’t shot at a high resolution and if your camera is set to shoot at small pixel size, we can't enlarge the images significantly without serious image degradation, called “pixelation.” (Pixelation is defined as the result of increasing the size of a bitmapped or raster image such that visible square dots appear. The edges of objects become jagged or stair-step in appearance.)

For JEMS, we need a large, high resolution (high quality) “digital print” size to begin with, so we can crop and focus on the part of the image we want to print.

To help you understand the significance of megapixels, here’s an example of the number of megapixels your camera has to have to create a 5 x 7 image (about half-page size) that maintains at least 300 ppi/dpi (pixels per inch/dots per inch) quality:

A simple formula to use to calculate the megapixels you need to obtain high quality at a specific size “print” is:
(Width inches x 300 ppi) x (Length inches x 300 ppi) = Number of megapixels

Example: To shoot a high quality 5” x 7” image
(5” x 300 ppi) x (7” x 300 ppi) = 1,500 x 2,100 = 3,150,000, or about 3.2 megapixels

Important note: Because all chip capacity in digital cameras isn't available for imaging, you actually need to add about 10% to the above capacity to allow for the chip's needed electronics processing functions, increasing the actual camera megapixel requirement up to about 3.5. This means that a 4.0 megapixel camera is the minimum required for truly good-quality 5 x 7” images.

To obtain a higher quality image that JEMS can print (or crop) for use full-size on a cover (8.5 x 11"), your digital camera must be capable of the equivalent of (8.5 x 300 ppi) x (11 x 300 ppi) dots per inch. That's 2550 x 3300, or 8.4 megapixels. Mainly professional-quality digital cameras have that great a capacity at this time.

If you’re using a camera that’s less than 3.2 megapixels, we will be able to use your images, but they will have to be used in a smaller size in the magazine.

What settings should I use for my digital camera?
Check your camera manual and make sure that your camera's settings are changed to shoot at the highest possible resolution. For example, the Minolta Dimage Xt (a 3 megapixel pocket-sized digital camera) has four settings for image size on one of the camera’s menu. They are: 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, and 640 x 480.

If you modify the above formula and divide the image size by 300, you’ll be able to determine when the enlargement of a digital image, produced at each setting, will begin to get pixelated (stretched beyond a high quality image).

2048 x 1536 setting
2048/300 ppi = 6.8” and 1536/300 ppi = 5.1”
Maximum quality size = 5 x 7”

1600 x 1200 setting
1600/300 ppi = 5.3” and 1200/300 ppi = 4.0”
Maximum quality size = 4 x 5”

1280 x 960 setting
1280/300 ppi = 4.3” and 960/300 ppi = 3.2”
Maximum quality size = 3 x 4”

640 x 480 setting
640/300 ppi = 2.1” and 480/300 ppi = 1.6”
Maximum quality size = 1.5 x 2”

Also, be aware that higher pixel settings eat up more of your camera’s memory. This may require you to use a higher capacity memory card to be able to shoot a lot of images.

Examples: Listed below are the total images you can shoot with the Minolta Dimage Xt camera with each  image size setting, if a 256 MB media card is used:

2048 x 1536 = 154 images
1600 x 1200 = 244 images
1280 x 960 = 376 images
640 x 480 = 1,186 images

Do you have any tips for how my photos can be published?

  • Review "I Wish I Had a Camera: Legal & Ethical Implications of EMS Photography", August 2002 JEMS.
  • Study published samples before submitting.
  • Don’t send long-distance or out-of-focus shots.
  • Focus directly on provider/patient shots. If a photo shows a bunch of people’s backs as they bend over an unseen victim, we won’t publish it. Mangled metal shots are equally unwelcome.
  • Don’t shoot staged situations—only real-life EMS action shots.
  • Completed model release forms must accompany photos when legally appropriate. See sample model release in "I Wish I Had a Camera," August 2002 JEMS.
  • Remember that JEMS does not accept responsibility for unsolicited materials.

Where do I send my image(s)?
The preferred way to submit photos is to our site using the upload form above. Or, you can e-mail images to Senior Editor Ryan Kelley at If you send images as attachments via e-mail, please compress them into a .zip file. Send only one attached image per e-mail.

What happens if JEMS accepts my photograph?
On acceptance of your image(s), an editor will notify you of our desire to use your image(s). Then, we’ll send you a confirmation letter that outlines specifics of the image(s) to be used, payment and copyright information.

Will I be paid if my photos are used?
Yes, we will pay for photographs upon publication. Please inquire about our rates.

Read the JEMS Author Guidelines

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