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I submitted below three pictures to Alamy and all three were rejected as they were "soft or lacking definition". Since these are shot in low light and are panoramic, getting all the edges sharp is not possible without upgrading your gear or the camera body itself. I submitted the same pictures to another stock image hosting company and they rejected it but the reasons were more understandable like 'Logo/Brand visible', 'Incorrect tagging, ' Intellectual property'. These comments can be worked up on and same images can be re-submitted. But how to you get the images to look sharper with non pro camera. I used Canon 70D and a Sigma lens. Does quality to Alamy mean only professional cameras and lenses?

 

https://flic.kr/p/VrEsq5    (Please download for actual image quality)

 

https://flic.kr/p/W2QbT4   (Please download for actual image quality)

  

https://flic.kr/p/VM7e4G   (Please download for actual image quality)

 

Adding some more tech details.

 

Camera - Canon 70D

Lens - Sigma 17 - 55

Tripod used, image stabilizer turned off.

 

Step 1 - Shot the images in RAW at ISO 100 -150, aperture 7.5, Shutter speed > 7 seconds

Step 2 - Lightroom edit. Brought down the highlights, cropped a little and saved as jpg (that's it!)

Step 3 - Import to photoshop to stitch them to create a panoramic view also ensured no details are lost

Step 4 - Upload to Alamy and face rejection

Edited by In my view

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No, it means getting the important parts of the image sharp. Yours are, quite simply, not sharp.

 

It's perfectly possible to submit images from quite modest cameras to Alamy, but they need to be crisp where it matters. Forget the fancy stuff to start with; just submit three sharp images taken in good light and get yourself started.

 

Alan

 

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I would have thought that your Canon 70d WAS an "expensive pro camera." Here in Pennsylvania, you see pros doing all sorts of shoots with them. Your problem isn't that. Getting Alamy quality does mean using good equipment properly, but your Canon easily qualifies. This brings up a much bigger issue, how do you figure out what your actual problem is? The kind and knowledgeable people on this board can tell you what's wrong, but can only guess at why.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

No, it means getting the important parts of the image sharp. Yours are, quite simply, not sharp.

 

It's perfectly possible to submit images from quite modest cameras to Alamy, but they need to be crisp where it matters. Forget the fancy stuff to start with; just submit three sharp images taken in good light and get yourself started.

 

Alan

 

Then why did the other (much) popular stock websites didn't complain of quality? I admit my images are not razor sharp but low light photography has it's own challenges. And besides if I ever manage to get a crisp image and all the good stuff I would not be looking forward to selling them for £12 per image with 50% royalty. The thing I was pointing out is how quality is defined. A shaky image is bad quality but razor sharp images cannot be achieved with non pro L series lens (except 50 mm f 1.8) so should I buy a £1500 lens so that I will be able to sell my pictures for £6? No thanks.

Edited by In my view

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The panoramics were take at a shutter speed of 1/10 and 1/15 which is far too slow to prevent blur. I find that in-camera panoramics are problematic even at much higher shutter speeds. They all appear over-processed.

OP, you've been told that the equipment you are using is sufficient. It's your workflow which is letting you down and unless you tell us what it is we can't help.

Alamy's only criterion is technical.

btw GS, you can download the original size from each image's flickr page.

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1 hour ago, GS-Images said:

We cannot judge without seeing the originals, or a 100% crop of the actual file you uploaded to Alamy. The Flickr copies are sharpened, just as most hosting sites will process the images in some way. They are also smaller than you'd submit to Alamy, so effective sharpening would have happened during resizing.

 

The London Eye one looks very sharp and well-defined, as do the buildings to the right of it. I'd have no hesitation submitting that to Alamy at all, but I cannot be certain without seeing the actual copy Alamy have seen. From that I can see though, it looks very good.

 

The other 2 are lacking definition though, and look to be sharpened quite a bit, therefore losing definition to gain sharpness. At full size they'll look a bit worse too.

 

You don't need an expensive camera, you just need a decent sensor. Absolutely any camera with a full frame or APS-C (cropped) sensor will be more than adequate for Alamy, and some smaller sensors are ok too but I don't know what the smallest that'll pass is. So if you have a FF or APS-C sensor then it's more about the lens, and kit lenses aren't always good enough. They can be if you don't push them too much. To get the best though, you do need to spend a bit more, especially to get a sharp result at all apertures across the full frame of the image. You could always go with a cheap 50mm f1.8 as all or most of those are extremely high quality and about the cheapest lenses you can buy. More recently zoom lenses are improving too, and my 2 main zoom lenses are sharper than any prime I've used. They aren't cheap, but are very much worth it in the long run.

 

Geoff.

Thanks for your comment. I use 50 mm quite often and it's my fav. But these required more wider focal length. I think I should stick with bright day light photography for a while but I would love to hear constructive feedback on those three rejected images. Can I send the original or raw pictures to you? If you can share your email ID?

