Competition requires original camera file and DNG not accepted!

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by wadleigh, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. I just recently took some great wildlife photos that I wanted to submit to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. However, reading throught the rules it says that if the photo makes it to the final rounds then they will require the original RAW camera file to determine the modifications that have been made, etc..

    The problem is that I usually import my photos into Lightroom and have them all converted to DNG format, without the RAW file being embedded in order to keep the file size small. DNG format has its benefits and I like using them for these reasons. (too many discussions on this so I won't go into it)

    So I emailed the company doing the competition and they continued to say that they do not accept DNG files - they require the original RAW file.

    My arguement is that DNG files are simply converted from the original camera file. So there are no modifications done. Why would they not accept the DNG format?

    This is overall upsetting for me since I can't submit my photos.

    Anyone have any idea what to do here? Of course, I am now embedding my RAW files into the DNG format but this is rediculous.

    Here is their website - anyone else have experience with this competition?
  2. I can't imagine what you can do. It's their contest, and their rules. Maybe you should be considering entering another contest?
  3. That sounds strange.
  4. There's a slim line between a photo contest and a scam to steal images. This one crosses the line.
  5. Well, clearly, they don't understand the nature of a DNG file; and just as clearly, they're not going to be convinced. It would be interesting to know if they require film photographers to submit their negatives. But, as Luis said, it's their competition and their rules. It's probably time to move on.
    I don't embed RAW files in DNG files, but I do preserve the RAW files and move them to a DVD for backup and whatever the future might bring. You might consider doing something like that.
    Edward, it doesn't look like a scam to me, just a severe case of photoshopanoia...
  6. I guess I was extremely shocked that they will not accept a DNG file as I understand it is the next best thing to the RAW file. Is it not the case that a DNG file is *exactly* the same as the original file except for losing some proprietary image properties that are specific to the camera make and model... ?
  7. They probably don't know what DNG is. What can you do? Submit your entry as JPG, and if they select it, you'll have to provide the DNG. It's up to them what to do with it at that point. You're not the only person in the world without RAW files. I usually don't even bother shooting RAW if I'm outdoors. I only switch to RAW if the lighting is funny or it's dark or something.
    Photographers need to take a stance against releasing RAW files. RAW is a format to help you produce your work. RAW is not the final product, and shouldn't be subjected to scrutiny. This competition is borderline invasion of privacy, if you ask me.
  8. You can make changes to a file then save it as a .dng It is easy to take a .jpg or .tif file, open it in Adobe Camera Raw then click the Save As box, and convert to .dng. It loses all the benefits of a real raw file, but it is a .dng.
    Reading the rules of the contest, I don't think this is an image grab. They specifically state that the raw files is used to verify that the photographer didn't do any manipulations beyond what they allow-minor adjustments, spotting, etc. They also state that entries may be used to promote the contest, but that's it. If the image is used for commercial purposes (for the magazine or for the natural history museum) they will give the photographer the option of accepting it and will pay a royalty. Seems decent for a contest these days.
    John, when you converted to .dng did you trash your original files?
  9. John Tonai - I agree with you. I have however one last hope - I have my card still, even though the camera formatted it, I will try to use some recovery software to get the RAW files back. I am crossing my fingers on this one!
  10. A DNG file is a modified format TIF file (so is a PSD). It can be easily changed, and Lightroom does apply changes (deltas) to it (option in LR2.x).
    If they have concerns on what changes we made to the image, a DNG can already be suspect by nature of what it is; a converted file. Nature is riddled with hoaxes, zoo shots and the like, and I am sure this is how they intend to thin out the "bad crowd".
    Being a programmer, I suspect it would not take too much effort for me to modify a NEF file. This would assume that I wanted to in the first place. I don't think they really thought out what they are doing, but like mentioned - "it's their competition and their rules".
