UPDIG Digital Imaging Guidelines Aim To Smooth Image Reproduction Issues

Guidelines that address key issues affecting accurate photographic reproduction and the management of digital image files for photographers and anyone working with digital images were developed over the course of the past year and released this fall at PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. The newUniversal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines are public, free, and available online at www.updig.org.

UPDIG organized itself as a group to establish reproduction and image management standards more than a year ago at PhotoPlus during a “digital summit.” The 15 guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort by members of roughly a dozen photographers’ groups, including theNational Press Photographers Association as represented by Greg Smith, chairperson of NPPA’s business practices committee.

The 15 guidelines – along with accompanying Best Practices documents – are intended to clarify issues affecting accurate reproduction and management of digital image files. Although the documents were created from a photographer’s perspective, Smith said that the group has worked hard to incorporate the concerns of everyone involved in the process of reproducing digital images and that anyone working with digital images should find them useful.

Smith said the guidelines have three primary goals:

  1. Digital images look the same as they transfer between devices, platforms, and vendors.
  2. Digital images are prepared in the correct resolution, at the correct size, for the device(s) on which they will be viewed or printed.
  3. Digital images have metadata embedded that conform to the IPTC standards, making the images searchable, providing usage and contact information, and stating their creators or copyright owners.

At the “digital summit” more than a year ago, George Fulton, president of Advertising Photographers of America, proposed a set of step-by-step guidelines, Smith said, and those attending agreed that it was a worthy goal. Several members stepped up to move the guideline project forward, and the group established an online forum for communications. By early 2005, they agreed on the name Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines, and drafts of ideas were circulating. David Riecks, chairman of both American Society of Media Photographers' Digital Photography Standards and Practices committee and Stock Artists Alliance's Imaging Technology Systems, set up a Web site for UPDIG.

Smith says that by early 2005, Richard Anderson, now a national board member for ASMP, had stepped in to organize and write the Guidelines. Smith and Anderson edited 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 Acrobat .PDF file.

Joining the session at this year’s PhotoPlus Expo to unveil the guidelines after participating in their development were representatives from the Australian Commercial and Media Photographers, the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association, the Association Of Photographers, Advertising Photographers of America, the American Society of Media Photographers, the American Society of Picture Professionals, the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communication, Editorial Photographers, NPPA, Professional Photographers of America, and the Stock Artists Alliance. Members of these groups make up UPDIG’s steering committee. Joining the session were representatives from software and hardware manufacturers, such as Canon, Adobe, and Microsoft; photo buyers and marketers, such as the Picture Agency Council of America, Getty Images, Jupiter Images, and Barnes & Noble; and several educators from Rochester Institute of Technology.

UPDIG ‘s board members and steering committee say they welcome industry feedback from anyone concerned about the issues of digital imaging and reproduction and file exchanges, and ask that ideas and inquiries be sent to [email protected]. Media seeking more information are urged to eMail Richard Anderson or David Riecks.