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1 minute ago, spacecadet said:

The panoramics were take at a shutter speed of 1/10 and 1/15 which is far too slow to prevent blur. I find that in-camera panoramics are problematic even at much higher shutter speeds. They all appear over-processed.

OP, you've been told that the equipment you are using is sufficient. It's your workflow which is letting you down and unless you tell us what it is we can't help.

Alamy's only criterion is technical.

btw GS, you can download the original size from each image's flickr page.

None of these three pictures were taken below shutter speed of 7 seconds. That slow speed was necessary to offset the low light. These images were taken at 10 pm on three different days. :) Thanks for your feedback though.

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6 minutes ago, In my view said:

None of these three pictures were taken below shutter speed of 7 seconds. That slow speed was necessary to offset the low light. These images were taken at 10 pm on three different days. :) Thanks for your feedback though.

I misinterpreted the EXIF data- I'd assumed it was an in- camera panoramic.

The flickr versions are full of compression artefacts and edge effects so we'd need to see crops of the originals.

Shooting in RAW would probably help but you still haven't told us your processing workflow.

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I endorse the above comments and will try to add to them. The equipment you use is totally adequate for stock photography, although we don't know which Sigma you are using; I currently use a 60D with Sigma 17-50 f2.8 zoom much of the time and do not have problems passing QC.

 

QC are only interested in that the image meets certain parameters, not whether it contains intellectual property as this only determines the licence offered at Alamy. The sites which failed your images for containing intellectual property could possibly later fail them for other reasons later, it's just that when they saw logos etc they stopped looking.

 

I know it can be frustrating when an image you believe is good is failed; back in the day when we had to interpolate to 50mb my 20D shots were failing and I stopped submitting to Alamy (and went to the dark side - microstock) for a couple of years. When I purchased the 60D and improved my processing skills I began submitting and passing again.

 

Your shots are nice but they need to be better. You need to go that extra mile to be professional, and that may mean improving post processing skills and using a tripod and cable release when appropriate. But your current gear is not to blame, my Sony RX100 mk2 shots get through QC with a smaller sensor.

 

This is meant to be helpful and I hope you take all comments in the spirit they were intended and we are hopefully all constantly learning and evolving.

 

Good luck

Joe

 

 

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The vast majority of my port was taken with a 40D and a kit lens. Never any problems with quality. You most definitely do not need L series lenses to submit here. Better quality equipment is always a bonus, but most definitely not necessary. Shoot RAW, (thinking carefully about the settings you are using),  inspect carefully at 100% in the graphics program of your choice and upload. Job done. 

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40 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

I misinterpreted the EXIF data- I'd assumed it was an in- camera panoramic.

The flickr versions are full of compression artefacts and edge effects so we'd need to see crops of the originals.

Shooting in RAW would probably help but you still haven't told us your processing workflow.

Camera - Canon 70D

Lens - Sigma 17 - 55

Tripod used, image stabilizer turned off.

 

Step 1 - Shot the images in RAW at ISO 100 -150, aperture 7.5, Shutter speed > 7 seconds

Step 2 - Lightroom edit. Brought down the highlights, cropped a little and saved as jpg (that's it!)

Step 3 - Import to photoshop to stitch them to create a panoramic view also ensured no details are lost

Step 4 - Upload to Alamy and face rejection

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23 minutes ago, Joe Gaul said:

I endorse the above comments and will try to add to them. The equipment you use is totally adequate for stock photography, although we don't know which Sigma you are using; I currently use a 60D with Sigma 17-50 f2.8 zoom much of the time and do not have problems passing QC.

 

QC are only interested in that the image meets certain parameters, not whether it contains intellectual property as this only determines the licence offered at Alamy. The sites which failed your images for containing intellectual property could possibly later fail them for other reasons later, it's just that when they saw logos etc they stopped looking.

 

I know it can be frustrating when an image you believe is good is failed; back in the day when we had to interpolate to 50mb my 20D shots were failing and I stopped submitting to Alamy (and went to the dark side - microstock) for a couple of years. When I purchased the 60D and improved my processing skills I began submitting and passing again.

 

Your shots are nice but they need to be better. You need to go that extra mile to be professional, and that may mean improving post processing skills and using a tripod and cable release when appropriate. But your current gear is not to blame, my Sony RX100 mk2 shots get through QC with a smaller sensor.

 

This is meant to be helpful and I hope you take all comments in the spirit they were intended and we are hopefully all constantly learning and evolving.

 

Good luck

Joe

 

 

Thanks for the feedback. I am using the same lens Sigma 17-50 f 2.8. I admit there is lot to learn but I just can't achieve any further sharpness in dark/low light. I have no complains with the quality of sharpness on a bright sunny day and I am happy with the images but for some reason I love to shoot in the evening/night and I don't know what can make images sharper especially if you are exposing the camera for > 5 seconds.

