Guide: File Naming, Metadata, Technical Considerations

Our members have the opportunity to show their work every month at our meetings as part of the MemberShare and can also participate in our monthly Photo Quest. Our club-internal annual photo-contest provides a third opportunity to show one’s images.

This guide describes the requirements for submissions and what you should consider from a technical perspective.

File Requirements

When you send your files, please make sure they fit the following requirements:

  • High resolution images (minimum 3000 pixels on the long side)
  • JPEG format only
  • JPEG quality ~80 (Lightroom)
  • sRGB color space only (not ProPhoto, not AdobeRGB!)

File Name, Title, Caption

Please include title and caption in the metadata of your file (IPTC Title and Caption), and set the filename to be the title of your image.

Since we use Dropbox file requests for our submission process, you do not need to include your name in the filename. Include your name when you submit files, and it will be automatically added to the file(s) you’re sending.

If you’re submitting images from Apple Photos, please refer to this Guide: Submitting Images from Apple Photos.

Technical Considerations

In our Photo Quest theme announcements and MemberShare invites, you will find the phrase “we expect technically solid photographic work” and this section elaborates what we mean by that.

Camera Control

We’d like to request that you honestly self-evaluate your work before you submit it. You can use the following standards as an aide when you consider your images:

  • Correct exposure (mostly, no overexposed highlights)
  • Accurate focus
  • No camera shake or motion blur
  • Depth of field that supports your subject
  • Important lines are straight (horizon)

Remember that these are not rules which are set in stone; they are simply commonly understood standards for what qualifies as a technically sound photograph throughout the photographic community. A lot of times, you won’t even have to think about any of this because you can rely on your camera’s features and automatism.

Also, intent and purpose matters, of course — for example, you can purposely drag your shutter or move your camera for a motion blur effect, or employ other techniques for creative expression.

Post Processing

Ideally, submitted photos should be free from digital artifacts. Not because we want to be detail-obsessed pixel peepers 😅 but because they are distracting from the clearest possible expression of your photographic vision.

Common distractions include:

  • Sensor dust
  • Chromatic aberration
  • Lens distortion, where it matters
  • Over-sharpening (halos)
  • Tone-mapping artifacts (also halos)
  • Excessive noise (color and luminance)
  • Over-saturation, out of gamut colors

Again, these are not hard rules that are set in stone; the context matters. For example, a night image made at a high ISO will have a substantial amount of noise, which is completely acceptable.