submissions more secure
how to create a "wrapper"
There are a number of methods of getting your digital images to
clients or end users, the methods outlined below will help you do
so in a secure fashion, and perhaps save some download or transmission
The first question you should ask yourself is, "which compression
format is used most often by my existing and potential clients?"
StuffIt is in common use on the mac side. On the Windows
operating system, PKZip or WinZip
is much more ubiquitous. Ask your client if they have a preference
for one format or the other, and if they already have the software
to decompress the file.
Expander is a free utility and will open/decompress StuffIt
files, in addition to unzipping Zip files created by WinZip®, StuffIt
or any other Zip utility. In addition it can handle BinHex, DD,
GZ/TGZ, LZH, MIME, RAR, PF, and UUencode files. StuffIt expander
now is also available for the Linux platform. On the windows platform,
WinZip features built-in
support for ZIP and CAB files as well as for popular Internet file
formats such as TAR, gzip, UUencode, BinHex, and MIME. Support for
ARJ, LZH, and ARC files is via external programs.
Some applications will allow you to create a "self-extracting
file, but do some experimenting first, as these are often specific
to a particular platform. Don't forget to talk with your client
first before sending a file to find out their preference on file
format and file transfer
method. They may be using a PC, but if they plan on passing the
file to their designer (who is perhaps using a mac), you might end
up making the process more difficult rather than easier.
IS how you make it small
With bitmap images the physical dimensions (height and
width), resolution (pixels per inch) colorspace profile
(icc tag) and IPTC info determine how much data you have
to start with. But the amount your file will compress will depend
on the type of file you are compressing, as well as what you have
done to the file before compressing.
CMYK files are in "device specific" colorspace and take
up one third more disk space as the same file in RGB colorspace.
So ask the client not only what size image they need but also which
colorspace they prefer. If the image has had sharpening applied
(such as that from USM or UnSharp Masking) it may not compress as
nicely (I've had images saved as LZW compressed RGB TIF's actually
turn out larger than the uncompressed file on disk in some cases).
If you are sending a TIFF file, I recommend not using LZW compression.
You probably won't squeeze out as much space when using ZIP or StuffIt
compression to "wrap" the files, and may risk having the
client not be able to open the file(s) unless they have the same
imaging program as yours. If they are placing the file directly
into a layout program there have also been some cases where the
LZW compression can create problems during the print RIP (Raster
You won't squeeze much more space out of Jpegs as they are already
compressed and have already had data thrown away (Jpeg is a "lossy"
format of data storage). If you are sending a vector file
(illustrator eps files for example) you won't really get much more
out of the compression process in my experience either.
One often overlooked advantage is that the ZIP or StuffIt "wrapper"
prevents the header file getting stripped or corrupted when going
through mail servers or when placed on some web or FTP servers.
Another advantage is that it makes it possible to include several
files within a single container for simpler downloads or attachments.
You can also use this facility to include a "readme" file
with the image that can contain the license and/or other information
about the file and any limitations you are imposing in your licensing
and make it difficult for the client to lose.
a "readme" file
Use the license language or "terms and conditions" from
the back of your estimates, invoices, or delivery memos to create
a "readme" file that spells out the rights you are granting
for use with this submission. This might be the language from the
Society of Media Photographers) Professional Business
Practices in Photography publication, the EP (Editorial
Photographers) forms, or the NPPA (National
Press Photographers of America) website.
Write it as out in your favorite html editor and give it a name
like "readme" or "license" and save with an
".htm" or ".html" extension (for crossplatform
compatibility). If you have specific directions regarding the image(the
image is unsharpened you will need to apply USM, etc) you might
also put those in this file.
You could write a readme.txt file in lieu of HTML, but to make
it work for both mac and windows you would need to save a copy as
both a mac simpletext document and a windows notepad file;
that's why I suggest using HTML.
a "package" for submission
-Put your "readme" html document and your image
file (TIFF, JPEG, etc) into a folder (I typically use the clients
name). Drop and drag this on to your choice of Aladdin's Stuffit/Dropstuff,
-Use your choice of of file
transfer to upload this ZIP or SIT file to a "hidden" or
password protected directory on your website, attach it to an email,
or put on a CD and snail mail.
You might want to try using a EP concept called the License
Lock that works like a "software wrapper." Include the wording
from the link above and your readme file in an email that explains
that by decompressing the attached file, or going to the URL and
downloading the compressed file and opening it, they agree to be
bound by the enclosed terms and conditions. You provide a copy of
the same which is included in the compressed file. When they Unstuff,
or Unzip (extract or uncompress) they will have a folder with your
image and the readme or license file together in one
of compressed file via Email
If I am sending a compressed file I always let the client know
this upfront and include the following in my email:
You will need Aladdin's Stuff-it or Stuff-it Expander in order
to extract the files. This utility is available as freeware at:
(http://www.stuffit.com/download.html). If you have this application
already installed download the file ending in ".sit" and drop and
drag the file on the Stuff-It Expander icon (or start the application
and extract to open).
If you are using WinZip or PKZip substitute the appropriate words
David Riecks, please do not distribute without permission from the
back to "digitalinfo"
This page last updated: 7-27-2003