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Stephanie.J

Failing QC: Help for a Novice

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Hi all

 

At the risk of sounding clueless and completely out of my depth..

 

I have just joined Alamy as I have some lovely photos of flowers and plants & such, and it is a waste to have them sat on my Mac unused!

 

Although I studied the art of photography at college, when it comes to post production, using a Mac and file handling, I am completely self taught, and still have a great deal to learn.

 

I'd like to think that I am fairly competent with my camera & have the potential to submit some great images, but I am saddened to think that my lack of technical knowledge is proving to be my downfall, as I feel my creativity and capability to produce a beautiful image should not be dictated by my knowledge of metadata, file sizes etc!

 

I have made my first attempt at uploading 4 images and they unfortunately failed QC. Although as a group they all failed, there was only an explanation next to one image, which stated it failed on 'soft or lacking definition'. Where I could maybe see where this could apply to the one image addressed, (my images have been taken at close range with a 50ml 1.4 lens, and have a very shallow DOF) I am confused to why the others did not pass, as I feel they are comparable in subject style to many of the photos I see on the site. At full size they still have focus in my opinion.

 

 

I am sorry to say my images are not on the web to add a link for you to see, (only on Facebook where they are low res)

 

I generally shoot in RAW (and occasionally high quality jpeg) using a Canon 30D & an Olympus E400, I edit in Lightroom and then further in photoshop. I try to keep editing to a minimum.

 

I am obviously going wrong somewhere during my workflow. I think that most of my problems are occurring with file sizes, I haven't yet worked out where to look at my photo data in lightroom or photoshop, I am not sure what I am doing wrong? and I don't know if maybe I am exporting my images wrongly from lightroom in to jpegs before editing in photoshop. 

 

...Basically I am looking for any simple advice from people who have plenty of technical knowledge.

Please feel free to speak to me as you would a complete novice!

I am frustrated that my lack of knowledge is holding me back!

 

Thank you kindly & keep up the good work!

Fingers crossed I pass the grade soon

 

Stephanie
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You can start by choosing very "safe" images to send. My first submission failed because I made the mistake of sending a peacock with his tail displaying. I should have realized that they quiver just a bit so the little feathers were not sharp though the body was. I suggest not using something with a shallow depth of field for your first submission. An easy way to check if the file size is big enough is to make sure the long side on a typical image is at least 3600. You can set that info to show as an overlay in Lightroom. Don't remember where at the moment but I'm sure you can find it. Scott Kelby and Martin Evening have very good books on Lightroom and there is a lot of info online. Sometimes I just type my question into Google and find an answer.

 

Paulette

Edited by NYCat

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Although only one image failed QC the other then `fail as a group` too.

No fails and they all go through obviously.

 

Edited to add, In the future if you load a batch of say 10 pictures when one picture fails they all fail as a group 

Edited by Ace
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Forgot to mention that if one image fails, all fail. That is the truth even after you are submitting dozens at a time. As I recall, I replaced my peacock with something I felt confident about and sent it with the other 3. I passed on my second try. Don't be discouraged. It can take a while to work out the best workflow. Just be sure to check EVERY image at 100% so you can check focus and look for spots and other issues. The QC folks are also photographers and they do understand depth of field but best to be very conservative at first.

 

Paulette

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I generally shoot in RAW (and occasionally high quality jpeg) using a Canon 30D & an Olympus E400, I edit in Lightroom and then further in photoshop. I try to keep editing to a minimum.
 
I am obviously going wrong somewhere during my workflow. I think that most of my problems are occurring with file sizes, I haven't yet worked out where to look at my photo data in lightroom or photoshop, I am not sure what I am doing wrong? and I don't know if maybe I am exporting my images wrongly from lightroom in to jpegs before editing in photoshop. 
 
...Basically I am looking for any simple advice from people who have plenty of technical knowledge.
Please feel free to speak to me as you would a complete novice!
I am frustrated that my lack of knowledge is holding me back!
 