  11. Good luck with the recovery.
    Photographers need to take a stance against releasing RAW files. RAW is a format to help you produce your work. RAW is not the final product, and shouldn't be subjected to scrutiny. This competition is borderline invasion of privacy, if you ask me.​
    I agree with you to a point. RAW should not be the final product, but here they state that is not the purpose. The contest rules a very specific of the type of image they want. If an image is published and it proves to be manipulated, it will ruin the reputation of the contest, the magazine and the museum. They are protecting themselves and the photographers who enter correctly. It isn't an invasion of privacy because it is voluntary-if you don't want to release the information, don't enter.
  12. NEVER ... EVER ... Ever ... ... EVER ... Ever ... ... EVER ... Ever ...
    Turn over your original RAW. They are simply stealing your work
  13. It's their contest, their rules... If you don't like it - don't enter.
    As John points out - they're doing this to avoid hassles with manipulated images. Although as my late father used to say - "A lock only keeps honest people honest" - Someone who is good at manipulating Digital Images could also manipulate the EXIF data and RAW file to look like it came out of the camera. Anything that is digital can and will be's just a question of how far and how much effort someone wants to put into it.
  14. What about the cameras which actually use DNG as their internal file format? There are also digital cameras that save TIFFs.
  15. The point is that a photo is a photo ... it is finalized when I say it is finalized. This is not a news or documentary ... who gives a $$#@@#$ what the original file looks like. Despite losing the opportunity to crop and perfect your image with post processing (an important and legitimate part of every workflow) Every RAW file will lack contrast, sharpening, and white balance.
    In the end, the company gets to keep your data directly out of the camera and do whatever they want with it ... that is a bad deal. the only reason they want this is their own dishonesty.
  16. Theres a lot of seriously defamatory comment being lobbed around here, and some of it by people whose regular postings are usually amongst the more sensible and knowledgable advice offered on pnet.
    But I have to say that some of the preceding comment is plain wrong and misleading. It also suggests that very few of you even took the time to investigate the whole thing properly.
    The reality is that this competition is one of the most prestigious of its type in the world, has been running for almost two decades, attracts tens of thousands of entrants, many of them amateurs, but also some the biggest names in environmental photography in the world, some from National Geographic, such as Kevin Schafer, Mike nick Nichols, Jim Brandenburg, etc.and it is held in high regard in the industry such is the quality and breadth of entries. The judging panel generally consists of some very high profile individuals, and the whole event is run in an extraordinarily fair and equable manner with a high degree of integrity.
    Winners neither lose their rights, nor are their RAW files stolen, rather - like a dope test - the demand for original files where available is to ensure a level playing field - a process that has ensured this annual image fest contains some of the finest amateur and professional work from all around the globe.
    And no, I dont have any connection with it in any way, and have simply enjoyed the entries, and enjoyed participating, and the ill-informed crap that's been bandied about in this thread should be ignored by any further viewers of the topic.
  17. Well the rules are completely stupid but that said, there’s NO WAY I’d send them a Raw or a DNG. An un-rendered Raw? Its like a contest asking for submissions using color negs. These guys are bozo’s. I fully agree with Thomas on all points.
  18. Ansel Adams (were he alive today) would probably be disqualified from entering! It's unclear to me what they consider "appropriate modifications" as I can't find the rules on their website. I presume that they clarify this in the e-mail to interested parties but there must be a pretty fine line.
  19. ...and speaking of dope tests!
    Seriously, this reminds me of old beauty pageants that used to require the contestants certify that they were virgins to be able to enter the contest. It's just not relevant.
    The fact that this is such a "prestigious" and well-respected contest is one of the problems. These people, least of all, should be setting excessive global standards of acceptable contests admissions. Just because of the notoriety, people will be inclined to ignore the fact that it's noone's business to see the raw camera file.
    What's the next step? Require each photographer to have a videographer on site to document the taking of the picture, and require the submittal of a "making of" video with each photo. Then you'll have to get notorized declarations of authenticity from a panel of experts before they'll declare your photo genuine.
    This stems from the misguided idea that all a photographer does is snap the photo. Once the shutter snaps, his job is done. You can remove him from the camera, confiscate the photos, and get the result that was intended by the photographer. For some this may be the case, and I suspect that this contest is only for that type of photographer. For the rest of us, better to just stay clear of this contest if you can't abide by the rules.
