Images and Media

This page will help you plan to illustrate 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 would you like us to place the image in your article?
  • 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. The owner must grant a license or permission. Details are listed below.

Basic Guidelines

We Need At Least One Image

We enjoy media-rich pieces and will happily work with you to help you illustrate your work or choose media. Each column or feature needs at least one good-quality image to use as the featured image at the top of the article. Columns typically have two to five images, and features usually 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 top by the title and is used for previews. 

This image must be high quality, and it is ideal if it 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; sometimes, it repeats an image appearing later in the piece.  Either way, this image is typically considered attractive and representative of the piece.

File Format

  • We prefer images as JPG, PNG, or TIFF.  Let us know if your images are in another format, and we’ll see if we can convert them.
  • We may upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo 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. Still, 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. It will be helpful for editors and readers; however, we ask that you also send us the media files separately. Do not embed those images in other files such as PowerPoints, Word Docs, Google Docs, or PDFs. ZIP files are acceptable.

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 should be inserted, either within a draft of the piece or in a separate email or document. 

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 image’s relevance to the article. See the journal for examples.

We will attach a credit and permissions statement indicating the image’s owner and permissions status to the caption. 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 
  • if its copyright/license allows us to publish (sometimes called “Creative Commons”)
  • if it is All Rights Reserved, and if we have specific permission to publish. An email from the image owner 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 include images (photographs, artwork, or illustrations). A few authors have also chosen to play videos through YouTube or Vimeo, embed audio clips, or attach downloadable PDFs.

Can you help me find images?

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

You can also search the following suggested list of sources for images or inspiration:

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

Establishing permission or rights for an image is the author’s responsibility. You need to contact the image’s owner (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 to establish whether we have permission or rights to publish an image, we may be able to offer limited support in identifying its status or procuring permission.