Thank you kindly & keep up the good work!
Fingers crossed I pass the grade soon
 
Stephanie

You shouldn't need to do any resizing with those cameras so file size shouldn't be an issue - you don't need to mess with file size. You can check file sizes in photoshop. The D30 images should be just over 24MB and the E400 around 30MB. Overdoing noise suppression can cause softness.

Having a narrow DOF shouldn't matter as long as you have the expected part of the image in focus.

Don't know what else to say withouth seeing the images.

Edited by JohnB

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Hi Stephanie J,

 

I also do much of my RAW processing in Lightroom, and then transfer to Photoshop for final editing and saving as a JPEG prior to sending the images to Alamy 

 

What you have heard so far is excellent advice -

 

1. For your first 4, choose safe images; put the camera on a tripod if necessary, shoot at an aperture between f8 and f16 in reasonably bright light, 

2. Check each image at 100% resolution for sharpness and dust spots

3. In Lightroom, check and ensure it exports to photoshop in TIFF format, so you then only convert to JPG at the end when finally saving the image to send to Alamy

4. In Photoshop, make sure you can see the overall uncompressed size of the image you are working on all the time - the easiest way I find, is down at the bottom left of the Photoshop pane there is a small arrow pointing to the right - and to the left of that, the size, uncompressed, of the image is shown. If its not there click on the arrow and then on "show" - a range of options opens up, one of which is "document sizes" - click on that and you will see the size of the uncompressed image in MB in that area.

5. Persevere - dont give up - you sound like you are doing most things right !

 

Good luck!

 

Kumar Sriskandan

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OK, I guess someone has to ask this question: What exactly is a "safe" image?

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OK, I guess someone has to ask this question: What exactly is a "safe" image?

 

Static subject (e.g, buildings or landscape), bright sunshine, calm day, tripod, no difficult lighting or fancy 'arty' effects.  Alamy just check for technical quality, not subject. 

Edited by Vincent Lowe

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OK, I guess someone has to ask this question: What exactly is a "safe" image?

 

Static subject (e.g, buildings or landscape), bright sunshine, calm day, tripod, no difficult lighting or fancy 'arty' effects.  Alamy just check for technical quality, not subject. 

 

Doesn't this imply that images taken under other conditions -- cloudy, windy day, no tripod, difficult lighting, arty, etc. -- are unsafe? If so, isn't that a bit weird?

 

Just sayin'...

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As Kumar has said above, don't edit jpegs.  Export as TIFFS to work on in photoshop then export as jpegs to upload to Alamy. Each time you save a jpeg it loses quality.  All changes, including adding metadata should be done to the RAW or TIFF files only.  Also make sure you export your jpegs as maximum quality and full size for Alamy.

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OK, I guess someone has to ask this question: What exactly is a "safe" image?

 

Static subject (e.g, buildings or landscape), bright sunshine, calm day, tripod, no difficult lighting or fancy 'arty' effects.  Alamy just check for technical quality, not subject. 

 

Doesn't this imply that images taken under other conditions -- cloudy, windy day, no tripod, difficult lighting, arty, etc. -- are unsafe? If so, isn't that a bit weird?

 

Just sayin'...

Having failed a QC (SOLD) when I first started submitting due to slight motion blur in vegetation in an otherwise sharp picture, I am very careful not to submit images which might fail for that reason. Consequently I have numerous photos that I have never submitted to Alamy because of slight wind-blow in vegetation or other types of motion blur. These are images where the blur is not obvious at thumbnail size, which is the criterion that Alamy state somewhere. So generally I only submit what I consider to be safe images as defined above. Being sin-binned for a month is very frustrating.

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OK, I guess someone has to ask this question: What exactly is a "safe" image?

 

Static subject (e.g, buildings or landscape), bright sunshine, calm day, tripod, no difficult lighting or fancy 'arty' effects.  Alamy just check for technical quality, not subject. 

 

Doesn't this imply that images taken under other conditions -- cloudy, windy day, no tripod, difficult lighting, arty, etc. -- are unsafe? If so, isn't that a bit weird?

 

Just sayin'...

