Images and Media

This page is intended to help you think about and plan for illustrating your piece in Open Rivers. Of course, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns at any point, please email Joanne Richardson at

Getting Started Thinking About Images

You may already have ideas for how you’d like to illustrate your piece with media, and that’s a great start. Some authors like to look to other pieces that we have published for inspiration. As you look through the past issues of the journal for inspiration, you’ll see that some pieces have many images, and some only have a few.

Choosing and Preparing Media for Publication

If you have any questions or ideas at ANY time, don’t hesitate to email me directly: Joanne Richardson,

For each image, we need to know:

  • Insertion Point: Where in your article would you like us to place the image?
  • Caption: What descriptive text goes with your image?
  • Owner: Tells us who to credit. Who took the photograph or created the illustration/media?
  • Licensing/Rights/Permission: We need to confirm that we have permission or rights to publish an image. License or permission must be granted by the owner. Details below.

As we get further along in the process, I’ll track all of this information in a spreadsheet that I can share with you, this helps both of us know if we’re missing anything.

Basic Guidelines

We Need At Least One Image

We enjoy media-rich pieces, and will be happy to work with you to help you illustrate your work or choose media. Each column or feature needs at a minimum, one good quality image to use as the featured image at the top of the article. Columns will typically have two to five images, and features will typically have four to eight images. We have had some articles with many more, so please don’t feel limited by these numbers, especially if it will help you craft the best version of your work. 

One Image Will Be The Featured Image

We need one image to be the featured image for each article – this image is displayed at the very top by the title, and is used for previews. 

This image must be high quality, and it is ideal if this image is at least 1200 px wide, and intended to be viewed in landscape format (wider than it is tall). 

Sometimes this is a unique image in the article, and sometimes it is a repeat of an image that appears later in the piece.  This image is typically to be considered attractive, and representative of the piece.

File Format

  • We prefer images as JPG, PNG, or TIFF.  If your images are in another format, let us know and we’ll see if we can convert it.
  • We will upload video to YouTube or Vimeo in order to include it, unless it is already hosted there, in which case we will link to it.
  • We can use MP3 files for audio clips.

Image File Sizes

We prefer image file sizes larger than one megabyte because that usually indicates a high quality image and gives us more options, but smaller file sizes might be fine if the dimensions are good and the image is crisp.

Image dimensions (right-click the file on a PC, or control-click the file on a Mac) should be at least 1000 px wide for content images, or 1200 px wide for the featured image.

Standalone Files

You may embed images in your drafts if it helps you place the images correctly and will be useful for editors and readers, however we ask that you also send us the media files themselves separately. Do not embed those images in other files such as PowerPoints, Word Docs, Google Docs, or PDF’s. ZIP files are fine.

File Sharing

Authors can send us images using their preferred sharing platform. Other authors have shared a Google Drive folder with us, used DropBox, emailed images, or dropped them off at our offices on a thumb drive.

Insertion Points

We need to know where in the article your media will fit best, please indicate precisely where the image is to be inserted either within a draft of the piece, or on the Media Planning Spreadsheet if one has been shared with you. 

Note that the online version of the article will be able to place images very close to this point, but in the PDF it may be on the next or previous page.

Captions and Credit

Each image needs a caption that briefly describes the relevance of the image to the article. See the journal for examples.

Attached to the caption, we will include a credit and permissions statement indicating the owner of the image, and the permissions status. Again, see the journal for examples.

Permission and or Rights to Publish

We need the author to confirm that we have either permission or rights to publish an image or piece of media. We can print an image if it is

  • in the public domain, or
  • if its copyright/license allows us to publish (sometimes called “Creative Commons”), or
  • if it is All Rights Reserved and we have specific permission to publish. An email from the owner of the image clearly stating that we can use the image in Open Rivers is usually sufficient.


What kind of media can I include?

This is up to you. Most authors choose to include images (photographs, artwork, or illustrations). A few authors have also chosen to play video through YouTube or Vimeo, embed audio clips, or attach downloadable PDF’s.

Can you help me find images?

If you are struggling with illustrating your piece, we may be able to offer some limited support procuring an image.

Can you (Open Rivers) arrange permission or rights for an image?

This is the responsibility of the author. You need to contact the owner of the image (usually the photographer, artist, or publisher) and ask if you can use the image to illustrate an article in Open Rivers. Your article, when published, will be under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

If you are struggling with establishing whether or not we have permission or rights to publish an image, we may be able to offer some limited support identifying the status of an image or procuring permission.