 

..and yes I did use a tripod and timer shutter release.

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For your initial submission it would be better to simply send in standard shots taken in good light conditions and in sharp focus.

 

Once you are up and running you can submit images in more challenging conditions. 

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12 minutes ago, In my view said:

Thanks for the feedback. I am using the same lens Sigma 17-50 f 2.8. I admit there is lot to learn but I just can't achieve any further sharpness in dark/low light. I have no complains with the quality of sharpness on a bright sunny day and I am happy with the images but for some reason I love to shoot in the evening/night and I don't know what can make images sharper especially if you are exposing the camera for > 5 seconds.

 

..and yes I did use a tripod and timer shutter release.

Just some suggestions, and you may already be doing them.

Are you focussing manually rather than autofocus? If not try it. Also try focussing in live view with magnification.

If on a tripod try f8 or f11.

Remember depth of field extends approximately a little (about a third) in front of focus point and more (about 2/3) behind

I presume you are shooting Raw files, if not try them.

Try playing with sliders in Lightroom eg. contrast, clarity.

When exporting to Photoshop try a layer based approach and experiment with sliders again. Showing and hiding layers will show any advantage.

 

Other than this I don't really know what to suggest, but good luck

Joe

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46 minutes ago, In my view said:

Camera - Canon 70D

Lens - Sigma 17 - 55

Tripod used, image stabilizer turned off.

 

Step 1 - Shot the images in RAW at ISO 100 -150, aperture 7.5, Shutter speed > 7 seconds

Step 2 - Lightroom edit. Brought down the highlights, cropped a little and saved as jpg (that's it!)

Step 3 - Import to photoshop to stitch them to create a panoramic view also ensured no details are lost

Step 4 - Upload to Alamy and face rejection

I'm very surprised they look so bad. You're doing everything you're supposed to- in fact what I do. Exporting as TIFF to PS would help  a bit, but I don't think that accounts for it. I assume you're not upsizing- in fact you could downsize quite a bit, but it's bad policy to do it routinely just to pass QC, and certainly not on your initial sub.

Some setting is letting you down. I can't think what it might be. Check your size settings.

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1 hour ago, In my view said:

I just can't achieve any further sharpness in dark/low light.

 

 

It's perfectly possible. Similar subject, Sigma 15mm fisheye:

 

Restaurant ship Hispaniola berthed on the Thames with the London Eye in the background Stock Photo

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I have a number of 4 or 5 image stitched panoramas on Alamy, shot hand-held on an RX100 and stitched in Lightroom - never any problem even with the relatively small sensor

 

Alex

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Could it be your camera technique? Somebody already mentioned focus. Manual focus is almost essential in low light. How are you releasing the shutter? Have you got a mirror-up function on the camera? Is there passing traffic - serious problem on a bridge. Is your tripod really steady?  

 

This is unlikely to be your problem but it is worth knowing that Lightroom has evolved since 2013. You can now merge in LR and get a dng file which is generally way better than doing the merge in PS.  

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I downloaded your full size image of "Evening on the Thames" and looked at it in Photoshop at 100%.   I agree that the buildings are not quite sharp enough, but more concerning are the pixelated chunks of colour, most noticeable in the skies.  I'm not sure if that's something that flickr did, or if it's in your original image. 

 

Maria

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1 hour ago, GS-Images said:

I swear I'm seeing different images to others on here.  :D  They really don't look that bad, especially the first one!  :)

 

Geoff.

 

I agree with Maria. I downloaded the 100% jpg of the 2nd image (Evening on the Thames) from Flickr. Assuming Flickr hasn't messed with the image, the sharpness looks marginal to me. But I'd also be concerned about the pixelation in the sky and the extra noise around edges. It looks like it may have had significant adjustment to the sky contrast in 8 bit mode, and that it's had significant sharpening with masking applied, which has really messed up the edges. It would be useful to see one of the RAWs this panorama was produced from. Here's a 100% crop from what I'm seeing in PS.

 

Screen_Shot_2017-06-22_at_20.58.49.jpg

 

Mark

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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I have the Sigma 17-50 on a Canon 7D.  It is a very sharp lens, but prone to chromatic aberration and fringing that is easily corrected in Lightroom.  Your first photo looks like it would pass QC, number two definitely not and number three maybe.  It looks like you lens was dirty in number three which caused the flare around the bright lights.  You might try a different strategy and boost your ISO up to 1600 and increase your shutter speed and then deal with the resulting noise in post processing.  Most of my night shooting has been with a 5D MKII at ISO 3200 and they get through QC just fine.  You will not get the smooth water effect with the shorter shutter speed though. 