  20. john w-the only thing i can think of is that the contest people want to know what the original image was to compare it to your submitted image. the reason being is that they want to know what pping exactly was done, to verify that it was inside their rules for pping. as for giving them the raw, i see nothing wrong with it, as long as you keep the original file and send them a copy.
    as for your liking/not liking the rules. it is their contest and they can do what they want. if you do not like the rules:DO NOT ENTER THE CONTEST. to me discussion of the fairness right or wrongness of the rules is pointless. it is ther contest and they can do what they want. talking about the rules is a waste of time, and is not going to change the rules one bit.
  21. Believe it or not, this contest may actually survive to run again next year even if the handful of people who think it's "stupid" boycott it.
    My, my. Some pretty humorous overreactions, but John MacPherson puts it all in perspective. The RAW files will not be judged , only used as supporting evidence. But no photographer should bother entering who fears that judges of an elite contest who see thousands of RAW images will somehow be prejudiced against a single entry because they don't know how to look at a RAW image.
    "Steal images," indeed; such fears are just paranoia run wild. Sheesh.
  22. this is just dumb! first of all it is a PHOTO contest, judging photographs. Why would the original RAW file even be necessary, it's not a competition of who can do the best photo modifications. I personally think that this is whats wrong with photography today, too much time behind the computer worrying about stupid stuff like this and less time out making great photographs. I mean would they ask for the negative if you shot film? Because under NO circumstance should you turn that over. This contest just sounds like a bad idea and I would suggest not entering it!
  23. Why would the original RAW file even be necessary, it's not a competition of who can do the best photo modifications​
    Erm, that's the whole point isn't it? To prove that the finished photograph hasn't been manipulated - by adding or removing elements from it for example.
    Yes, it was possible to manipulate film prints, but the point is it was so difficult to do convincingly that very few people had the time, patience, or inclination to do so. Photoshop makes the process much simpler, and more difficult to detect.
  24. What kind of camera do you have? There may be a way to duplicate it. Why not just rescue the card to find it?
  25. Make with Photoshop a nice oversaturated photo of a dinosaur in top of the mountain and a fish with wings and bear head flying arround, something that is clearly a manipulation, save it as a tiff, open it with Nikon capture NX2 and click save as NEF. You have created your original RAW(NEF) file to send them and maybe they undestand how stupid is their request.
  26. What can we say that will make you understand how stupid is your suggestion?
  27. save it as a tiff, open it with Nikon capture NX2 and click save as NEF. You have created your original RAW(NEF) file
    It doesn't work like that. It is immediately apparent in the controls available in NX2 that it's not a camera original NEF file if you produce it that way.
    This stems from the misguided idea that all a photographer does is snap the photo. Once the shutter snaps, his job is done.
    You can work on the photo in an image editor (as long as you stay within the rules). It's just that they want to know what you started with so that they can determine if you followed the competition rules. This competition values the ability of photography to document nature. Apparently some here don't understand the difference between documentary work and fiction.
    I mean would they ask for the negative if you shot film?
    Of course. But nature photographers almost exclusively submitted slides so they didn't have to ask for anything more than what was submitted.
  28. John MacPherson: Thanks for your sensible post.
    Everybody else: There are about a gazillion photo contests. I'm sure that you can find one somewhere that meets your expectations.
    This contest's intentions do seem to be noble. They don't want to give awards for spectacular "fakes" - e.g. pasting a polar bear from another photo into a photo of Monument Valley. Amazing? Sure! But it's also a work of fiction.
    The irony is that these rules were probably SUGGESTED by PHOTOGRAPHERS who suspected past prize-winners of misrepresenting the veracity of the scenes that they presented. In the end, this rule will PROTECT those whose work is unspoiled by deceiptful digital manipulation. I really don't think they care if you cropped, boosted saturation, or changed the contrast of an image. They just don't want to see moose grazing on the L.A. Freeway.
    BTW, do they accept entries on film or scans of film? Maybe that's a better way to assure them that you didn't make excessive modifications.
