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Submitting images to Clients

Lesson 44 from: The Professional Photographer’s Digital Workflow

Michael Clark

Submitting images to Clients

Lesson 44 from: The Professional Photographer’s Digital Workflow

Michael Clark

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Lesson Info

44. Submitting images to Clients


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Shooting Workflow: Set-up The Camera


Shooting Workflow: Histograms and Exposure


Shooting Workflow: Sensor Cleaning


Overview of Color Management


Color Management: Monitor


Color Management: Workspace


Color Management: Monitor Calibration


Color Management: Do I Need This?


Introduction to Lightroom®


Download & Import Images With Lightroom®


Lightroom® Preferences


Six Ways to Speed-up Lightroom®


To DNG or Not to DNG?


A Logical Editing Process in Lightroom®


File & Folder Naming in Lightroom®


Batch Renaming in Lightroom®


Entering Metadata in Lightroom®


Managing Images in Lightroom®


Introduction to the Develop Module in Lightroom®


Lightroom® Develop Module


Sharpening, Chromatic Aberration & Vignetting in Lightroom®


Graduated Filters & Spot Tool in Lightroom®


Converting images to Black & White in Lightroom®


Creating Panoramas in Lightroom


Creating HDR Images in Lightroom®


Lightroom® to Photoshop® Workflow


Export Images to Photoshop®


Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Basic Adjustments


Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Retouching


Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Saving Master Files


Make Fine Art Prints: The Cost


Make Fine Art Prints: Ink Jet Printers


Make Fine Art Prints: Ink Jet Papers


Make Fine Art Prints: Understand ICC Profiles


Make Fine Art Prints: Sharpen Image


Printing From Photoshop®


Printing From Lightroom®


Compare Monitor to Physical Prints


Printing Black & White Image


Extended Workflow: Back Up Images


Extended Workflow: Storage Options


Extended Workflow: Archiving Images


Submitting images to Clients


Prepping Images for Social Media


Alternative Workflows


Final Q&A


Lesson Info

Submitting images to Clients

This next section we're gonna talk about submitting images to clients. And interestingly talking with Jim here in the break, I was reminiscing about what a nightmare it was to submit slide film images to clients. We were talking about losing images, film images. I don't miss film one bit in that regard, because I lost so many of my best film images via FedEx or the client lost them or something happened. And I actually charged clients for losing images, that was part of the paperwork when I send out images. You could make duplicates of your slides, but they just never looked as good as the originals. I remember sending an ektachrome tray and lots of you younger folks may never understand, it's a tray that goes on top of a slide projector to show your slides and project them. National Geographic, when they first asked for my portfolio said give us your best 80 images, put them in an ektachrome slide tray and ship it off to us. And I will tell you my best 80 images in that tray and I cou...

