Commons:Featured picture candidates/guidelines

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Please read the complete guidelines before nominating.

This is a summary of what to look for when submitting and reviewing FP candidates:

  • Licensing - Images licensed with solely "GFDL" or "GFDL and an NC-only license" are not acceptable due the restrictions placed on re-use by these licenses.
  • ResolutionImages (with the exception of animations, videos, and SVGs) of lower resolution than 2 million pixels (pixels, not bytes) are typically rejected unless there are 'strong mitigating reasons'. Note that a 1600 × 1200 image has 1.92 Mpx, just less than the 2 million level. A 1920 × 1080 image, commonly known as Full HD, has 2.07 Mpx, just more than the 2 million level.
Graphics on Commons are not only viewed on conventional computer screens. They may be used in high-resolution print versions, and the images may be cropped to focus on portions of the image. See Commons:Why we need high resolution media for more information.
  • Scans – While not official policy, Help:Scanning provides advice on the preparation of various types of images that may be useful.
  • General quality – pictures being nominated should be of high technical quality.
  • Digital manipulations must not deceive the viewer. Digital manipulation for the purpose of correcting flaws in an image is generally acceptable, provided it is limited, well-done, and not intended to deceive.
    • For photographs, typical acceptable manipulations include cropping, perspective correction, sharpening/blurring, and colour/exposure correction. More extensive manipulations, such as removal of distracting background elements, should be clearly described in the image text, by means of the {{Retouched picture}} template. Undescribed or mis-described manipulations which cause the main subject to be misrepresented are never acceptable.
    • For historic images, acceptable manipulations might include digitally fixing rips, removal of stains, cleanup of dirt, and, for mass-produced artworks such as engravings, removal of flaws inherent to the particular reproduction, such as over-inking. Careful colour adjustments may be used to bring out the original work from the signs of ageing, though care should be taken to restore a natural appearance. The original artistic intent should be considered when deciding whether it is appropriate to make a change. Edits to historic material should be documented in detail within the file description, and an unedited version should be uploaded and cross linked for comparison.
  • Valueour main goal is to feature most valuable pictures from all others. Pictures should be in some way special, so please be aware that:
    • almost all sunsets are aesthetically pleasing, and most such pictures are not in essence different from others,
    • night-shots are pretty but normally more details can be shown on pictures taken at daytime,
    • beautiful does not always mean valuable.


Artworks, illustrations, and historical documents

There are many different types of non-photographic media, including engravings, watercolours, paintings, etchings, and various others. Hence, it is difficult to set hard-and-fast guidelines. However, generally speaking, works can be divided into three types: Those that can be scanned, those that must be photographed, and those specifically created to illustrate a subject.

Works that must be photographed include most paintings, sculptures, works too delicate or too unique to allow them to be put on a scanner, and so on. For these, the requirements for photography, below, may be mostly followed; however, it should be noted that photographs which cut off part of the original painting are generally not considered featurable.

Works that may be scanned include most works created by processes that allow for mass distribution. For instance, illustrations published with novels. For these, it is generally accepted that a certain amount of extra manipulation is permissible to remove flaws inherent to one copy of the work, since the particular copy – of which hundreds, or even thousands of copies also exist – is not so important as the work itself.

Works created to serve a purpose include diagrams, scientific illustrations, and demonstrations of contemporary artistic styles. For these, the main requirement is that they serve their purpose well.

Provided the reproduction is of high quality, an artwork generally only needs one of the following four things to be featurable:

  • Notable in its own right: Works by major artists, or works that are otherwise notable, such as the subjects of a controversy.
  • Of high artistic merit: Works which, while not particularly well known, are nonetheless wonderful examples of their particular type or school of art.
  • Of high historic merit: The historical method values very early illustrations of scenes and events over later ones. Hence, a work of poor quality depicting a contemporaneous historical event can be nonetheless important, even if the artistic merit is relatively low. Likewise, scans or photographs of important documents – which may not be at all artistic – nonetheless may be highly valuable if the documents are historically significant. The reason for the image's historical importance should be briefly stated in the nomination, for those reviewers unfamiliar with the subject.
  • Of high illustrative merit: Works that illustrate or help explain notable subjects, for instance, illustrations of books, scientific subjects, or technical processes. The amount of artistic merit required for these will vary by subject, but, for instance, an illustration that makes the working of a complicated piece of machinery very clear need not be notable as a piece of artwork as well, whereas an illustration for a book might well be expected to reach much higher artistic standards.

Digital restorations must also be well documented. An unedited version of the image should be uploaded locally, when possible, and cross-linked from the file hosting page. Edit notes should be specified in detail, such as "Rotated and cropped. Dirt, scratches, and stains removed. Histogram adjusted and colors balanced."

Photographs

On the technical side, we have focus, exposure, composition, movement control and depth of field.