  29. This stems from the misguided idea that all a photographer does is snap the photo. Once the shutter snaps, his job is done.​
    When you shoot color reversal film, this is often the case. There's not a lot of wiggle room for revisiting what the image will look like later. You can scan it and change the white balance and perhaps remove a couple of seagulls from the sky, but the exposure itself is pretty much etched in stone, give or take one stop.
    I consider a transparency to be a finished product. Sure, printing it requires additional steps, and those steps are frequently done in the digital realm. But the actual transparency is a displayable and/or projectable image. You might just need some magnification to enjoy it depending on its size.
  30. Read the whole thread but didn't read the OP's link to the contest rules so I started to agree with those that thought the contest was stupid.
    Then my mind was changed when it was pointed out by other's reactions to these initial responses that the contest organizers needed the original Raw file off the memory card ALONG with the edited version to rule out cut and paste manipulation. Made total sense then.
    It appears all along this thread has been just a good demonstration of miscommunication and a great way to hear about a photo contest most here have never heard of including myself.
  31. I was under the impression that DNG is a RAW file. My Pentax can shoot either PEF or DNG format RAW files. DNG is the raw data from my cameras sensor with minimal processing, just as PEF or NEF are. They are simply stored a little differently.
    I wonder if there is any software that can create RAW files: PEF, NEF, CR2 etc... or how hard it would be to manipulate the file in a Hex editor to make it look like a genuine RAW file.
  32. Don't worry about it until you win the competition..... Don't worry about it then either!
  33. For those of you who REALLY want to see unfair terms and conditions some of this might whet your appetite -
    Its UK based - but given the way the interweb has shrunk the world it also includes some foreign stuff too. Feel free to post your own finds and help stamp out rights grabbing thievery.
  34. If you read the rules, you will find that they DO accept DNG files, if that is the native format of the camera. In short, they want to see both the finished product and the original as it came from the camera, to avoid excessive manipulation and alteration of the image. I don't know if they would accept a DNG file from a camera that has a choice of RAW formats, such as the Pentax dslrs, which can create PEF or DNG files, in-camera.
    A year or two ago, there was a contest in the UK (it might even have been this one), in which a photo won, and it was found out later that it had been faked. That is, it had been more than simply post-processed to bring out the best in the original image. The winner had added and deleted large elements in a wholesale manner, to the point that the finished photo bore little resemplance to what the camera had captured.
    Since this is a wildlife nature photography contest, it makes sense to me that they would like to eliminate photos that have, essentially, been built from scratch in photoshop. The idea of the contest seems to be to capture nature, as it exists in the real world.
    There is a place for photo montages and other types of manipulation in an art photo contest. This just isn't that kind of contest. Adjusting highlights and shadows is not inconsistent with this. Adding something that wasn't there at the time, is inconsistent with the stated goals of the contest.
    And, giving them the RAW files does not make it any easier for them to steal your work, if they were so inclined, which I seriously doubt they are. They could steal high-quality jpegs or tiffs just as easily.
    Is their requirement a foolproof way of preventing "excessive" manipulation? Of course not, but it will help. As several others said, "its their contest, their rules. Don't like it? Don't enter!"
    Paul Noble
  35. I was under the impression that DNG is a RAW file.​
    In its early days yes. DNG=Digital Negative. But you can wrap many kinds of data into a DNG including a rendered image (not Raw, non demosaiced data).
  36. Find another contest.
  37. The concern of handing over a digital image in any format is most definitely justified. The rules do state that minor adjustments are allowed under rule 5 (dust, curves, sharpness, cropping, etc.). Also, unless I've misread something, it looks like the judges would like the RAW file only if your image makes it into the final round of judging (#4 under Rules). Under digital guidelines it is written that "images should be submitted as jpegs".
  38. The concern of handing over a digital image in any format is most definitely justified. The rules do state that minor adjustments are allowed under rule 5 (dust, curves, sharpness, cropping, etc.). Also, unless I've misread something, it looks like the judges would like the RAW file only if your image makes it into the final round of judging (#4 under Rules). Under digital guidelines it is written that "images should be submitted as jpegs".
  39. Anyone have any idea what to do here?​
    Get over it and enter a contest that coforms to conditions you are able to meet. Seriously.
