Digital Imaging Management Guidelines – UPDIG

These days, photographers usually send digital files to clients when licensing their photos. But without a transparency or reference print to provide a method for color management, the photographer may lose creative and quality control of the photos. Fortunately, something is being done about it.

The UPDIG Working Group is an ad-hoc industry consortium of digital imaging professionals and allied trade groups and manufacturers dedicated to promoting worldwide standards in the commercial application of digital imaging. Its mission is to bring the creators, distributors, customers, and other vendors in the imaging trades together to identify and promote digital imaging standards.

UPDIG’s guidelines – along with its “Best Practices” documents – aim to clarify issues affecting accurate reproduction and management of digital image files. 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 conforms to the IPTC standards, making the images searchable, providing usage and contact information, and stating their creators or copyright owners.

UPDIG’s 11th guideline suggests that:

All digital image files should have embedded metadata – including copyright, usage license and contact information – that conforms to the IPTC or the newer IPTC Core standards. Photoshop users can input and edit this information by choosing “File Info” under the File menu. Adding caption, title, origin and keyword data enhances searches and organization with digital asset management applications.

This guideline is especially important in light of the Orphan Works Legislation under consideration.

UPDIG also recognizes the need to specify the terms of use of photos. It suggests in its 12th guideline that photographers:

Provide a ReadMe file in either .PDF, .HTML, or .TXT format with all files delivered for output. Such files should specify image size(s), color space(s) and any licenses granted, the copyright owner’s contact information and, if certain rights are being withheld, the words “other uses, reproduction or distribution are specifically prohibited.” The ReadMe file should also include disclaimers noting recipients are responsible for following an ICC-based color management workflow.

Technology has provided new opportunities for photographers to show their work. Using UPDIG’s standards will help to make sure that the photos are seen the way they are meant to be.

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