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Are these Onerous Stock Conditions?
First off, hello to everyone on the forum (it's my first post).

As a relative first timer, I have been beavering away this year, enjoying learning the art and science of photography, and just enjoying my weekends/evenings getting out there and trying to get better at taking pictures (and of course, like many, dreaming of a future making a living out of doing so)..

The reason for my post is this... whilst working in my day job as a construction professional, I came across a stock agency for construction related photography. Obviously I thought that this might have been an ideal way to hone my craft and also a bit of a niche for myself as I understand the subject matter so well..

I have copied the submission guidelines below, I just want to see if anyone else feels that these are particulary onerous (especially filesize and format) or, these are the norm..

Submission Guidelines: minimum 50 images to be supplied.Images can be submitted either on DVD or on external hard drive.Uncompressed 24-bit (8 bits per channel) RGB (Adobe 1998) at 300dpi.Tiff format.Minimum size 48MB, with no flattening, paths or extra channels..

Model and Property Releases should be supplied where relevant. Please contact us for an official template..

Cameras We accept files from the following digital cameras. 35mm: Canon EOS: 1D(Mk1,2&3), 1DS(Mk1,2,2n&3) 5D, 30D and 40D; Nikon: D2X, D2Xs, D3, D200, D300 and the Leica M8. All medium format backs produce sufficiently high quality images to be accepted by us..

Scanned files  We only accept digital files from scanned film if they have been drum scanned by a professional scanning house or scanned using the approved desk top film scanners from the following list: Imacon 949, 848, 646, 343; Fuji Lanovia Quattro and Finescan; Creo Eversmart Supreme 11, Eversmart Select 11, IQsmart 1,2,3.

Do not use interpolation and Unsharp Masking. We need to assess the quality of the original file..

Metadata (captions) embedded in the IPTC or povided separately in and Excel, .CSV or Text file.Mode and Property rlease should be supplied where relevant..

I followed the submission after investigating whether they would accept images from my Samsung GX10 as it should (hopefully) be in the same field as Canon EOS 40D and the Nikon D200. I was advised that this would be acceptable..

My biggest proglem was taking the average 16MB RAW filesize and using the supplied software (i dont have photoshop and rely on Picasa for editing) converting the images to 50MB TIFF files. This was quite a task for 50 images..

I followed the guidelines to a tee, and no editing of any kind was done to any of the images. In the end my images were not accepted for the following reasons (their words..).

The images have been looked at by myself and the digital services team and have not passed our technical quality checks. This is due to a combination of the way the images were shot, excessive noise, poor exposure and soft focussing. The camera you are using doesn't produce an adequate file size and the composition of the images does not reflect our editorial style..

I'm not complaining about their feedback, although I would be lying if I said that I wasn't a tad dissapointed as it took about 2 weekends of driving all over town to get a variety of images on live construction projects and 3-4 weekday evening to convert each selected image to TIFF and compile the disc in whatever spare time I had available. I just wanted to know if these type of conditions are the norm or a bit excessive for general and/or specialised stock photography..

Thanks for any responses and apologies for the length of the post..

Barry.

PS - As Im sure any other first timer does, if anyone want's to take a look at the link below and provide any constructive comments, then it would appreciated..

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/leftanglephotographs/..

Comments (13)

I have absolutely no idea regarding your question, but I think you will get some good responses if you post in the "Pro Talk" forum. They are the ones with the most experience in this area..

Good luck ....

Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #1

OK - will do Simon. I kind of figured that may be the appropriate forum for a question like that, but as a newbie, thought I should chance my arm here first..

Thanks for replying - and great pics of the airshow also!..

Comment #2

I'll answer the question in your subject line this way: those are pretty high standards but no professional photographer would have the slightest difficulty in complying with them..

I followed the guidelines to a tee, and no editing of any kind wasdone to any of the images. In the end my images were not accepted forthe following reasons (their words..).

The images have been looked at by myself and the digital servicesteam and have not passed our technical quality checks. This is due toa combination of the way the images were shot, excessive noise, poorexposure and soft focussing. The camera you are using doesn't producean adequate file size and the composition of the images does notreflect our editorial style..

Well, I did take a quick look at your flickr and some of the composition is good in my opinion. I don't know about the subject matter but you know your own industry so let's give you the benefit of the doubt on that too. But on the technical side I can see the underexposure and we have no reason to doubt what is said above regarding the noise and the focusing. If they really are noisy and out of focus then they are obviously not going to be acceptable..

I'm not complaining about their feedback, although I would be lyingif I said that I wasn't a tad dissapointed as it took about 2weekends of driving all over town to get a variety of images on liveconstruction projects and 3-4 weekday evening to convert eachselected image to TIFF and compile the disc in whatever spare time Ihad available..

Do you think that is a lot?.