  40. Ahh, there seems to be some misconception regarding what this is about.
    The competition is run by London's Natural History Museum and the BBC. Until recently, the sponsor was Shell Oil, now replaced by a waste management company called Veolia.
    The winning entries are exhibited in a big hall in the Natural History Museum and the show is heavily promoted. Having attended two years ago, I can tell you that it is a very big deal. There are serious lineups to get in. As one might imagine, given that the exhibit is shown in one the the UK's most important museums, the caliber of the work and of the presentation is impeccable.
    The world's finest professional nature photographers enter this competition, and while they are well represented in the winning entries, it is obvious, if the show that I attended is any indication, that amateurs have an equal shot.

    I am not in the least bit surprised that the people who run the competition want to see the original capture. Under the rules, they want to see the original file regardless of whether it is digital, a transparency or a negative, and regardless of whether it is colour or black and white. They want the original because, as they say in the rules, in boldface: "The faithful representation of what was captured at the time of the shot being taken must be maintained ." Indeed, they elaborate on that statement, and on what can and can't be done in Photohop, in detail. You can agree or disagree with their stance on manipulation (I happen to agree with it), but it is what it is. To understand why this is such a big issue, perhaps look at what happened at the New York Times a few weeks ago.
  41. By the way, the show for the 2009 competition opened a few days ago and will run until April. If you are in London, it is well worth seeing, and if you're there sometime in November through mid-January, you can go ice skating afterwards, or tale in the ice skating, across the street.
    I'll be in the UK over Christmas, and like two years ago, this exhibit is a definite yes on my list of things to see.
    As John MacPherson pointed out, there's been quite a lot of rot written in this thread. Slow down, go to the show, and enjoy it.
  42. I too have seen the exhibition of the finalists and winners of this competition, it is nothing short of spectacular, with not only wildlife, but some of the best landscape photography I have seen.
    if the photo makes it to the final rounds then they will require the original RAW camera file to determine the modifications that have been made​
    I do the same as John, convert all my raw files to DNG. If I had some I thought could get to the finals of this competition I would enter them in the required JPEG format, and then if any made the final round, submit the DNGs along with my explanation. If they were rejected at this stage, at least I could say "I could have been the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, if only...."
  43. You can put together a TIFF file and make it into a DNG easily enough in Vuescan -- so that's one good reason to disqualify it right there.
    With storage so cheap, why not just archive all your RAW files at the beginning?
    Better luck next time.
  44. John,
    Once I was interested in entering some photo contests -- there were quite a number of them -- so as a long-ago and former attorney and a guy who knows how to read fine print, I set out to read the rules for each.
    The vast number had rules that provided the entity (or person) that ran the contest instantly owned the images that were submitted and could use them for commercial purposes. Generally that was buried in fine print, but it was there.
    Ostensibly this was so they could publish calendars and books of the 'winners', but with the ease of 'publishing' it would have been no trick at all to take all submitted photos, publish them using some sort of template, and make a book in which your photos were published, and the same with a calendar. One can make a calendar at Costco very cheaply and charge each photographer a large sum for a copy of his 'winning' calendar. It's even easier with books because you can put in a large number of photos that are then 'published' and the only way to get a copy is to buy it (at a very high price).
    When I examined the rules and realized an entrant was required to turn over commercial rights and copyright privileges (or whatever the rules said -- most were quite similar) I surmised that the contest running outfits had one or two goals in mind:
    1. To publish almost all images in some form or another, at very high cost per publication and sell them to a ready market - probably almost every photographer whose image was submitted. Perhaps there was one publication or 500 per contest outfit. It was never prominently made clear that to enter any of these 'contests', heavily advertised, that the contest running outfit (usually a publisher) would simply 'own' your rights to the image when you submitted it.
    2. Because they would, according to contest rules, have all your rights to the image, they were free to gather images for all sorts of other purposes so long as they did run some sort of real contest and not be accused too easily of 'fraud' -- so long as they did run a 'contest' of some sort.
    There never was a guarantee that Price Waterhouse would count independent judges' ballots, or any other indicia or big time contest stuff.