ldn't put dupes in there 'cause they just wouldn't look as good, it's National Geographic. I was terrified to ship that thing off to National Geographic. And there's no number I could put on the FedEx label to insure that thing for $200, or whatever I might have thought I was worth at the time, but luckily I did get them all back. But there were tons of slides I lost. So I was very happy when digital came around, because that means I'm not gonna lose any images unless it's my own fault back in the office. Like we just spoke about in the last section. So let's talk about submitting images to clients. So if you're a burgeoning pro photographer or if you wanna be a pro photographer, or if you wanna just license some of your images, there's all kinds of ways you can do this. Now before we get into the technical parts of it, I would say this. If you're wanting to submit some images to a magazine, or whoever it might be, go to their website if they have one. See if they have this information on their website, most magazines have guidelines for how to submit images. If they don't, maybe send the photo editor an email or somebody at the magazine and say hey, I've got some really amazing images, I think you might be interested in them. Would you like to see them? And if so, how should I send them to you? Because every client might have a different set of guidelines as to how you submit images to them. I know like Patagonia and some of my clients have very specific guidelines on how they want the images formatted, what resolution, what size, this, that, and whatever. And so they'll send you this little PDF that tells you how to format your images and then how to upload them to their FTP server or however they're doing it. Using Dropbox or Hightail or WeTransfer, or your own website, the backend of your own website to upload stuff to a client. And this is don't cold call them, don't pick up the phone and call them. They don't have time to talk to you about this. If you've worked with them for a number of years, maybe you can do that. But send them an email, let them get back to you at their own leisure. If you're talking to a stock agency it might be a little different. So pay attention to their website and how they recommend that you submit images to them. But also have respect of their time. And also don't send them images that don't apply to what they do. Don't send food images to a rock climbing magazine or rock climbing images to a food magazine, because they're not gonna like you very much. They're like what am I gonna do with these? Color management for clients. We've talked about this before. It's been a topic throughout the class as you know. Not all clients are color savvy. I won't name names, but I've walked into some magazine's offices and seen the 12 or 15 year old IMAX, the old bubble ones with the color on the back sitting on the desk of the photo editor. I'm like are you kidding me? How do you even look at images with any clarity on that thing? So sometimes some clients might have ancient computers and your super high-res files may not work so well with their computers. Especially if you email them, this is a good way to really make a client mad, send them like four or five full resolution pictures embedded in your email. It probably won't even get to them, because it's gonna be too big. But then their email is gonna like freeze up right there and they're not gonna like you too much. But be aware they may not be color savvy. And you might have to educate them, not that you need to be overt about it, but just realize that when they're asking for stuff you might need to ask a few questions about color management. And they may need to spit you out to somebody else who does know about it. That's another thing I talked about earlier. Often times if I'm working with a client that I haven't worked with before and I'm not sure of their color savviness, I'll actually tell them this image was worked up on a monitor that was calibrated to these exact specifications, 6,500 degrees Calvin, 120 candelas per meter squared, gamma of 2.2. If your monitor is not calibrated in profile to these specifications, the color may or may not look accurate. That's a little footnote I put when I deliver images to clients. And most clients probably don't even read that thing, but those who do if they come back to me and say well we looked at the images and they look a little not saturated enough or this, that, whatever, my first question is is your monitor calibrated? I wanna know we're talking the same language and I wanna know they're seeing the same thing I am. If they are calibrated to those specifications, then I'm like okay, well you're the client, you tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it. As long as it jives with the images. So as I said earlier, I'll send the client the monitor calibration specs. Though as we've seen in this class, even if you have those specs on the monitor, your work environment makes a huge difference as to how they're actually seeing the images. 'cause when we turned that monitor around in the last section, the prints still looked a little brighter. We did actually turn the lights off in here to compare it without the lights after we closed the segment and it made it a little bit better than it was with all the lights on. But you know their work environment can make a huge difference in how they're seeing the colors as well. So I just already went through this I think in the last few sentences here. Moving on. And it's a big difference if it's for print or for the web, or for social media, as to how you output the image. I would say these days, I haven't actually run the numbers, but it's like somewhere in the range of 70 to 80% of my images go to the web these days and never see print. That has changed pretty massively in the last five years. Whereas five years ago and before that, 80% of my images were going to print to be printed in magazines and in books and whatnot advertisements in magazines. And maybe 20% were going to the web. So the industry's changing, the world's changing, everything's changing. But for print, if you're sending it to a magazine or a book or an advertisement, I will save it in the Adobe RGB Color Space. They'll be TIFF files, uncompressed, or well it's okay if they have the LZW, lossless compression for TIFF files, they're just not JPEGs is the point here. They're eight bit, they're usually 300 pixels per inch because that's the perfect resolution for half tone printing for magazines. There's no sharpening added to the images. I also make a note of this when I submit the images to the client. Typically when I'm submitting the high-res image I'm saying look, these do not have any sharpening applied to them, they will need some sharpening applied to them once you resize them. In the workflow I talked about how if you sharpen an image before you resize it, you can get some digital artifacting when you resize it down. If you do a lot of sharpening before you resize it. So that's getting a little nit picky. It's not the end of the world if you add a little bit of sharpening beforehand just to assure that it looks sharp in the magazine, but it's up to you how you're gonna work with that. Lots of the clients I work with, they're pretty good at the sharpening world in terms of magazines. They know what they're doing. And they're full worked up and optimized for print, as you've seen throughout this thing. For online use, I'll do sRGB Color Space 'cause that's pretty much what everybody has for monitors, that's the defacto standard color space for the web, for the internet. And by nature for social media. 