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Zollikon

Quality Control - no reason for failure given, downsampling

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Just had my first fails - tricky hand-held, bustling city street, night shots, in the rain.

 

My uploading got cut off after 2 pics and they both later got rejected - no reason given. I downsized and resubmitted them individually - both passed. How does this make sense?! They 'look' sharper because you're not zooming in as much at 100%, but they obviously they are not actually any sharper - I don't get it. Can Alamy not offer a 100%/variable loupe view to potential purchasers so they can judge for themselves? Should I just batch downsample ALL my images from now on?

 

The second point is more serious. I uploaded the remaining 90+ images from the same shoot (before the first 2 had been rejected) and they all got rejected. The notice says "One or more images failed QC. This means the remaining images have been rejected without being assessed." Having looked closer, a few are not that great - fine for web or TV use or maybe quarter/half page, but not a full magazine page. No complaint from me, I'm still gauging Alamy's thresholds.

 

My point is, I don't know which they failed nor why. I can understand they don't want to trawl through 90+ images failing lots for the same thing - but could they not at least tag the one/s they did look at and fail and let me know why? I don't need an essay, not even a sentence - just a sticker saying 'blurred', or 'WB' or 'noise', or 'CA', etc.  In this shoot, I liked the vibrant artificial street-light colours - did they want them WB corrected? (I guess not, they accepted my DS'ed retries). I have have deliberately blurred people and buses in the shots to portray feeling/movement - did they not like that? How about neon lights on rain spots on the lens - they add character and tell the story - but they are a fault...

 

My point is, I'm guessing. Surely they could give me a clue?

 

I really like this shoot, I have literally thousands of other photos that will pass QC awaiting my processing but I want to learn why these shoot pics failed and get some or them on sale (I've edited magazines and they will sell!). So, I'm going through them one at a time at 100%, cutting out any with more blur, downsampling and sharpening those with fractional blur - but am I wasting my time? In the absence of any words or guidance on my images, the only way I can think to learn is by submitting these one at a time (maybe 60 or 70?!) and seeing which ones pass and which ones fail. But given that they accept exactly the same image just because I down-sampled, I am wondering about the quality of quality control itself.

 

These thoughts are probably more for Alamy as I am suggesting extra features. But any help/thoughts appreciated. (I'd rather not too many just telling me to assess at a higher quality or look at Alamy's QC PDF, that's a given.)

 

I seem to remember that Alamy suspend you for 28 days if you fail QC too many times - anyone know current policy on this? I don't want to be banned just for trying to learn their thresholds/preferences.

 

Thanks!

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First off Alamy are really really really clear in their submitting rules that they do not check every image but will fail ALL pending shots if a single one fails.  If you have 3 bulk uploads waiting when an image fails the whole lot are rejected without being looked at.    The idea is we become our own harshest critics and do the bulk of the QC work before uploading leaving on random checks.
For the rest I am less sure - Alamy allows a degree of sharpening and sometimes on a borderline image downsizing is a method for doing that - it can also be bought in with noise which is likely to occur in night shots - what their actual limits are I do not know, it is just a tool I keep in my box to be used.

I believe with things like rain spots and colouring, and movement it is possible to put in the additional info box on the optional tag that you are using those things deliberately and why so the reviewer does know that you are presenting a deliberate vision.  There are plenty of shots on Alamy with various degrees of movement - I think it comes down to does it work or not.

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6 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

First off Alamy are really really really clear in their submitting rules that they do not check every image but will fail ALL pending shots if a single one fails.  If you have 3 bulk uploads waiting when an image fails the whole lot are rejected without being looked at.    The idea is we become our own harshest critics and do the bulk of the QC work before uploading leaving on random checks.
For the rest I am less sure - Alamy allows a degree of sharpening and sometimes on a borderline image downsizing is a method for doing that - it can also be bought in with noise which is likely to occur in night shots - what their actual limits are I do not know, it is just a tool I keep in my box to be used.

I believe with things like rain spots and colouring, and movement it is possible to put in the additional info box on the optional tag that you are using those things deliberately and why so the reviewer does know that you are presenting a deliberate vision.  There are plenty of shots on Alamy with various degrees of movement - I think it comes down to does it work or not.

+1

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Thanks Starphinx, I know they fail all in a submission and that does make sense - but it would be nice to know which one they objected to and why to save us guessing.

I know also they relax the rules or News and then those news shots go into the stock library after 48 hours - so quality and saleability is not an exact science.

 

That's interesting about adding a comment in EXIF. I currently tag using Alamy's web site but could add an editorial comment for QC before uploading - assuming might see it.

 

Edited by Zollikon

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I think there is normally a reason given on the image that has failed i.e., soft or lacking in definition/camera shake etc., might be worth having another look.

