View Poll Results: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

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  • Art buyers who I deal with do accept images from DSLR

    2 28.57%
  • My buyers can accept image from DSLR, but would rather prefer film

    1 14.29%
  • My buyers donít accept digital images, but accept 35mm film

    3 42.86%
  • My buyers accept medium and large format only

    1 14.29%
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Thread: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

  1. #1
    Vadim
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    Default What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Guys,

    We recently had excellent discussion about professional photographers switching from film to digital and back.

    What wonders me most is that I worked with agencies, and sold my pictures, but agency never accepts digital shots. It looks to me that art directors still prefer film, and would rather accept 35mm transparencies, than file from prosumer digital SLR.

    Can you guys share your experience in dealing with commercial/stock agencies? What do your art buyers accept?
    Last edited by Vadim; 19th July 2002 at 12:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hi

    but if the context of your requesting for opinions is to find out which medium is more acceptable by the professional fraternity, don't you think you're pigeon holing professionals into just stock agency shooters, without regard for other equally important disciplines like independent fine art photographers, photojournalists, documentary photographers, wedding photographers, scientific photographers etc?
    David Teo
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    Default

    Right, as I said before, I've handled this stock agency question before, the reasons they don't accept digital submissions, and so on, although all this is already changing. If there are any serious, non-agenda-ed questions, I will be happy to go through this again.

    If you're after a general market view of the situation, then actually it's not very much different from the agency standpoint. The reasons are different, but the overall effect is about the same.

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    Default Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by Vadim
    Guys,

    We recently had excellent discussion about professional photographers switching from film to digital and back.

    What wonders me most is that I worked with agencies, and sold my pictures, but agency never accepts digital shots. It looks to me that art directors still prefer film, and would rather accept 35mm transparencies, than file from prosumer digital SLR.

    Can you guys share your experience in dealing with commercial/stock agencies? What do your art buyers accept?
    I'm not a profesional photographer, but I'm playing with camera in the last 22 years or so, photographing for commercials at my spare-time. Until today I can see that many still reluctant to accept a digital file, some of them just because they are not used to it. Once I shot for a production house, I wanted to deliver in digital file, but the director insisted to have it in film. I failed to convince them that today's digital is more than enough for their application.
    But slowly that will change, the younger generation who use digital from the start, will be comfortable to accept.

    One question; how to prove authenticity of a file, since it is easily copied without degrade in quality?
    example: Jed sold a file to an agency, then somehow I can get a copy of his file, then sell to another agency claiming that it is mine. If Jed sue me, then how to prove that the file is really belong to him? (Digital watermarking is not established yet ... )
    With film, an expert can distinguish the original from the copy.

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    Default Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by tsdh


    I'm not a profesional photographer,

    One question; how to prove authenticity of a file, since it is easily copied without degrade in quality?

    (Digital watermarking is not established yet ... )
    With film, an expert can distinguish the original from the copy.
    I am a professional photographer, and have been for a couple of decades now.

    Proving authenticity of a file produced digitally isn't difficult as any agency is going to require at a minimum copies of any model releases etc that were required while making the shots in the first place.

    Watermarking is as you rightly say not established and it suffers from numerous flaws such as ease of removal by someone who knows what they are doing.

    EXIF data that is stored on almost all CCD images however is proof of ownership, though as far as I know it's not been tested in court.

    Vadim,

    The half dozen stock agencies I deal with professinally all accept digital images from DSLR's as long as you can provide the relevant model releases, building releases or letters of authorisation to accompany the shots that require them. Required format is TIFF uncompressed v.4 or later.

    I'd expect all major agencies to open up to DSLR files in the next 3-5 years otherwise they will be out of business due to out of date and un-economic work practices and methods.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
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    Default Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by Ian
    Proving authenticity of a file produced digitally isn't difficult as any agency is going to require at a minimum copies of any model releases etc that were required while making the shots in the first place.
    That's true for portraiture, or other picture involving private property. But untrue for landscape, still-life, art, wild-life, and many others.
    So it is still a problem.

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by tsdh

    That's true for portraiture, or other picture involving private property. But untrue for landscape, still-life, art, wild-life, and many others.
    So it is still a problem.
    It goes without saying that releases aren't required for landscapes, wildlife, still life etc.

    EXIF data however is the only current workable option. It's also fair to say that given the file size requirements that agencies that take DSLR images that forgery is unlikely as a 3000 x 2000 pixel image that is 'sharp' isn't something that's likely to be stolen by a photographer and no amount of fractal or bicubic enlargement will cause an 800 x 600 pixel image (eg: stolen from the web) to be sharp at 3000 x 2000 pixels as alaising and other induced abberations are patently obvious when compared to an original from the afformentioned DSLR or MF/LF digital system.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
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    Default Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    And how come I get singled out for special mention by tsdh? Hmmm....