2,000 pixels wide is kind of where I've settled at right now for my JPEGs that I put onto social media. Facebook's a curious one. I've not perfected what the best possible dimensions are for putting stuff on Facebook so it looks perfect. And it seems like their compression ratios are always changing, so it's kind of a moving target to figure out. But I figured out I don't actually put that many images on Facebook, I have references images from Facebook to my blog or website. But for Instagram 2,000 pixels seems to look pretty good on Instagram for most people's phones where they're viewing the images. These are all eight bit images at 72 pixels per inch. The pixels per inch doesn't really matter for here, because you could leave it at 300. It's gonna rearrange the size on social media as it needs to depending on the monitor it's shown on. So that doesn't really matter so much. The eight bit, JPEGs are all eight bit, so that's just how it is. I have sharpened these in Adobe Lightroom on export. So basically I just export images out of Adobe Lightroom. These are the PSD files, the master working files that I'm exporting out as JPEGs that are 2,000 pixels long in the sRGB Color Space. So if I have a 46 megapixel camera and squish that down to 2,000 pixels long on the long side, whenever you change the file size of something so massively, you're gonna need to add a kiss of sharpening. We're not talking huge truckloads of sharpening, we're just talking a little kiss to make it look good. And they're fully worked up, obviously. And often if it's a client I work with a bunch, like Red Bull does ask for RAW image files, they don't necessarily use them that often. I know in the surf world the surf magazines ask for the original RAW files from the photographers and they actually know what they're doing with the RAW files. National Geographic asks for the RAW files. There's some clients in the editorial world that ask for the RAW files and they'll look at how you've worked it up. They may replicate it by reworking up the RAW file to match your file, or they may just check to make sure that your file is worked up well so that it will print well in their magazine. So oftentimes when a client's asking you for the RAW files it's not that they're saying you did a bad job working it up, we just wanna make sure we have the files to make sure it's gonna print well in our publication. I know Patagonia does this for their catalogs. They wanna make sure it's consistent color across all the images in the catalog so you can send them your worked up file, they wanna see the RAW file. A, to make sure you didn't take anything out of the image or add anything to the image in compositing. They want it to be photojournalistically accurate to the scene, but also for color and reproduction. So I know there's a stigma amongst pro photographers, there's some photographers like oh, I don't wanna lose control of the RAW file, I don't wanna give that to anybody. But I don't really care. I mean as long as I know what they're doing I will give it to them. If I am a little worried about what they're gonna do and they're gonna tweak it really hard and print it without me actually ever seeing it, then I might be a little like let's talk about this a little more. Typically when I send a RAW image file to a client I convert it to the DNG file format, because I can keep my adjustments to the image at least in the RAW file format within that format. And so when they open it on their monitor, they're not gonna see the original RAW file, they'll see the worked up RAW file. And they can decide at that point whether they wanna clear it, reset it back to how it was when I shot it in the camera or whatever they're gonna do with it. It just makes it a little bit more universal. If for some reason they're using software that can't open a DNG, then we'll have a discussion about that and figure out what we wanna do there. So, making submissions. How do you actually make a submission? Well as I indicated earlier, each client might have their own way of doing this so you'll have to discuss that with them. For the majority of my clients these days they just wanna see low-res JPEGs. And they'll just say whatever, send us some low-res JPEGs. I typically have found 2,000 pixels long is kind of a sweet spot 'cause it's big enough that you can see the image, but it's not big enough that they're gonna be able to reprint it straight off of that JPEG that I submitted them and never tell me. So it's protecting me from them using the image without letting me know, but it's also big enough for them to get a really good idea of what the image looks like. It's changed over the years, but these days I will usually in Lightroom, here let's actually go to my computer real quick if we can. Let me get out of this and put that down there. In Lightroom I might build a collection of images and maybe the images are coming from a whole bunch of different folders as you see here. I'll go down and I have on my main working computer, I don't know if I have it here, I will create a collection. Actually let me backup. I'll create a collection set and I'll say submissions, if I can type. And I'm not gonna include anything in there right yet. And I'll go down to the submissions and I'll add another collection here, let's just say Patagonia. They're a super cool company that makes amazing gear. And I'll write submission April 'cause it's not like I'm making submissions to them every week or month, or maybe once or twice a year. And I'm gonna set that as a target collection, hit create, and so now that's gonna show up here. And that is the target collection where anything that I click the B key, which is the keyboard shortcut for adding to a collection, I can go up here to all photographs and maybe this tent image. Maybe they want