We pay the photographer for photos we use and provide him or her credit. We involve
the photo subject in writing the caption and provide both the photo subject and
photographer a complimentary calendar when it is printed (usually in early August
of the preceding year — for example the 2016 calendar will be printed in August 2015).
We usually choose photos for the following year's calendars in March.
Equipment: We accept only submissions shot with a digital camera. In general,
digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras (with interchangeable lenses) provide the best
results. It is very rare that we are able to use a shot taken with a less expensive
fixed-lens or cell phone camera.
Calendar images are reproduced at about 3400 x 2700 pixels. That is about 11.5 x
9 inches at 300 dpi. We can occasionally use a photo that is slightly smaller (or has
less resolution), but images that are significantly smaller cannot be used.
When sending materials by mail, send to Mischka Press, PO Box 2067, Cedar
Rapids 52406. When sending by other means, use Mischka Press, 225 K Ave NW,
Ste F, Cedar Rapids IA 52405.
Lighting: The basic rule of thumb is to always have the sun behind the photographer.
This puts the light on the subject. When the sun is in front of the photographer the
subject is shaded, and detail of the subject is lost.
Photos taken when the sun is out are more interesting, brighter, and more colorful
than those taken when it is overcast or gloomy. Usually you might just as well forget
about it if it is a gloomy day.
Backgrounds: Unless you are shooting a scenic shot, backgrounds should
be uncluttered. Cluttered or busy backgrounds distract from the subject. A different
camera angle or moving to a different spot can often eliminate a bad background.
If the background cannot be eliminated try using a telephoto lens — this will tend to
throw the background out of focus.
The Subject: There are basically two type of photos, scenics and subjects. On a
scenic photo the horse is a relatively small part of the photo, and the countryside
(flowers, mountains, fall color, etc.) are what make it a good photo. We use a few
scenics, but not very many.
Most of the shots we use are closeups of the horses. The most common mistake
photographers make is to be too far away from the subject. It is very important that
you “fill the frame (viewfinder)” with the subject in order that there is enough detail
on the picture to make it interesting.
That said, be sure to include all of the animals being shot. We will not use photos
where the ears, hooves, or other parts of the horse are not in the frame.
We are looking for candid shots, not posed shots. We seldom pick a shot where
the horses and/or the people are standing, looking at the camera. Instead we like to
use photos where the horses and people are going about their business, unaware
of the presence of a photographer.
Technical Considerations: The photo must be focused properly and exposed
properly. Photos which are out-of-focus, blurred due to camera movement, or are
improperly exposed cannot be used.
It's not easy to get a good shot. I know — I’m trying all the time. That’s why it is
important to take lots of pictures. That way you have a better chance to get a shot
where the ears are forward, the legs are together, the light is right, etc. And when
everything comes together, it’s lots of fun. Good luck!
— Bob Mischka