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Silver Spring, MD
United States


Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

Photos for Your Memoir or Family History Book

Nan Barnes

The conventional wisdom says that a picture is worth a thousand words. It seems more accurate to say that a picture is better with a thousand words. As you create your memoir or family history book you can use photos, or scanned images of documents or family memorabilia, to dramatize and enhance the stories you are telling or even to picture stories you haven’t included in your text.

Before we look at selection and submission of photos for publication, we offer a caution. Take care of your originals. The Library of Congress offers advice on how to do it at .
In choosing your photos and selecting the ones you want to include in your book there are three important guidelines

  1. Sort for quality of the image

  • Faded, torn or scratched photos generally don’t make good illustrations in a book

  • When possible limit choices to good or excellent quality photos

  1. Sort for historic value

  • A damaged or poor quality photo may have historic value

  • Historic value trumps quality – include historically valuable photos

  1. Sort for relevance

  • Photos should be closely related to the stories you want to tell

  • Do photos guide or supplement your stories?

When you’ve made your choices and its time to scan your photos for submission to your publisher make sure:

  • The digital image is at least 300 dpi

  • Most common formats including .jpg, .psd, . tiff, .eps, or .pxr will work fine

  • However, .bmp or .gif won’t print to high enough quality