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3 hours ago, MariaJ said:

I downloaded your full size image of "Evening on the Thames" and looked at it in Photoshop at 100%.   I agree that the buildings are not quite sharp enough, but more concerning are the pixelated chunks of colour, most noticeable in the skies.  I'm not sure if that's something that flickr did, or if it's in your original image. 

 

Maria

I've just done the same thing, with a bit more contrast and adjusting the levels, the images look a lot better, but at 100% which is Alamy's criteria they is a lot of bad pixelation, which won't see you past the starting gate with Alamy I'm afraid.

I've only put in a few night scenes of the Queen Mary 2, but I worried about them and was careful to ensure nothing flat was uploaded, one of them did sell a few months later and in fact looked terrible the way the newspaper edited it!

I also know when I had a Flickr account they added screen sharpness, but I don't think that is the issue, also those images are from 2013 & there appears to be nothing else on Flickr? So I think maybe you believe they are your best images?

In order to pass the initial Alamy test, you simply need 4 sharp and clear images, so go out tomorrow take four new images and then try and progress from that point.

 

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13 hours ago, In my view said:

Camera - Canon 70D

Lens - Sigma 17 - 55

Tripod used, image stabilizer turned off.

 

Step 1 - Shot the images in RAW at ISO 100 -150, aperture 7.5, Shutter speed > 7 seconds

Step 2 - Lightroom edit. Brought down the highlights, cropped a little and saved as jpg (that's it!)

Step 3 - Import to photoshop to stitch them to create a panoramic view also ensured no details are lost

Step 4 - Upload to Alamy and face rejection

 

75-day prescription for what ails you:

 

1. you must create track record of consecutive QC passes, IMO ~100 in a row, say (20) images each;

2. do this taking ONLY, as previously advised, bright daylight images at 1/250 sec or faster, shot ONLY at f5 to f5.6

(70D is ?1.6x? sensor so ~f5 equivalent to full frame f8???)(optional: a -1.0 fill flash "hardens" focus)

(also stick near top IQ focal length & focus distance for that lens, guessing 35-40mm & 12-18'??)

(that's right, your zoom lens is a quasi-fixed lens during this scheme...)

3. forget extreme creativity during this project, subject shooting of dull-ordinary public things OK

(after 50 consecutive passes, OK to submit twice daily with ~1 hr minimum between)

4. at end of #3, your QC reputation has risen to top, intensity of each inspection reduced (IMO, guessing)

(now gradually get more creative, but mix with as many "safer" images, stay near f5-5.6)

 

Aside: timed exposures on my 1" sensored Sony RX10-III are f4-4.5, diffraction kicks in above that...

Edited by JeffGreenberg

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6 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

 

I agree with Maria. I downloaded the 100% jpg of the 2nd image (Evening on the Thames) from Flickr. Assuming Flickr hasn't messed with the image, the sharpness looks marginal to me. But I'd also be concerned about the pixelation in the sky and the extra noise around edges. It looks like it may have had significant adjustment to the sky contrast in 8 bit mode, and that it's had significant sharpening with masking applied, which has really messed up the edges. It would be useful to see one of the RAWs this panorama was produced from. Here's a 100% crop from what I'm seeing in PS.

 

Screen_Shot_2017-06-22_at_20.58.49.jpg

 

Mark

 

Thanks for your time. I think I know what the issue is.. with the same lighting conditions and same workflow, I took another snap today but this time switched to my 50mm F1.8 and the results have surprised me! (please check the link below) Clearly Sigma 17-55 is not suitable for low light conditions or at least not as good as 50mm f1.8. I will try going to the same places this weekend and shoot with 50mm prime. Hope the results will be better this time.

 

https://flic.kr/p/ULBE3s

 

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1 hour ago, JeffGreenberg said:

 

75-day prescription for what ails you:

 

1. you must create track record of consecutive QC passes, IMO ~100 in a row, say (20) images each;

2. do this taking ONLY, as previously advised, bright daylight images at 1/250 sec or faster, shot ONLY at f5 to f5.6

(70D is ?1.6x? sensor so ~f5 equivalent to full frame f8???)(optional: a -1.0 fill flash "hardens" focus)

(also stick near top IQ focal length & focus distance for that lens, guessing 35-40mm & 12-18'??)

(that's right, your zoom lens is a quasi-fixed lens during this scheme...)

3. forget extreme creativity during this project, subject shooting of dull-ordinary public things OK

(after 50 consecutive passes, OK to submit twice daily with ~1 hr minimum between)

4. at end of #3, your QC reputation has risen to top, intensity of each inspection reduced (IMO, guessing)

(now gradually get more creative, but mix with as many "safer" images, stay near f5-5.6)

 

Aside: timed exposures on my 1" sensored Sony RX10-III are f4-4.5, diffraction kicks in above that...

Thanks, I think I will have to follow this.

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