You described yourself more than once as a beginner. You have a camera which few would choose for professional photography. You are relying on a free editor. You have no reason to be disappointed..

Sorry to be so blunt...

Comment #3

Leftangle wrote:.

The images have been looked at by myself and the digital servicesteam and have not passed our technical quality checks. This is due toa combination of the way the images were shot, excessive noise, poorexposure and soft focusing. The camera you are using doesn't producean adequate file size and the composition of the images does notreflect our editorial style..

So, noise, focus, exposure and composition. These are the things you need to concentrate on..

Don't get discouraged. Doing a lot of work for (seemingly) nothing and learning how to improve is how many professionals begin. The money comes later. Much later. But photography is kinda interesting. I find it quite enjoyable, can't seem to stop and I even spend money to do it.



Watch your lighting. If you think a photo can be done better at a different time of day, note it and return later to get it. This will take experience to get good at that. Lighting is everything. Keep that in mind every time you look through the viewfinder..

All your noise, focus and exposure problems can be solved by using a tripod, low ISO and manual focus. Use raw and check the histogram and consider that the camera and post processing are one combined tool if you want the best results. And if you don't know, find out what aperture on your camera will give you the most DOF before diffraction occurs. This may be part of the focus problem they identified..

What a pain, right? Yep. But until you know how to do it the hard way, as much manual control as possible, you will not know the relevant details for determing when and how you can do it more convenienty, perhaps with a better camera and lenses. In the meantime you will be learning how to get the most out of your present camera. And that's the difference between a beginner and a pro. how will you know what better equipment you might need to to buy to get the results you want if you don't know the full extent of capability from your present camera? And your present camera may give you all the results you need if you know how to get them..

I have never used your camera but I know it is capable of good focus, good exposure and low noise images. As for composition, have a look at the images on the website and get a feel for what they like. Look at all of them and look often and especially look through them before going to a site to take photos. Don't try to copy others, just look. Your subconcious will take care of the rest. Seriously..

Try your best consistently to learn what you need to know and then apply it..

It takes a lot of experience to regularly take photos that will sell. That your first submisison of photos were not accepted does not surprise me. It shouldn't surprise you either. What it should do is cause you to examine where you can improve. I don't think their requirements are too stingnent. They want professional quality photos.



Ya know, you don't even have to try very hard, you just need to try consistently to improve. Everyone of your photos that was not acceppted is a learning opportunity, not a mistake. Keep going out and making mistakes and then learn how to correct them. Do it for long enough and you will find yourself taking professional photos..

There are no shortcuts to success at anything. The only way to be success is to get out there and try and you will make mistakes and then you learn how to correct them. It's not so much that your are trying to produce good photos. You're trying to minimize mistakes. Minimize enough of them, learn how to not repeat them and you will find yourself with more and more mistake free photos. Don't worry too much about what a good photo is.

Notice the rejection letter didn't say what they want. It said what they don't want, but you gave them. So find out how to remove what they don't want (poor focus, poor exposure, noise) from your next set of images..

It takes more than one weekend of work to become a professional photograher. You won't solve all these problems right away. It will take many weekends..

You seem to want the benefits of experience without the experience and that's never going to happen...

Comment #4

No. They're about standard for the industry. As has been stated, any professional photographer would have no trouble complying with them. As an amateur, with what is essentially an amateur camera, you will struggle..

As for spending the time in PP, well, there's a reason that pro photographers don't spend 12 hours a day doing nothing but pressing that little button, and you just found it. PP is part of the job, a large part, and it's boring but neccesary. Welcome to the world of the pro..

You dipped out on your first attempt? It's a learned craft, that can take years to master - just like anything worthwhile. Did you start at the top in your regular job, straight from college? Didn't think so..

BTW (and not being rude) what exactly *is* a 'construction professional'?.

Rob.

Everyone, everywhere, has to do everything for a first time. There is no shame in failure, only in failure to try...

Comment #5

Leftangle wrote:.

The composition of the images does notreflect our editorial style..

Just one more thought, prompted by the above. To be honest it is quite likely just a polite and less hurtful way to say that they didn't like the photographs. But do take it seriously - stock libraries, magazines, and clients of all kinds *do* have styles that they like and dislike, and part of your job as a professional is to supply what they want. You can research their existing library and with practice you will be able to recognise and reproduce the right kind of material...

Comment #6

The GX-10 is a semi-pro camera. It's a rebadged Pentax K10D. I know of pros using these as main units..

The OP was told it would be acceptable anyway..

You might not choose it, but that doesn't mean it's not a valid choice..

StephenG.

Fuji S3 ProPentax K100DFuji S9600Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #7

Sjgcit wrote:.

The GX-10 is a semi-pro camera. It's a rebadged Pentax K10D. I knowof pros using these as main units..

The OP was told it would be acceptable anyway..

You might not choose it, but that doesn't mean it's not a valid choice..