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by Ian
    It goes without saying that releases aren't required for landscapes, wildlife, still life etc.
    EXIF data however is the only current workable option. It's also fair to say that given the file size requirements that agencies that take DSLR images that forgery is unlikely as a 3000 x 2000 pixel image that is 'sharp' isn't something that's likely to be stolen by a photographer and no amount of fractal or bicubic enlargement will cause an 800 x 600 pixel image (eg: stolen from the web) to be sharp at 3000 x 2000 pixels as alaising and other induced abberations are patently obvious when compared to an original from the afformentioned DSLR or MF/LF digital system.
    I didn't mean somebody stealing image from the low-resolution (web) and interpolate it to sell, but somebody who can get a copy of the original file. In film world, even if somebody can get a copy from the original film, his copy can be distinguished from the original. But it doesn't apply to digital.

    Originally posted by Jed
    And how come I get singled out for special mention by tsdh? Hmmm....
    Nothing personal Jed, just as example, not real...

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by tsdh

    I didn't mean somebody stealing image from the low-resolution (web) and interpolate it to sell, but somebody who can get a copy of the original file. In film world, even if somebody can get a copy from the original film, his copy can be distinguished from the original. But it doesn't apply to digital.
    I agree that it's actually a problem the industry is facing, in particular with global sales via the internet.

    At present the half dozen agencies who carry my work all agree that theft is a minor but irritating problem and that commercial theft for publication is generally caught sooner or later.

    Contractual sale obligations in such areas as image usage and rights of usage tend to ensure that stock photography clients tow the line in most cases, however it's pretty well documented that Asian businesses in particular have a view that 'I paid for it so I can damn well do what I like with it' type attitude. However local precidents set in Singapore a couple of years back finally gave some teeth to the copyright laws and terms of sale.

    Businesses in the West tend to be far more complient with the terms of sale and any licensing restrictions placed on the use of the image. Eg: exclusive rights for a given period of time, single use licensing etc. Court cases are quite common over such issues and I can't remember the last time that a client won against an agency in court where breach of contract was at issue.

    One point to note is that many agencies no longer supply original chromes or frames to clients, they provide high quality dupelicates at the time of purchase.

    Ultimately however it's down to the photographer to ensure that his or her RAW digital files are kept archived.

    On the subject of image theft, amateur photographers using film should be aware of an emerging and nasty trend by some mini-lab and low end pro lab owners and staff who are duplicating the photographers best work for sale and also for entry in to competitions. This occured a year or two back in HK and has surfaced elsewhere in the world.

    As to how to stop theft of digital images ... that's a challenge that as yet has no real answer, though I suspect that in the future companies will track CD-Rom serial numbers or use dogles or other electronic locks to prevent theft if the need arises.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by Ian



    As to how to stop theft of digital images ... that's a challenge that as yet has no real answer, though I suspect that in the future companies will track CD-Rom serial numbers or use dogles or other electronic locks to prevent theft if the need arises.

    It is not easy, there are many smart cracker around. For example Atari, they make piracy-protection CD for a big PC game Bioware. It was coded in a way the if you try to burn the orginal CD to a recordable CD or download an ISO and burn it, the game will not run. But this technology was cracked by craker in less than 3 days. Now you see the pirated game of Bioware is flowing around.

    Just like those encryption doc or email, people can still crack it.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by Ian
    I agree that it's actually a problem the industry is facing, in particular with global sales via the internet.
    At present the half dozen agencies who carry my work all agree that theft is a minor but irritating problem and that commercial theft for publication is generally caught sooner or later.
    Today's theft on photo commercials may be just minor, but it will increase as digital also enable easier duplication, storage and transmission. We can see the same case in music industry, which had adopted digital earlier than photography. Music piracy increase as digital music format become popular, altough the music people trying to put pressure into the industry to come with the solution, but in fact, the hardware people never take it seriously. Even the zoning system deployed in DVD, is easily cracked, and those hardware people just close their eyes. As long as business is concerned, they indirectly benefit from it. Who make losses; is the software people.
    That's in the music industry, where all of the products are tagged with the artist's name, easier to indentify. In photo industry even worse, the images were not tagged with the photographer's name, nobody know who took the picture, nobody can identify it except the people who own it (unless the picture is very popular).
    This is the downside of digital in the software business. And there will be no solution, as long as the effort doesn't benefit those hardware industries.

    On the subject of image theft, amateur photographers using film should be aware of an emerging and nasty trend by some mini-lab and low end pro lab owners and staff who are duplicating the photographers best work for sale and also for entry in to competitions. This occured a year or two back in HK and has surfaced elsewhere in the world.
    Soon this kind of theft, will be even easier. People who print their digital images, bring their original file there. Copying the file is just a matter of seconds, undetectable, and exactly identical to original.

    So Ian, are you ready to share your pictures for free, freeware?

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by tsdh

    Soon this kind of theft, will be even easier. People who print their digital images, bring their original file there. Copying the file is just a matter of seconds, undetectable, and exactly identical to original.

    So Ian, are you ready to share your pictures for free, freeware?
    I think you exaggerate the problem tsdh, stock image sales to clients aren't in huge volumes on a per client basis when you examine the industry as a whole, eg: the average small business (sub 200 employees) producing for example an annual report may purchase half a dozen images to a dozen images and the use of such images by the general public is generally limited to people nicking an image for a school assignment or scanning for a website from the final printed version.

