When preparing articles for publication in Rail Engineer, one of the biggest problems is always the availability of good quality, high-resolution photographs.

Some projects engage professional photographers.

The quality is then usually excellent but they can’t be on-site every day. We therefore get a good snapshot of the situation at one point in time, or two or three if visited several times, but we still need additional images to fill in the rest of the work.

Other projects rely on the project team to take their own photos. Sometimes these are good, sometimes fair, and other times downright poor.

Many times, photos are taken by project staff on smart phones. They see that their phone has a 12 Megapixel camera, or whatever, and assume that will mean it’s good enough. They forget that the lens is minute, and probably dirty, and then they also reduce the size of the image (its resolution) to minimise the file size and save space on their memory card. The result – a photo that looks good on a camera screen but which is totally unsuitable for printing in Rail Engineer.

By careful photography, and maximising the file size, that doesn’t have to be the case. So, to promote good photography on smart phones, Rail Engineer will be running a competition this summer for all staff on the railways.

Send us photos of your project, or work, and we’ll publish the best ones. The overall winner, as chosen by Rail Engineer’s picture editor and by professional rail photographer Paul Bigland, will win a KAZAM Tornado 350 smartphone – with a 13 Megapixel camera.

To help you, Paul Bigland has written an article in this issue giving some advice on taking good photos.

You have until 30 September to get your photos to us – the winner will be announced in our November issue.

The rules:

1. Your entry or entries (you can send as many as you want) must be your own work and taken on a smart phone.

2. All photos must be as-taken with no extra enhancement using computer programmes.

3. All images must be at least 2,000 pixels across in either height or width (not necessarily both).

4. While the image is your property, you give permission for us to reproduce it in Rail Media publications in print and online.

5. Each image must be sent to us in an individual email to photocomp@railengineer.uk stating where and when it was taken, what the subject is and the make and model of smartphone used to take the image.

6. Your own employer may want to see any photos you send us – please check for yourself.

7. Entries must be sent before midnight on 30/09/15.

Good luck and good shooting!