I am really tired of reading stuff from you where you clearly have not read the message you are replying to. My exact, carefully considered words were: "You have a camera which few would choose for professional photography." - which is true. It is one of the obstacles that the OP faces if he wants to succeed and he needs to be aware of that...

Comment #8

I just want to thank everyone for taking the time to respond to the thread and state that both your comments and insights have been very much appreciated..

I think one point i'll take away and practice more is the issue of MF from now on. All the images have been taken hand held with AF to date, and the editor particularly mentioned the soft focusing issue. I (hopefully) am decent enough with the histogram and using low ISO. The first few months of this year the sky has been particulary white in North East England at the times of day I have been shooting. So I guess I'll be put the hard yards in for the early mornings/late night for the better light as well..

Seriously I got a lot out of this and appreciate the posters who viewed a few of my pics also..

Oh - and regarding the question over construction professionals - It's understandable that people usually assume that you're a tradesman or labourer when you mention construction, but I am a planning surveyor working within the site based project management side of things, looking after the planning of operations, progress etc. Not as much fun or satisfying as photography I can tell you...

Comment #9

And I, Steve, am quite tired of being told by you I have not read your message correctly..

I am quite aware of what you said..

My point was that the K10D was a perfectly good choice which professionals have made..

Please stop acting as if everyone else is an idiot..

StephenG.

Fuji S3 ProPentax K100DFuji S9600Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #10

I imagine the people dealing with submissions to libraries like that one must develope their own lists of what constitute reasons for immediate rejection!.

While you will learn most by looking at what they DO find acceptable, might I offer a few suggestions (based on my own years of mistake-making experience) of where you could have fallen foul of such a list, after a canter through the Construction set and some of the other photos that you've posted on Flickr?.

Most of your subjects are likely to be static so mount your camera on a stable tripod (a chance to make the most of your access privileges!!) and set longer exposure times and use a remote release or delay timer - and maybe mirror lockup if that's possible - instead of handholding with one of the higher ISO values that's more likely to produce unacceptable levels of noise. Learn how to remove noise, and how and when you're likely to get soft focusing and / or camera shake..

Use the best lenses. If you can't afford them, be sure to get the best results from whatever you do have by locating the 'sweet spots' in their aperture and focal length ranges and trying to stick to them..

Don't supply pictures that suffer from excessive amounts of barrel or pincushion distortion - either use lenses that don't have the problem or rectify it in post-production..

Generally supply only pictures that have level horizontals and upright verticals. If you can't manage to shoot straight then do at least rotate, adjust and crop them afterwards!.

Avoid converging verticals - move further away, or raise the camera to a higher position so you don't have to tilt it so much - and if all else failed, correct all or most of the effect in post..

Avoid showing any signs etc that may be problematic - it's unlikely that any picture buyer will want to use a shot that includes unrelated business names, registered trade marks, vehicle number plates etc etc - and they may well prefer not to see them even when they're belong there, as it limits the use they can make of the picture!.

Learn how to get correct exposures, and how to adjust those that aren't right - overall or in any part of the shot. Avoid having pretty skies and poorly exposed buildings in any shots you're submitting to a Construction library. Keep the failures to yourself!.

If Picassa doesn't offer all the functions you need, think about getting Photoshop Elements 6, and add PTLens for correcting lens problems..

Hope that's some help - as I say, all mistakes I've made, and continue to make!.

Peter.

Peter - on the green island of Ischiahttp://www.pbase.com/isolaverde..

Comment #11

Leftangle wrote:.

Oh - and regarding the question over construction professionals -.

'Twas me that asked..

It's understandable that people usually assume that you're atradesman or labourer when you mention construction,.

And what's wrong with being a tradesman? Tradies get the job done. I'm a rigger/scaffolder myself..

But I am aplanning surveyor working within the site based project managementside of things, looking after the planning of operations, progressetc..

Well, at least you're not an engineer. So you are forgiven that. ;~) As long as your planning abilities are up to scratch....

Not as much fun or satisfying as photography I can tell you..

Very little is. However, for most of us, 'the day job' allows us to indulge in our outside interests, which are fun (if they're not, why are you doing them?)..

Rob.

Everyone, everywhere, has to do everything for a first time. There is no shame in failure, only in failure to try...

Comment #12

Sjgcit wrote:.

And I, Steve, am quite tired of being told by you I have not readyour message correctly..

I am quite aware of what you said..

My point was that the K10D was a perfectly good choice whichprofessionals have made..

Please stop acting as if everyone else is an idiot..

StephenG.

... and even so, the statement by the 'other' poster was 100% correct... the Pentax is a choice that most professional photographers would NOT choose. Obviously the D10D is NOT viewed as good choice for most professional photographers.. and as you can guess, there are reasons why..

Teila K. Day..

Comment #13

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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