    Major users of stock libraries such as newspapers, magazines etc tend to be quite careful with their digital asset management these days as they like to protect their investment.

    As for sharing my images for free .. I already do that via pro bono work I do for various charities.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by Ian
    I think you exaggerate the problem tsdh, stock image sales to clients aren't in huge volumes on a per client basis when you examine the industry as a whole, eg: the average small business (sub 200 employees) producing for example an annual report may purchase half a dozen images to a dozen images and the use of such images by the general public is generally limited to people nicking an image for a school assignment or scanning for a website from the final printed version.
    The only factor I can see which limit the fraud, is that the market in stock-photo business is not as huge as in music industry, and most of their clients are established companies rather than general public. You're right in the sense that the problem may not be that big. Just it is there and increased as compared to the days before digital.

    The real copy protected image file, so far never exist, altough some people is trying to find a way, but I believe it will not establish. Even for online images over the internet, there is such technology to protect it from being copied. But in fact, after a few years, still not many use it.
    Example of the companies developing protection tools for online images: http://www.artistscope.com/
    or this one: http://www.servesafe.net/
    or digital watermarking: http://www.digimarc.com/

    The losses incurred from digital image theft will not stop the business, but it is iritating to the photographers, even for amateurs. All who organised photo-competition with valuable prize, should be aware of this issue, and ready to handle it when problem arises.

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    Eep. I thought I'd said this earlier but I must have deleted it in wariness after the recent latest episode of swimming with sharks.

    This fraud thing is an interesting issue but it looks more major from casual observation than as someone with a runaround of the way these things work. For starters, the music industry is a completely different proposition to the photographic industry and I'm not considering at all the relative sizes of the industries. That I suppose is what I mean, when you look at the issue casually then it's easy to point to music and software and say, look what's happened to them. But the photographic industry is dissimilar in many crucial aspects.

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital

    Originally posted by tsdh

    Example of the companies developing protection tools for online images: http://www.artistscope.com/
    or this one: http://www.servesafe.net/
    or digital watermarking: http://www.digimarc.com/

    The losses incurred from digital image theft will not stop the business, but it is iritating to the photographers, even for amateurs. All who organised photo-competition with valuable prize, should be aware of this issue, and ready to handle it when problem arises.
    Yep it is irrritating, but to me and most others stock theft is a non issue in day to day professional life.

    What is a real issue and a serious income reducer for many professional photographers, in particular the portrait and wedding photographers is the illegal copying of prints by their clientelle which robs the photographer of a major income stream. Sadly this problem is facillitated by some money hungry mini lab owners who like to see their Kodak Image Magic systems or similar churning out the bucks.

    Web and Internet based theft is rampant and it's only going to get worse methinks. I've used two of the three systems you listed in your post above and have found both lacking to some degree.

    I've been active in trying various methods of image protection for the past 6-7 years and so far I've yet to find a really workable solution, so these days I tend to not put my first rate works up on any websites.

    Digimarc's watermarking is frankly a waste of time, it's too easy to remove/obliterate the watermark while the Artisoft solution is too expensive for most photographers.

    For clients however I use password protected directories with short term image storage comprising digital 'proof' pages where the images are of a small pixel size yet large enough for the client to get a feel as it were for the image. Once the client has decided which images they want they are emailed to them or sent on CD.

    The Ang Moh from Hell
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What media is accepted by commercial buyers, film or digital?

    Originally posted by ninelives

    It is not easy, there are many smart cracker around. For example Atari, they make piracy-protection CD for a big PC game Bioware. It was coded in a way the if you try to burn the orginal CD to a recordable CD or download an ISO and burn it, the game will not run. But this technology was cracked by craker in less than 3 days. Now you see the pirated game of Bioware is flowing around.

    Just like those encryption doc or email, people can still crack it.
    Nine, very true, however it's also largely irrelevant to stock photo sales sa the market is tiny in comparison to PC games and DVD's etc and is of a totally different nature anyway as there are no runs of tens of thousands or millions of CD's, each CD is different and tailored to suit the clients actual order.

    It might be a problem to some of the Royalty free stock CD producers if they were using software locks, however such items are not really what most users of pirated software are interested in getting their hands on

    As I'm sure your aware it only takes a 1 bit change in the protection system to stymie the existing hacks and cracks from working.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
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    Hi Vadim,

    I got four corrupted personal messages from you. Just after the time of our discussion in the forum. Anything important? Perhaps you'd like to send it again, or just ask it here.

  19. #19
    Vadim
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    Originally posted by Jed
    Hi Vadim,

    I got four corrupted personal messages from you. Just after the time of our discussion in the forum. Anything important? Perhaps you'd like to send it again, or just ask it here.
    Hi Jed,

    That was reply to your 37 items. I don't want to bring that digital vs. film discussion here in public again, but I'll resend it in private.

    Vadim

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