testing all names

Submit a Cover Photo

Submit A Thunderbird Cover Photograph

This page is available here as a one-page PDF document for easy printing.

If you have always dreamed of having your Thunderbird on the cover of the EarlyBird, here is your best opportunity. Use your imagination in photographing your car – you can shoot it from any direction (3/4 angle, front, rear, even from above!) not just from the side as is more traditional. You can include people in your composition, but the editor is very selective with these (professional quality). Look at other car magazines for inspiration and ideas. We especially like photos that are expressive of a season of the year, i.e. colorful Spring flowers; Autumn leaves turning colors; the joy of Summer convertible weather; braving a shot in Winter snow.

We ask that you please follow these specifications:

Correct Format Incorrect Format

l) Don’t forget our vertical format (“portrait”)!

Remember to turn your camera sideways. This is probably the most common error in the beautiful photos we receive.


Give some thought to your composition and what else will show in the photo. Especially watch for unwanted shadows, and reflections. Pay attention to small details like open vent doors. Beware of trees and light posts that appear to “grow” out of the car. Place the car in the lower center of your composition (not at the bottom edge of your photo). In other words, use the foreground as well as the background. Leave room on both sides of the car since the edges of the book have to be trimmed after it is printed.


The other important consideration is to have your car in focus. When a photo is enlarged 800%-1000% to be large enough for our cover, the focus is really critical. Try to use a camera with a manual focus feature, often an auto-focus camera focuses on the foreground instead of your main subject, because it’s the first thing it sees. For best results use a tripod. If you don’t have one available, steady your hand on the hood of another car or against a wall. It s a little trickier pushing that shutter button when you are holding your camera vertically. Take many shots with different exposures. Be sure the “date stamp” is turned off! You can balance lighting by shooting early in the day and using your flash to “fill” (even in the daytime).

2) For 35mm cameras:

Please use color print film. Please send us a positive image, a color print, any size (we will enlarge or reduce as necessary). Photo paper prints are preferred, as ink jet prints will not reproduce well. Don’t cut the print to size or add logo graphics. We do not need the negative. Unless you are shooting indoors or in low light, use 100 ASA film since it is not as grainy when it is enlarged. If using a professional (square) format camera, back up a little more, creating enough background area around the car to allow additional height for our vertical format and for cropping when the magazine is bound.

3) For Digital Cameras:

You may submit a photo from a high resolution digital camera saved on a CD or sent by email. Please make sure that it is taken in the highest resolution format (preferably 400 dpi or more), since it has to be enlarged for our cover. Check the settings in your camera manual. A digital camera with 7-10 megapixel memory is needed to produce a very high resolution photo. Please don’t edit the photo, we will do that for you (if it needs lightening, etc.)

4) Your Story:

Be sure to tell us about both you and your car. You may want to include a story of how you came to love T-Birds. Please submit it typed and saved on a CD. You may also send your story to the editor by email: earlybird@ctci.org.

5) Other photos:

You may also include l or 2 additional photos of your car to tell your story. Perhaps a “before” the restoration photo, or a photo of the owners enjoying their ‘Bird at a Chapter activity, etc. These can be a black and white or color photo print or digital image.

We cannot promise a certain issue date, but we can give you a rough estimate of how long the wait is. We try to alternate cars by year, color and locale to give the best variety. Be patient! The average wait can be 9 issues (equivalent to 18 months). We can return your prints after we print them, if you request this in your letter. Please list your telephone number and email so we can contact you.

If your first photo submission is not accepted for the cover, we can still put you on the waiting list while you submit a better photo during the waiting period.

Please contact me if I can answer any other questions,
Happy Photo-ing!
EarlyBird Editor
E-mail: earlybird@ctci.org