UPDIG Version 2.0 Gains Support

NEW YORK – The Universal Photographic Imaging Guidelines working group at PhotoPlus Expo 2006 released a revised list of 12 steps to better color reproduction of and communication about digital images.

Paired with detailed information describing how to meet the guidelines, UPDIG 2.0 represents a consensus among 17 photographer and illustrator groups concerning how image files should be prepared and delivered.

“Photographers are a notoriously independent bunch,” said Richard Anderson, who oversaw the guideline drafting and revision efforts. “To have 17 different photographer and illustrator groups on the same page is rare, if not unprecedented. And we hope our consensus will continue to lead toward better understanding among all who work with digital image files.”

UPDIG 2.0 is free for all to access at http://www.UPDIG.org, where it is formatted for both hyperlinked online viewing and as a printable (.PDF) download.

In both formats, the information comprises a “Quick Guide” that lists the 12 guidelines and a “Complete Guide,” which clarifies issues affecting accurate reproduction and management of digital image files. Although working from a photographer’s perspective, the UPDIG group has sought out and incorporated the concerns of everyone involved in reproducing digital images. Anyone working with digital images should find UPDIG 2.0 useful, if not essential.


The guidelines have three primary goals:

Digital images should look the same as they transfer between devices, platforms and vendors.

Digital images should be prepared in the correct resolution, at the correct size, for the device(s) on which they will be viewed or printed.

Digital images should have embedded metadata that conform to the IPTC standards, making the images searchable, providing usage and contact information, and stating their creators and/or copyright owners.



The effort to bring order to the exchange of digital image files got off the ground two years ago at PhotoPlus Expo, where leaders and representatives of nearly a dozen photographer groups from around the world gathered for a “Digital Summit.” They agreed on the need for guidelines and best practices that would be easily understood, and that offered options for different workflows, aimed at different outputs – from HiFi color printing presses to online media.

Several folks stepped forward to help craft the Guidelines, and before long, the group had established an online forum for communications. By early 2005, the group agreed on the name Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines, and draft ideas were circulating. David Riecks, an authority on image archiving who was serving as the Digital Committee chair for the American Society of Media Photographers, created the first Web site for UPDIG.

By spring 2005 Anderson, a national board member for the ASMP, had stepped in to organize and write the Guidelines. Greg Smith, Business Practices Committee chairman for the National Press Photographers Association, helped Anderson edit the documents, and others contributed critiques and ideas. ASMP’s Peter Dyson crafted a draft web version of the guidelines, which later grew into the current web presentation and downloadable PDF. Web traffic and downloads have remained heavy. Industry magazines and online forums cite UPDIG regularly.

Two years after its birth, the group has encouraged many photographic vendors to join the discussions, also welcoming representatives from photographic agencies, graphic design groups and more. Members of the UPDIG steering committee now represent 17 organizations. Version 2.0 was written once again by Anderson, who also serves as the ASMP Digital Standards Chair, in conjunction with Michael Stewart (ASMP) who served as Technical Editor. Much of the feedback from version 1.0 was incorporated into the new version.

The UPDIG working group seeks feedback from all concerned about issues of digital image file exchange. Please send ideas and inquiries to [email protected].