Fish Species at

Photographer's Guidelines

Find out the photographer's guidelines and how to submit your images to Aquarium Fish International.

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Aquarium Fish welcomes freelance photo submissions, but know this: If we see some we would like to add to our library, there is a chance they could be with us for years. If you are antsy about letting us keep your photos on file for a potentially lengthy period, it’s best not to send them.

What do we typically need? We always have a need for “bread and butter” freshwater species, such as angelfish; gouramis; the various catfish species; goldfish; bettas; livebearers, such as guppies, swordtails, platies, etc.; tetras (especially neons and cardinals); and large cichlids, such as oscars, Jack Dempseys, discus, convicts, etc. Saltwater shots are welcome, too. We also use general photos showing the tanks themselves, different equipment, people working on their tanks, children and aquariums, planted setups, etc.

What is our preferred format? We prefer 35mm transparencies. Good-quality prints can work, too, although they are limiting in regard to layout possibilities. We will consider digital images—but make sure to see the section on page 2 about digital images if you will be submitting them.

Labeling is ultra-important. Fish names, both common and scientific, should be written on the slide mount (or on the back of prints). This info should be printed and easy to read. Your name should also appear somewhere on the actual photo. Every effort should be made to identify the fish correctly. Photos that do not include fish names will be returned.

If we like your photos, we will send you a holding contract. This basically says, “We have reviewed your slide submission and wish to keep (number of) photos for potential future use in Aquarium Fish International (or its sister titles, Aquarium USA and Marine Fish and Reef USA).” We will then file the photos in our library.
Pay rates. $50 for partial page color; $75 for full-page color, with $25 per 1/3 increment across a spread; $150 for a spread; $200 for main cover image. If Table of Contents photos or cover insets  appear elsewhere in the magazine, we pay a duplication fee of $25 for cover insets and $15 for TOC photos; if they don’t appear elsewhere in the magazine, TOC photos and cover insets are $50.

Payment is made upon publication, during the cover month of the issue in which your work appears (i.e., you would be paid during May for a photo that ran in the May issue).

What rights do we purchase? We buy only first-time North American rights. All rights revert back to you after we publish your photos.

Don’t forget to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage to cover the return of your photos, in case we don’t accept them or after we’re done with them.

Where to send your stuff. Our mailing address is Aquarium Fish International, P.O. Box 6050, Mission Viejo, CA 92690. E-mail can be sent to If you have further questions, you can phone us at (949) 855-8822.

We make every effort to handle materials with the utmost care and respect. However, we cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged materials.

Because digital images tend to print much more “flat” than slides and regular photos, to be used in the magazine, digital images must not only meet publishing standards but be of very high quality. Please ensure that images are clear and in focus. If you have any questions before submitting digital images, please feel free to contact us.

Digital images must meet the following requirements—which are not necessarily the default settings on many digital cameras:

  • 300 dpi
  • At least 4x5 inches in print size (this is not always the size when viewed upon the monitor) Large-format photos (full-page or 2-page-spread size) are preferred and are the only images we will consider for covers.
  • Jpg or tif format 

Please send images at as large a print size as possible without losing resolution. Take photos at the highest resolution and highest quality/grain setting on your digital camera. If resizing photos before sending them, please ensure that no resolution is lost—and this is easily prevented. If using Photoshop, go to “Image,” then “Image Size.” Do not have “resample image” checked when resizing the image; if using another program, please ensure that when the photo is resized, the length and width dimensions do not remain the same (for example, if you are increasing the dpi on your image, the length and width of the image should decrease; if they stay the same, the image is being resampled, which “dilutes” the image, so to speak).

When sending in images, they must be named logically. Rename digital files to describe the fish shown (for example, “Neontetra,” “Neontetra2,” etc.). For photos showing anything other than one species, pick any name that you feel describes the photo. To ensure filenames are readable on most operating systems, please limit them to 10 characters (abbreviations are fine).
Please note that we will not accept images that fail to meet the naming criteria. In the past, we have received images labeled “DSCN4091,” for example, named only with the camera’s default naming system, which makes it very difficult to catalog images.

In addition, we still need the genus and species names of all the species shown. In all cases—even if the filenames include the entire Latin name of the fish—include a sheet listing the filenames of all included images and the species shown in each image. This is to ensure that no matter what operating system or naming configuration is used on a computer, we will still be able to access the species’ Latin names.

Send images in on CD—not by e-mail—and always include a SASE for return. If you do not require the CD to be returned, please let us know—but make sure to include a #10 SASE, so we can reply or send a contract.

Accepted digital images will be held as stock photos for potential use, as are slides and print photos. Any accepted images will be contracted, and we will clearly state on the contract which images we are holding.

Please remember that we cannot consider or accept simultaneous submissions. Any digital images we “hold” should not be submitted for publication elsewhere; this is standard procedure for many magazines, but often this is overlooked with digital images because of the ease of burning copies of images of CDs.

If after a holding contract has been sent, you would like to withdraw a submission and not allow us to hold it any longer, just let us know.

Also, keep in mind that these images could be in our stock for a long period of time. Using high-quality CDs will help decrease the risk of file problems, CD erosions, etc. We advise keeping a backup copy in case these problems arise.

For a detailed explanation on digital images and file size, click here>>

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