Photographers who have their eye on creating yummy, high-resolution pin-sharp prints with maximum attention to detail may be considering medium format cameras at the very top of the range. Cameras like Hasselblad, Pentax and Phase One are particularly popular, and each provides files that are a dream to work with, especially with digital files in the 50 to 100 MP range. I have worked extensively with most and love working with them in post production. Nonetheless—especially in the area of wildlife, action photography and heavily manipulated artworks—cameras of a lesser file size can work best, especially when the files are full frame and around 30 to 50 MP. A well scanned 6x7cm transparency can also produce outstanding results.nding results.
Files used primarily for online publishing
It would be fair to suggest that 80% of all photographs taken on a daily basis come from mobile devices, especially phone cameras. If simple event recording for online social work is all that is intended, then that’s fine. However, any serious photographer is going to want to go way beyond the social sites and produce prints, possibly even market their work in some way, if not now then certainly in the future. Even if online is your space, I would still encourage investment in a full frame quality DSLR camera of at least 12 to 18MP. Nonetheless, cropped sensor cameras can still provide an amazing enlargement, of course, the quality of the lens and the care taken during capture are also critical.
Files for sale through professional stock libraries
A beautiful blend of still and motion imagery with narrative, natural sound and music, can be precious and incredibly artful in its presentation. For online broadcast, most of the quality DSLRs will provide you with both the still and video files suitable for online shows. In fact, most mobile phones may suffice in this area.
Files used in Multimedia projects
A beautiful blend of still and motion imagery with narrative, natural sound and music, can be very valuable and incredibly artful in its presentation. For online broadcast, most of the quality DSLRs will provide you with both the still and video files suitable for online broadcasts. In fact, most mobile phones suffice in this area.
Files used for publishing paper products
Photographing for freelance publications will require quality files, at similar to the requirements applying to professional stock libraries. Remember, publishers do not necessarily understand the range of their needs; few do nowadays. Almost none now employ in-house post production staff; most will have a policy that is submitted via their websites. Nonetheless, I would suggest full frame DSLRs with MP ratings between 18 and 50MP as these will enable quite a severe cropping if required for design purposes. Almost ALL images published are cropped in some form or another to suit publication formats.
Digital file formats
Below, I have listed my own protocol regarding the file types and their relevant applications. For much more information search ‘Image file Formats’ in Wikipedia.
Files for all art prints and paper product publishing should be at 300 dpi and all online at 72 0r 110 dpi.
ProPhoto RGB, converted to CMYK when used in lithographically printed publications. For those wishing to professionally manage colour further reading links to advise on colour management
STEVE’S PRIMARY DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHIC FILE TYPES
RAW FILES (Digital negatives)
Most DSLR cameras provide this choice, and some even enable choice RAW files in varying sizes. In my work, I shoot exclusively with RAW files only because I want to be able to manipulate the full dynamic range if I choose to. Also, it is a nondestructive format. I convert all imported files to DNG RAW files, which means that the ‘sidecar’ file—the file that carries all digital metadata relating to the specification of the file, time date, type of lens, camera and so on, along with any adjustments—is embedded inside the file. If I wish to provide a client with a RAW file then the DNG file it will be opened with my processing adjustments in place.
TIFF FILES (Tagged Image File Format)
This may be the best option for long-term storage of images that you plan to sell. Some clients demand full sized TIFF files, others full-size JPEGS, and by full size I mean not downsized during export but stored in the original capture file size. In my work I have found no difference, in the end, result between TIFF and JPEG.
I scan all transparencies (slides) as TIFFS; I have many thousands of these files. While a processed JPEG can be equal in quality, I choose TIFF because this tells me that the file has been adjusted, spotted (if needed) and is ready for sale or use in a publication. RAW files are never sold, only processed (compressed) files. RAW files are negatives waiting for the photographer to create their magic.
JPEG Files (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
From my processed RAW files I export in the best quality maximum size file as a JPEGs. I also use JPEGs exclusively for all low-resolution work online. All JPEGs can be adjusted non-destructively; however, once exported, further readjustment may create digital artifacts.
PSD FILES (Adobe PhotoShop Document)
All etched files are PSDs and all fine art files are PSDs. The fine art files may have many layers, which are flattened only as JPEGS when the file is printed and or used online.
Feedback very welcome.
Photography and text © Steve Parish Nature Connect