  • Focus – every important object in the picture should normally be sharp.
  • Exposure refers to the shutter diaphragm combination that renders an image with a tonal curve that ideally is able to represent in acceptable detail shadows and highlights within the image. This is called latitude. Images can be on the low side of the tonal curve (low range), the middle (middle range) or high side (upper range). Digital cameras (or images) have a narrower latitude than film. Lack of shadow detail is not necessarily a negative characteristic. In fact, it can be part of the desired effect. Burned highlights in large areas are a distracting element.
  • Composition refers to the arrangement of the elements within the image. The "Rule of Thirds" is a good guideline for composition and is an inheritance from the painting school. The idea is to divide the image with two imaginary horizontal and two vertical lines, thus dividing the image into thirds horizontally and vertically. Centering the subject is often less interesting than placing the subject in one of the "interest points", the 4 intersection between these horizontal and vertical lines intersect. Horizons should almost never be placed in the middle, where they "cut" the image in half. The upper or lower horizontal line is often a good choice. The main idea is to use space to create a dynamic image.
    • Foreground and background – foreground and background objects may be distracting. You should check that something in front of the subject doesn't hide important elements and that something in background doesn't spoil the composition (for example that the streetlight doesn't "stand" on someone's head).
  • Movement control refers to the manner in which motion is represented in the image. Motion can be frozen or blurred. Neither one is better than the other. It is the intention of representation. Movement is relative within the objects of the image. For example, photographing a race car that appears frozen in relation to the background does not give us a sense of speed or motion, so technique dictates to represent the car in a frozen manner but with a blurred background, thus creating the sense of motion, this is called "panning". On the other hand, representing a basketball player in a high jump frozen in relation to everything else, due to the "unnatural" nature of the pose would be a good photograph.
  • Depth of field (DOF) refers to the area in focus in front of and beyond main subject. Depth of field is chosen according to the specific needs of every picture. Large or small DOF can either way add or subtract to the quality of the image. Low depth of field can be used to bring attention to the main subject, separating it from the general environment. High depth of field can be used to emphasize space. Short focal length lenses (wide angles) yield large DOF, and vice versa, long focal lenses (telephotos) have shallow DOF. Small apertures yield large DOF and conversely, large apertures yield shallow DOF.

On the graphic elements we have shape, volume, colour, texture, perspective, balance, proportion, noise, etc.

  • Shape refers to the contour of the main subjects.
  • Volume refers to the three dimensional quality of the object. This is accomplished using side light. Contrary to general belief, front lighting is not the best light. It tends to flatten subject. Best light of day is early morning or late afternoon.
  • Colour is important. Over saturated colours are not good.
  • Texture refers to the quality of the surface of the subject. It is enhanced by side lighting… it is the "feel" to the touch.
  • Perspective refers to the "angle" accompanied by lines that disappear into a vanishing point that may or may not be inside the image.
  • Balance refers to the arrangement of subjects within the image that can either give equal weight or appear to be heavier on one side.
  • Proportion refers to the relation of size of objects in picture. Generally, we tend to represent small objects small in relation to others, but a good technique is to represent small objects large contrary to natural size relationship. For example, a small flower is given preponderance over a large mountain…. This is called inversion of scales.
Not all elements must be present. Some photographs can be judged on individual characteristics, that is, an image can be about color or texture, or colour AND texture, etc.
  • Noise refers to unwanted corruption of colour brightness and quality and can be caused by underexposure. It is not a desirable quality and can be grounds for opposition.
  • Symbolic meaning or relevance … Opinion wars can begin here … A bad picture of a very difficult subject is a better picture than a good picture of an ordinary subject. A good picture of a difficult subject is an extraordinary photograph.
Images can be culturally biased by the photographer and/or the observer. The meaning of the image should be judged according to the cultural context of the image, not by the cultural context of the observer. An image "speaks" to people, and it has the capacity to evoke emotion such as tenderness, rage, rejection, happiness, sadness, etc. Good photographs are not limited to evoking pleasant sensations …

You will maximise the chances of your nominations succeeding if you read the complete guidelines before nominating.

Video and audio

Set nominations

If a group of images are thematically connected in a direct and obvious way, they can be nominated together as a set. A set should fall under one of the following types:

  • Faithful digital reproductions of works notable in their own right, which the original author clearly intended to be viewed as a set. Examples: pages in a pamphlet, crops (puzzle pieces) of a prohibitively large scan, a pair of pendant paintings. Not acceptable: Arbitrary selection of sample works by an artist.
  • A sequence of images showing the passage of time. They could depict frames of a moving/changing object or a static object during different times of day or different seasons. Examples: diagrams illustrating a process, steps of a dance, metamorphosis of an insect, maps/drawings/photos of the same subject over the years (frame of view should be more or less the same).
  • A group of images depicting the same subject from different viewpoints, preferably taken under the same lighting conditions when possible. Examples: Exterior and interior of a building, different facades of a building, different interior views, obverse and inverse of a banknote/coin. Not acceptable: A selection of different rooms in a skyscraper, the facade of a church plus an organ, any images of fundamentally different scopes.
  • A group of images which show all possible variations of a particular class of object. Examples: Male and female versions of an animal (preferably in the same setting), all known species of a genus. Not acceptable: A few breeds of cats (unless they share a defining characteristic and represent all possible examples of that).