that. And I can just go through these really fast and be like okay, he's wearing a Patagonia jacket, maybe that works or maybe they want this picture going into the Ruth Gorge. And I can create a whole selection of images down here and then you know it'd be more than three, just select all, export those as 2,000 pixel JPEGs or whatever specifications they have that they tell me they want, upload it to their FTP server or send it to them via Hightail or WeTransfer or whatever you're using and get them this selection of JPEGs. Then they can go through it and they'll tell me oh, we really liked image number blah, blah, blah, can you send us the high res of this and this and this? We'll get back to you with how we're using it and we'll write up the contract and off we go. So I went through that really fast. Let's go back to the keynote here if we will. Other things I use besides Dropbox, I do have a PhotoShelter account which is a great company. They actually provide website templates, but their main business for the last 15 years or more has been online cloud storage, which actually can then be put onto a website that you interface with to license your image directly to clients or to sell them like you're your own stock agency. Or offer prints to general public. And they have a whole backend where instead of me having to upload stuff, all of my best images are uploaded there and I can just go in and make a selection on PhotoShelter in the admin side of things and send a link to a client that is tracked and I can see when they download that. And they can actually tell me through PhotoShelter or just e-mail me what they want and that link lasts for seven days and then it disappears. So it's just a more professional way of delivering images. It's also if I'm on the road, like I am right now, and I'm not at home and I many not have access to all my images. It's funny, every time I close that door at my house and walk away, that's when people need stuff. It's not when I'm sitting at my desk. It's when I'm about to go to the amazon and be on the dark side of the moon for the next three weeks, all of sudden they need that image they've needed for the last month or something. I'm not complaining here, this is how it seems to go. And this is also why I got the PhotoShelter account, because all those images are up in the cloud. That means I don't have to carry a hard rive around with all my best images to give to clients. And so I can do it from my iPhone waiting for my plane as I'm in line to get on the plane, I can be like here they are, here's the high-res links. And bam, they've got them and they can download them. So there's all kinds of different ways you can actually deliver images to clients or make those submissions. It just depends on what they want you to do. So as we're talking about here's the PhotoShelter account right here. I might use PhotoShelter, I might use Dropbox, some of the clients want you to use their FTP, so file transfer protocol is what FTP stands for. It's basically software to where you can upload images from your computer directly up to your client's hard drive. And vice versa they can do it to yours if you give them your login. So your client would give you their login information, which is just like logging into a website or something. I use a software called Fetch, which has been around for quite a number of years. There's several of these FTP software clients that you can buy. And that's really easy, because you can just put all your images, low-res images that you wanna submit to that client and put them in a folder, maybe zip that folder on your computer just by right-clicking and compress the folder so it's a zip folder, dot Z-I-P on the end of the suffix. And then you upload that to their FTP hard drive wherever they're at. And then send them an email saying hey, I just uploaded it, there's the file name, let me know what you think. And often for really high-res images the FTP or the PhotoShelter account just comes in handy because it can be pretty giant files, like gigabytes of information. And the internet is now at the point, I just did a few days before I came here, I uploaded 15 gigabytes of images, full-res images, to a client through their FTP client. Sure it took four and a half hours, I have fairly fast internet at my house. But for them that's the upload speed on the internet for most people are one fifth of what their download speeds are, so it's a little longer to upload. But for the client it hopefully took half an hour or something to download those images. And especially with video these days, in the old days we'd be shipping hard drives all over the place to deal with the large video files. Lots of the clients we have will upload a finished three to 10 minute video for their advertising needs and it might be an Apple ProRes 422, maybe 12, 15 gigabytes. Depending on their internet speeds, we might just upload it directly to them instead of shipping a hard drive. And depending if they want all the footage or what their parameters are for the job. So, this is getting pretty nuts and bolts here. And I was just talking about video so here you go. I'm ahead of my keynote. Delivering a hard drive to a client via FedEx is pretty fast. Sometimes if it's a giant file it can be faster to FedEx them something than it can be to upload it. On your end at least. So just depends on what you're doing. Questions here on this? I know some of you have been asking me about submitting images. We have a question over here on the internet, Michael. Do you send the camera Raw format file with the XMP file or save as DNG? I save as DNG, typically. It's just a neater, cleaner wrapper, but it also depends on the client. If they are super savvy and I know they, the funny thing is most people I work with on the client end of things either are photographers themselves or were photographers. So they have a fairly good grasp of stuff. If it's video, they may not know all the aspects of video, but sometimes they know more than I do. Especially video, like crazy video formats I've never even heard of and my video guy is like I'm gonna do some research to figure out what this is. So you might be surprised at how much they know. So if they say just send us the Nikon electronic file, the NEF file, I'll do it. I'm not beholden to that and they're the client. So I wanna make them happy and be easy to work with, I don't wanna be a jerk and say oh no, I'm too good to send you my RAW file. Go for it. If you have any other questions, please let me know. And we'll go from there. It's definitely a conversation to make sure that they can reproduce it as well as possible so that I look good, they look good, everybody feels good, all that. You talked a little bit about eight bit files being the maximum for JPEG, but could you just draw out the discussion of eight bit versus 16 bit versus 32 bit and the implications of it? Just unravel that a little bit for me. If we had a chalkboard we could do all the math. So I'll just with my finger to understand what bits are 'cause I know probably half the people are like what the heck is a bit? So one bit is a one or a zero. This is digital, it's all ones and zeros. So eight bit, if we have eight numbers in a row and they're either one or zero, for every single one of those eight numbers that's called eight bit. And that eight bit gives you 4,096 options that you can make those ones and zeros and change them around for eight bit. For 16 bit, you now have a number that's 16 zeros or ones long. So you now have way more options to assign ones and zeros to. So if you think about your images in eight bit, you have 4,096 colors per channel, it's RGB color, so it's red, green, and blue. So you've got three channels. 