Safe is relative. Under other conditions it requires more technical skill to ensure that the image doesn't exhibit one of the faults that QC might fail it for. Why make life difficult for yourself in your first submissions?  Alamy QC are not just evaluating the four photos, they are indirectly evaluating the photographer to find out if the photographer understands what is meant by technical quality and whether they have the equipment to achieve it and the skills and experience to use that equipment to achieve good results.

 

Don't worry, once your first 4 photos have passed you will have plenty of opportunities to submit more risky photos. However, I've found that I've become more critical of the quality of my submissions, and won't take the risk of submitting something that I know is marginal

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Hi all
 
At the risk of sounding clueless and completely out of my depth..
 
I have made my first attempt at uploading 4 images and they unfortunately failed QC. Although as a group they all failed, there was only an explanation next to one image, which stated it failed on 'soft or lacking definition'. Where I could maybe see where this could apply to the one image addressed, (my images have been taken at close range with a 50ml 1.4 lens, and have a very shallow DOF) I am confused to why the others did not pass, as I feel they are comparable in subject style to many of the photos I see on the site. At full size they still have focus in my opinion.
 
 
I am sorry to say my images are not on the web to add a link for you to see, (only on Facebook where they are low res)
 
...Basically I am looking for any simple advice from people who have plenty of technical knowledge.
Please feel free to speak to me as you would a complete novice!
I am frustrated that my lack of knowledge is holding me back!
 
Stephanie

IMO what is being assessed on your first four submission is not so much the quality of your images but the quality of your judgement - can you tell when something is sharp or not, can you spot fringing, what noise is too much, what noise suppression is too much, etc, etc.

 

In other words can you knowingly produce images to an acceptable quality for stock so that Alamy don't get returns when their customers receive the high res.

 

Yes you can successfully submit images with selective DoF and blur and whatever else is used to create the image you want but the emphasis has to be on doing it deliberately not just 'liking the effect' and ignoring the quality issues.

 

As others have said if you want constructive help assessing the images that have failed you need to make the high res available (heavily watermarked) and I would suggest that is the whole image not just selected areas as you may not select the area that QC picked up on. Low res on FB is of no use.

 

One thought, you mention photographing flowers close up - have you stopped down too far in an attempt to increase DoF and so softened the whole image - have you used a high ISO to get a high shutter speed because the wind is blowing them about - allowing the situation to control you rather than you it. Also is your lens sharp and, if you are using it, is your autofocus correctly calibriated. As I say, just thoughts - may not apply.

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When I submitted my first 4 photos, I took the opposite approach to the advise offered by many here.

 

My 1st upload was what I considered marginal images. 2 passed and 2 failed, but I learned much more about how sharp is sharp, than from the submission guidelines.

 

As future uploads are selective checks, it's impossible to know if future images passed QC, or just escaped scrutiny.

 

The feedback from that 1st batch rejection has served me well to date (tempting fate there ), with all subsequent uploads passing QC.   

 

The initial 4 photo upload is a 2 way street. It gives Alamy a chance to assess you as well as your images, but don't ignore the opportunity it gives you to learn more about QC. 

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for the type of image you describe, you don't say if you use stabilisation for the camera.

I generally find I can't get the point of focus sharp for close up with shallow dof without a tripod, unless I'm very lucky!

The raw files for the 30d are big enough to output the jpeg, so there's no need to worry about file size unless the image is cropped.

good luck

ann

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Like Andy Holmes, I uploaded 4 borderline images. Only on your first submission you can be sure, that all 4 images get checked carefully, and a rejection does not harm your Alamy rank. Fortunately, my first submission passed QC, and gave me a good idea, what is acceptable.

The more I upload, the more selective I become, what is acceptable for me to submit. This makes me sleep better while awaiting QC.  :rolleyes:

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Hi everyone!

 

Thank you all for reading and replying to my post, I have found everyones advice so helpful, I am really learning a lot.

 

I will persevere until I get it right!

 

In the mean time, you are all lovely!

 

Thank you kindly

 

Stephanie

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