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9 minutes ago, Zollikon said:

 - but it would be nice to know which one they objected to and why to save us guessing.

 

 

They do indicate the specific one that failed - at least, they used to

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37 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

it is possible to put in the additional info box on the optional tag that you are using those things deliberately and why so the reviewer does know that you are presenting a deliberate vision

 

Nothing like that is read.  QC looks at the images alone.

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1 minute ago, losdemas said:

 

Nothing like that is read.  QC looks at the images alone.

So how do they decide in which image motion blur was the intention of the photographer and pass it and in which it is an unintentional fault and fail it?

 

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Just now, Starsphinx said:

So how do they decide in which image motion blur was the intention of the photographer and pass it and in which it is an unintentional fault and fail it?

 

 

Individual judgement based on experience.

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4 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

So how do they decide in which image motion blur was the intention of the photographer and pass it and in which it is an unintentional fault and fail it?

 

 

They can also look at the EXIF data and establish whether you deliberately selected a slow shutter speed for effect or whether it was a case of camera shake, for example.

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1 minute ago, Richard Tadman said:

 

They can also look at the EXIF data and establish whether you deliberately selected a slow shutter speed for effect or whether it was a case of camera shake, for example.

Well if they are looking at that EXIF data why not notes from the photographer in the EXIF?

No being picky just trying to clarify the logic

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Doubt they have time to look at absolutely everything but as above they can probably tell from experience whether it was the photographer's intention to produce blur or not.  I have some images where it was my intention to blur and no problem with these at all it's different from camera shake but anyway we don't know what the original poster's image was that failed and what it failed on.

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If you look in AIM and bring up that submission, the offending image will have "Failed QC" and the reason why written across the image.

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The others will just have "One or more images.... etc" written across them.

You need to recheck all images before re-submitting.

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4 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

So how do they decide in which image motion blur was the intention of the photographer and pass it and in which it is an unintentional fault and fail it?

 

 

My understanding is that the image should contain a smaller or larger area in focus - and that the intended blurred areas  should be obvious.

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5 hours ago, Zollikon said:

Just had my first fails - tricky hand-held, bustling city street, night shots, in the rain.

 

My uploading got cut off after 2 pics and they both later got rejected - no reason given. I downsized and resubmitted them individually - both passed. How does this make sense?! They 'look' sharper because you're not zooming in as much at 100%, but they obviously they are not actually any sharper - I don't get it. Can Alamy not offer a 100%/variable loupe view to potential purchasers so they can judge for themselves? Should I just batch downsample ALL my images from now on?

 

The second point is more serious. I uploaded the remaining 90+ images from the same shoot (before the first 2 had been rejected) and they all got rejected. The notice says "One or more images failed QC. This means the remaining images have been rejected without being assessed." Having looked closer, a few are not that great - fine for web or TV use or maybe quarter/half page, but not a full magazine page. No complaint from me, I'm still gauging Alamy's thresholds.

 

My point is, I don't know which they failed nor why. I can understand they don't want to trawl through 90+ images failing lots for the same thing - but could they not at least tag the one/s they did look at and fail and let me know why? I don't need an essay, not even a sentence - just a sticker saying 'blurred', or 'WB' or 'noise', or 'CA', etc.  In this shoot, I liked the vibrant artificial street-light colours - did they want them WB corrected? (I guess not, they accepted my DS'ed retries). I have have deliberately blurred people and buses in the shots to portray feeling/movement - did they not like that? How about neon lights on rain spots on the lens - they add character and tell the story - but they are a fault...

 

My point is, I'm guessing. Surely they could give me a clue?

 

I really like this shoot, I have literally thousands of other photos that will pass QC awaiting my processing but I want to learn why these shoot pics failed and get some or them on sale (I've edited magazines and they will sell!). So, I'm going through them one at a time at 100%, cutting out any with more blur, downsampling and sharpening those with fractional blur - but am I wasting my time? In the absence of any words or guidance on my images, the only way I can think to learn is by submitting these one at a time (maybe 60 or 70?!) and seeing which ones pass and which ones fail. But given that they accept exactly the same image just because I down-sampled, I am wondering about the quality of quality control itself.

 

These thoughts are probably more for Alamy as I am suggesting extra features. But any help/thoughts appreciated. (I'd rather not too many just telling me to assess at a higher quality or look at Alamy's QC PDF, that's a given.)

 

I seem to remember that Alamy suspend you for 28 days if you fail QC too many times - anyone know current policy on this? I don't want to be banned just for trying to learn their thresholds/preferences.

 

Thanks!

They do tell you which image has failed, but if an image has failed, then until you are clear again, all the other images will fail. 