4,096 times 4,096, times 4,096, equals a giant number. But if you do 16 bit, that's 64,365, I think that's what the number is, times 64,395 times 16, 395. That's trillions of colors versus billions of colors. It also doubles the file size of the image. And technically lets un-peel this a little deeper. Our cameras, most of our cameras, are either shooting 12 bit image files or 14 bit image files. There's not really any camera on the market that's truly shooting 16 bit images. The closest ones out there are the Hasselblad, 100 megapixel camera and the Phase One, 100 megapixel camera. And while they're as close as 16 bit as you can get, they're really 15 point whatever bits and they cost a truckload of money. So what does that mean in the real world? Well 14 bit's pretty good. That's definitely billions and billions of colors. But the higher the bit depth, the smoother those tonal transitions are, the more like film it is. If you have the landscape and you have the sun in the picture and then it goes into dark areas and a smooth sky, if you're working in a JPEG and you start adjusting levels or doing manipulations on an eight bit JPEG, you can see posterization where there's chunks of the sky that are the same color. And sometimes that may just be your monitor, sometimes that might actually be the file. You won't know until you print it. But the higher the bit depth, the better the transitions, the better range of tones and the way that data looks in the picture. And honestly, the Hasselblad I showed yesterday versus the Nikon, you won't see that difference until you start making prints of a fairly large size, typically. That's why most pro portrait photographers that they're really high level, shoot with medium format. The colors are more accurate, the transitions on the face are a little bit nicer. It just creates a little higher end image. But in terms of sending to clients I don't send 16 bit images to any client because they're not gonna really see a difference printing in a magazine or printing in a book between an eight and 12 bit, or an eight and a 16 bit image. Depends on what they're printing on. 'cause they're not printing on anything that's even approaching the quality of that photo paper we are printing on. And if they're putting it online, they're not seeing a difference at all between that. And 32 bit is definitely like an HDR bit depth that you would use in Photoshop. It's kind of a theoretical bit depth, it's not a real world bit depth. So that's beyond the scope of what most people will ever really run into. And it would take forever to upload 16 bit files 'cause they would be two to two and a half times bigger than those eight bit files. And everything you said directly equates to the reason why we shoot in 14 bit rather than 12 bit? Exactly. But it's all the same thing, in terms of of the amount of information recorded once we set to 14 bit recording that much more. You shoot in 14 bit because your transitions and your skies and everything will be better in your camera. And a lot of camera still have the choice to shoot in 12 bit or 14 bit, it changes the file size. But that's why I work in 16 bit in Photoshop when I'm working up files, because there's more image data to manipulate. And my manipulations will not effect the overall image as much as if I worked in eight bit. So just to be clear. That's gets really confusing fast when you start talking about this stuff, but if you followed us along this far you've seen this in action. I always leave mine in 14 bit for the camera. I don't even know if there's an option anymore the D850 to go to 12 bit. I want the best possible quality out of the camera so I'm choosing the highest bit depth, RAW image file, the largest file size I can get. And then from there I can always scale it back to whatever I need to do. Does that make sense? So delivery is so simple these days, I mean thank god for digital. It just makes our life so much easier getting images out to clients for the whole world to see our images. Everybody's aware of this.

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Workflow Outline

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The Professional Photographers Digital Workflow Ebook Sample

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Michael is a true professional and readily explains all of the nitty gritty issues of a photographer's digital workflow, including important things like Color Management, Lightroom workflows, Printing, and more. He is eager to answer your questions and has a thorough knowledge (after all, he worked with the original engineers at Adobe and wrote a book on it) and passion that he loves to share. He can get way deep into the subject, which I found fascinating. You can tell Michael has great experience in teaching and also likes to learn from his students. He is very authentic, honest, and direct. I highly recommend this class, and look forward to another one of Michael's courses in the future!

a Creativelive Student

This is an excellent course. It reinforced what I already knew and enhanced my spotty skills with new knowledge. I really like Michael's explanation of saving the document for print and web and the importance of doing these differently. Using the histogram to show this was terrific. Each session there is some valuable gem.

Elizabeth Harrigan

This class is fantastic and is just what I was looking for! The teacher knows the subject WELL and he makes it understandable and easy to follow along. In each segment, he gets right to the point explaining just enough content to make it understandable. He doesn't waste your time. I highly recommend this class. It's the best tech class I have watched on Creative Live.

Student Work