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WILDGuide A new photographic field guide to spiders - stunning images needed!

The BAS is currently working with Princeton University Press, on a new field guide to 'Britain's Spiders' which will form part of their very successful photographic WILDGuides series (http://press.princeton.edu/wildguides/). Britain's Spiders will be the first authoritative photographic field guide to the identification of the majority of Britain's spiders since the publication of Dick Jones' landmark Hamlyn guide published over 30 years ago and now long out of print. As well as sections on spider structure and general biology, all 33 families of British spiders will be described with emphasis on diagnostic features to aid field identification. Detailed accounts for around 300 species, representing all families, will be illustrated by photographs. The limitations of field identification will be highlighted and pointers given on next steps in identification. Because of the impossibility of field identification of most linyphiids, only those species with particular features observable with a hand lens will be included.

Can you contribute photographs?

Many BAS members and others now take very high quality images of spiders. We would like to use your skills and generosity to provide the illustrations for the new guide. With so many photographs needed and a relatively small print run, we are unable to pay a fee for the images but everyone whose work is selected by WILDGuides will be appropriately acknowledged and will receive a gratis copy of the book on publication. The BAS will benefit from royalties from sale of guides - your contribution to our work will be greatly appreciated.

Many members have already submitted images for consideration by the publishers. We would be very grateful for help, particularly with the species for no images have yet been submitted. CLICK HERE to download a list of the spiders for which images are currently needed. This list was last updated on 30 September 2016.

Not all of the species in the list will be illustrated in the book - for very similar species, the choice of which to illustrate may be based on the quality of the images available and their suitability as examples of others in the same genus. For some species, where there are significant differences between males and females, images may be required of both. In the majority of cases we will require images of spiders in their natural habitat/environment. Please note that we will also be keen to receive some images of different types of webs and egg sacs. WILDGuides have supplied us with the following specification for images - we would add in addition that it is absolutely essential that the subjects of images (whether spiders, webs or egg sacs) are correctly identified! The publishers are likely to use supplied photographs in both print and electronic format, and so they prefer to receive images in a form that can be tailored to meet these differing requirements. However, they also understand that the nature of wildlife photography means that it may not always be possible for images to be supplied in the preferred format or size. Because of this, every image received is evaluated on its merits, whether or not it meets the preferred criteria.


Image formats (in order of preference) are: 1] RAW/NEF files[1] 2] TIFF 3] JPEG - highest quality/minimum or no compression Colour space RGB or CMYK? WILDGuides preference is for files using the RGB colour space, although CMYK files are acceptable. If you are only able to supply CMYK files please do not convert them to RGB format.


WILDGuides over-riding preference is for unedited, original uncropped, image data files in RGB format, rather than files that have been subject to any editing such as re-sizing, cropping, sharpening or exposure and colour adjustment. PREFERRED IMAGE SIZE Bearing in mind that images may need to be cropped for publication, WILDGuides preference is for the largest amount of data possible, with ideally a minimum RGB file size of 6.25Mb at 300 ppi (pixels per inch). FILE SIZE EQUIVALENT AREA AT 300ppi / 72ppi 25Mb (approx.) A4 '10x8' print / 87 x 124 cm 12.5Mb (approx.) A5 '8x6' print / 87 x 62 cm 6.25Mb (approx.) A6 '6x4' print / 44 x 62 cm Image compression and resizing WILDGuides would prefer images not to be compressed or resized as this can reduce image quality. The default on some cameras is to provide images at 72ppi. This is fine providing the uncompressed file size is larger than 6.25Mb (see above). 8-bit or 16-bit[3] Either is fine - but as the current litho printing technology default is 8-bit there is no benefit in 16-bit images. For most image files the default setting is 8-bit colour.


Images should show the features most important for field identification. In general images should not be taken as ultra-close portraits but include some 'typical' background. Aim for even lighting although flash will be appropriate for species typical of dark places. Consider taking and submitting more than one image of the same spider to help ensure the whole animal is in focus - front and back ends can be merged by the editorial team.


  1. RAW FORMAT (NIKON NEF) Each camera company has a proprietary version of RAW that they design and use to produce the best possible RAW file based upon the technology in the camera's sensor. RAW image files have ALL the data collected by the camera's sensor and there is NO in-camera processing. Submitted RAW files are processed using special programs which WILDGuides control to meet specific project requirements.
  2. WHY NO EDITING? The bewildering array of screens and printers means that, although images may look great on a particular screen, this may not transfer well to the printing press. The colours in the visible spectrum that can be reproduced on a screen (RGB format) are limited, and those can that can be printed (CMYK format) even more so.
  3. BITS Although some editing techniques work marginally better in 16-bit, these are not techniques that will be used during typical image processing by WILDGuides. 8-bit colour provides just under 17 million colours, 16-bit provides 28 million colours. As the human eye can 'only' process 10 million colours, and an image will only rarely contain more than 1 million colours - and it is what book printers currently use - 8-bit is just fine. For technical queries about photographs, please email WILDGuides design editor, Rob Still <rob_stillATwildguides.co.uk>.

NOTE: Because of the large amount of spam e-mails the Society receives, the e-mail addresses have been disguised - to e-mail please change 'AT' to '@'

Submitting your images

You may submit as many photos as you wish for Britain's Spiders, though we request limiting the number to five images per species.Please ensure that the file names of all images submitted include your initials, surname and the date. We are happy to receive images in whatever way you prefer - on portable media such as flash drives, on CD or DVD, or via any of the internet-based FTP delivery methods, such as DropBox, WeTransfer, etc. Please send them to Lawrence Bee at 7 Oakmead, Witney OX28 1EF or lawrence.bee1ATgmail.com. Later in the year we hope to have a facility for submitting images via the website.

NOTE: Because of the large amount of spam e-mails the Society receives, the e-mail addresses have been disguised - to e-mail please change 'AT' to '@'

Copyright and use of your images

If your image is selected for publication in the new spider field guide, you will be contacted by WILDGuides. You will retain your copyright of the image.

CLICK HERE to download copyright information and formal Terms and Conditions.

The BAS expects to receive many more images than it will be possible to use in the book. If you are willing for the BAS to use your image for other purposes – for example for display and educational material or to illustrate the species accounts on the SRS website - this will be much appreciated. Please tell us this when you submit your image.

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