 

Whilst they will all say "one or more of your images has failed....." at leas one will have the correct reason, or should do! If it hasn't you need to e-mail Alamy

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Sorry, got caught up in boring work for a few hours there!

 

Thanks for all the input.  Just re-checked in AIM and there is one submission of 2 photos and one of 91 photos - all the same night shoot. They all have exactly the same QC fail text and I can't click on any individual one to get more info - all are 'unclickable'. So, whilst I reckon I know why they failed, I can't be completely sure except by submitting them in smaller batches, maybe even one by one.

 

I can see very clearly that some of the images are not sharp, though as I said, the two initial slightly unsharp fails that I simply downsampled and resubmitted, then passed. Maybe they were marginal. I think in future I'll DS and lightly sharpen any I think are borderline and bin any worse than that. I should perhaps say that I am using a new camera who's sharpness is incredible, way, way better than the Nikon D7000 and Nikon lens I sold to part finance it. My "pin sharp rate" is at least double with the new camera and so I am a lot more critical when pixel peeping.

 

I don't want to waste Alamy's time or be sin-binned - just keen to offer photos that I think have a market. If I were Alamy, I might introduce a sharpness or useable size scale from 1-10 - lots of slightly unsharp 6000x4000 photos would be fine used on a web site at 600x400 or even full screen. Maybe that's getting a bit complicated - Alamy have been incredibly successful and I am simply not qualified to start telling them their job!

 

This is all good, I am learning...

 

 

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9 minutes ago, ChrisC said:

They do tell you which image has failed, but if an image has failed, then until you are clear again, all the other images will fail. 

 

Whilst they will all say "one or more of your images has failed....." at leas one will have the correct reason, or should do! If it hasn't you need to e-mail Alamy

 

None have, just re-checked. It would certainly make it a bit easier.

 

Edited by Zollikon

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4 minutes ago, Zollikon said:

 

None have, just re-checked. It would certainly make it a bit easier.

 

Might be best to e-mail them, the last time one of mine failed, it had a darker band across the image, giving the reason, rather than a grey band saying it's failed, it is hard to spot at first, even on a laptop, probably impossible on something smaller, but if not there, there is no harm in e-mailing Alamy & telling them 

 

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2 minutes ago, ChrisC said:

Might be best to e-mail them, the last time one of mine failed, it had a darker band across the image, giving the reason, rather than a grey band saying it's failed, it is hard to spot at first, even on a laptop, probably impossible on something smaller, but if not there, there is no harm in e-mailing Alamy & telling them 

 

 

+1 on emailing contributor relations for more information, they are usually very helpful. However I think they will be toddling off home for the weekend shortly so it might be Monday before you hear from them.

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5 minutes ago, Joseph Clemson said:

 

+1 on emailing contributor relations for more information, they are usually very helpful. However I think they will be toddling off home for the weekend shortly so it might be Monday before you hear from them.

Good point Joseph!

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5 hours ago, Richard Tadman said:

 

They can also look at the EXIF data

They don't. QC only look at the image.

It's unusual for the offending image not to be identified in AIM, but it does happen. It's usually pretty obvious when you have a bit of experience.

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10 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

If you down-sample your images they are very likely (depending on the subject and amount of blur) to appear sharper when inspected at 100% and this can help pass Alamy QC. However, if a customer wants to reproduce an image at a particular size  (e.g. A4) downsampling doesn't help them. Alamy expect images should be are sharp when viewed at 100%. The customer is expected to check the image dimensions in pixels or file size to determine how large a reproduction they can get away with (at 300PPI or whatever print standard they apply). Alamy provide customers with some advice here https://www.alamy.com/customer/help/file-size.aspx

 

Mark

 

  

That#s weird. I don't know why that says Chris C said??? I didn't say that, I've never downsampled the size of my images ever, I said Alamy always states what the problem is

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10 hours ago, Zollikon said:

My uploading got cut off after 2 pics and they both later got rejected - no reason given. I downsized and resubmitted them individually - both passed. How does this make sense?! They 'look' sharper because you're not zooming in as much at 100%, but they obviously they are not actually any sharper - I don't get it.

 

If you down-sample your images they are very likely (depending on the subject and amount of blur) to appear sharper when inspected at 100% and this can help pass Alamy QC. However, if a customer wants to reproduce an image at a particular size  (e.g. A4) downsampling doesn't help them. Alamy expect images should be are sharp when viewed at 100%. The customer is expected to check the image dimensions in pixels or file size to determine how large a reproduction they can get away with (at 300PPI or whatever print standard they apply). Alamy provide customers with some advice here https://www.alamy.com/customer/help/file-size.aspx

 

Mark

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