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Rodwell

Disappointed with Alamy

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Very disappointed with the response from Alamy. I submitted three images for portfolio submission and the first time they were all rejected, as they said, for noise problems. I was quite surprised as all images had been printed to a very high standard with absolutely no problems of noise showing up. In fact, one image won an award in a competition. I ran each image through Topaz noise reduction and resubmitted to Alamy. They were again refused for exactly the same reason. Personally, I think Alamy are being over specific with problems of noise in images. Image, "Brotherly Love" can be viewed on my website www.tonywoods.smugmug.com/Tony-Woods-Photography

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You have some lovely images there. There's no doubt you have good pictures but for stock you must check them at full size for noise and dust spots. Anything less and you will get caught out. Many new contributors fall foul of this. Just submit some clean images taken at low ISO and in good light. You'll get the hang of it quite quickly I'm sure.

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8 hours ago, Rodwell said:

 

saw the "brotherly love", and looked at the "sunflowers", I noticed a bit of noise in the blue sky even in the small website image (or maybe because of it) 

 

how much sharpening and saturation are you doing in photoshop? A recommendation would be to try and limit sharpening and saturation as it can intensify jpeg artifacts like noise, and not to use denoise filters.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Sultanpepa said:

You have some lovely images there. There's no doubt you have good pictures but for stock you must check them at full size for noise and dust spots. Anything less and you will get caught out. Many new contributors fall foul of this. Just submit some clean images taken at low ISO and in good light. You'll get the hang of it quite quickly I'm sure.

+1

 

Agreed you have some great looking images. But remember Alamy QC will inspect a 100% size so that every pixel is (just) visible. It's hard to see what the problem is at lower magnification on Smugmug, but it does look like you may have applied quite a lot of sharpening on some images (e.g. Hidden leaves) which has emphasised the noise and made the image look a bit "gritty". If you still have the RAW images and use LR or PS, then do most of your processing in RAW (adjusting levels, saturation etc.) and only use the default level of sharpening. If the images were taken at high ISO, or with a camera with APSC or smaller (or earlier generation) sensor you may need to apply some extra luminance noise reduction. If the end result looks slightly soft or noisy then downsizing to 6MP before uploading to Alamy QC can save the day.

 

Looking at Brotherly Love I can it was taken with a Canon 1DS MkII at ISO 500 which should give results that are fine for Alamy QC and you have PS CC. I think your problem might be that you have applied too much sharpening and submitted at to Alamy at full resolution (*or even upsized - see below). Also if you have applied Topaz Denoise to an image like Brotherly Love it can make a right mess of it. I find Topaz is good at removing noise from flat areas (e.g. skies) but, if a previously sharpened image is processed with it, the end result can be quite a mess. It can significantly oversharpen the existing edges (even set to 0 sharpening) an add artefacts along their edges. For images like this you would be better applying Noise Reduction in LR or PS Adobe Camera Raw. The QC fail after Topaz may actually be because of the artefacts introduced by Topaz in the fur. At 100% the individual hairs should look sharp, but should still have smooth edges which don't show obvious jagged or staircase edges or sharpening halos.

 

*I've just noticed the Brotherly Love image on SmugMug claims to be 6,600 x 4,650 pixels. But isn't the Canon 1DS Mk II sensor 3,504x2,336 pixels? If so, then that indicates that you may also have upsized the image? Is that what was submitted to Alamy? Keep your processing simple. No upsizing, minimal sharpening, no Topaz Denoise (unless shooting at very high ISO or digitising slide film).

 

Posting a 100% crop would allow more comments.  

 

Mark 

Edited by M.Chapman
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My experience (and there isn't a lot of it so bear with me) with regards to noise vs sharpness is Alamy would rather an ever so slightly soft image vs a sharper one with slight amounts of noise. What I mean by this is when processing the raw image break the habit to apply a bit of sharpening (feels alien at first) and I always bias towards noise reduction first. I discovered this fairly early on when I submitted an image taken in daylight at either ISO 400 or 800, perfectly exposed but just had a tiny bit of grain (very little colour noise) on flat surfaces. You really had to try at 100%+ to notice it, but sure enough it got rejected. I waited a few months until I was better with Lightroom, then reopened the image, applied a moderate amount of NR and resubmitted. The image passed. In all honesty the NR process did remove a tiny amount of detail, and for most purposes I don't think you'd notice the difference, but it's clearly what they want. They really don't seem to like noise, but on the other hand I've submitted images that I've later looked at and thought oh damn that's soft, but I have never yet had a QC fail on softness. Only noise. Do with that info what you will, but me personally if I ever feel I can sacrifice sharpness to reduce noise I will do it for my photos here.

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What others said.   I can only offer the following:

 

For your initial submission to pass QA, it is not important to upload images that have most commercial potential.    They only scrutinize technical aspect.  So just pick clean photo(s), with zero noise, well exposed, focus, histogram evenly balanced left to right, no chromatic aberration, etc.  Does not matter what's in the photo.   After you get accepted, you will still be on the "tight leash" for a bit (meaning several images of your submission will be inspected to high standards), then it will relax to maybe only 1 or 2 in a batch.   It is like any new job anywhere else.

 

Pics are really nice btw, and Brotherly Love is fantastic.  So don't give up

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On 21/04/2020 at 09:04, M.Chapman said:

*I've just noticed the Brotherly Love image on SmugMug claims to be 6,600 x 4,650 pixels. But isn't the Canon 1DS Mk II sensor 3,504x2,336 pixels? If so, then that indicates that you may also have upsized the image? Is that what was submitted to Alamy? Keep your processing simple. No upsizing, minimal sharpening, no Topaz Denoise (unless shooting at very high ISO or digitising slide film).

 

 

The pixel dimensions on the 1DS Mk II is 4992 × 3328. 

There is no need to submit an upsized image any longer. 

Quite a few of my images were taken on the 1DS Mk I and I never had any problems with noise.

Always shoot RAW and try not to underexpose as underexposure will add quite a bit of noise.

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On 21/04/2020 at 03:04, M.Chapman said:

+1

 

Agreed you have some great looking images. But remember Alamy QC will inspect a 100% size so that every pixel is (just) visible. It's hard to see what the problem is at lower magnification on Smugmug, but it does look like you may have applied quite a lot of sharpening on some images (e.g. Hidden leaves) which has emphasised the noise and made the image look a bit "gritty". If you still have the RAW images and use LR or PS, then do most of your processing in RAW (adjusting levels, saturation etc.) and only use the default level of sharpening. If the images were taken at high ISO, or with a camera with APSC or smaller (or earlier generation) sensor you may need to apply some extra luminance noise reduction. If the end result looks slightly soft or noisy then downsizing to 6MP before uploading to Alamy QC can save the day.

 

 

 

 

Just adding:  and even for some software, don't even go as high as Default Level on some specs.  Default level on LR for Fuji x-Trans file could create major mess when they pushed up their default a year ago...   

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