    In fact, as I have had revealed to me, the majority of smaller contests IN ANY FIELD, very often result in the 'prize' not going to an actual employee but maybe to a favored niece, nephew or the spouse of such, or some other more 'distant' relative or 'friend'.
    I was a little shocked when I learned that, but then I reconciled that with what I learned in my years of practicing law and was a lot less surprised -- when people take something for 'free' then promise a reward (such as a contest prize) they often are crooked and don't even honestly deliver the prize. There are few auditors and the results are generally not publicized in these non-photo contests, and same with the 'photo contests'
    Those who have written above, who seem 'paranoid' to some, probably either have read MINOR contest rules or been involved in actual submissions and been offered books, calendars or other media in which their images appear, but for a very large cost - in fact, the actual intent of many such MINOR CONTESTS is to provide both media for publication, then a market for the publication.
    If you send them a decent image, it's likely to be published, perhaps as a 'runner-up' or some such, and you'll be approached by them to buy the 'book' in which your 'first published image' appears.
    Of course it's a scam. But it may be lawful if properly disclosed or at least not criminal enough to get the organizers prosecuted.
    When my father, the senior Crosley, died, we found among his affects a book of the CROSLEY FAMILY TREE and a photo of a prim looking woman at a wooden desk announcing that she was researching all the Crosleys in the USA, and at the end there would be a book so please send money, and by the way, you'll get the CROSLEY FAMILY COAT OF ARMS.
    Of course there never was such a coat of arms. It had been drawn (and revealed to be 're-created' just like an original.
    The woman at the desk, looking prim, researching Crosleys really was probably just modeling and the person running the business probably chewing a cigar, had an artist on freelance (not staff) who produced 'real-looking' but 'ersatz' coats of arms for various family names and probably flooded the country with those things, hoping to get an easy return.
    My father who was not an easy mark, fell for it.
    Photographers are a little vain about their work, which is one reason and other sites thrive, so aren't we all looking to get published? I have had millions of words published and quite a few photos, so it is not so attractive to me, unless I get a substantial return, but for a first-time photographer to be told there's a market, a contest, and he might WIN and he can buy a book (or calendar) with his image (for an inflated price), well why not?
    He/she would be 'published'.
    Of course the person running the contest now 'owns' the images submitted and can put them on any stock image site he/she prefers, too, if good ones are submitted or sell them him/herself.
    JUST SO LONG AS THERE IS A LEGITIMATE CONTEST, however ill-conceived, and it follows the published rules he/she may be off the hook for fraud. After all you were told, but you made wrong assumptions, you dummy you.
    But there are legitimate contests.
    Life Magazine ran one in the early '70s that was enormously popular about documenting life in the USA. I submitted one work and it came back (an original transparency) and showed the original mount, and under the mount were markings indicating it had made it up near the top of the judging.
    A fellow Associated Press employee, a retouch artist, actually was a minor winner, and his work was published, earning him considerable respect from me. (and it was a very worthwhile color street photo).
    There is no need to tell what you've been told above about the bone fides of this particular contest; it is well known. Not all contests are scams.
    From time to time there are scandals, such as the newspaper photographer who was found not only to have retouched the one photo that he was caught doing, but in fact he retouched in major ways a serious number of photos that were published, when his work finally was examined in detail, causing his paper embarrassment and his firing (and being forever unable to get a newspaper job).
    How about the NY TIMES reporter who dry-labbed his stories and it took that respected paper a very long time to find out. It was a national scandal and a huge embarrassment to a company with a great reputation for honesty and integrity. (my view of course).
    It is serious business retouching photos to edit content, unless you work for the 'Globe' (Aliens Invade Earth Again, John Travolta Abducted) or such such (my fancy of course).
    But you get the idea.
    Legitimate publishers and those who are running serious affairs run the constant risk that some expert photoshopper will scam them with a GREAT image that exists only as a print and a digital file and never existed in real life.
    Hence there was no photographer at all and if they choose such an image, they will have not only egg on their face, but a ruined contest that is a laughing stock.
    If you were running such a contest, you'd want to be double sure the winning submission was honest, in this day and age of skillful image editing.
    And the 'winner' might be someone who deliberately submits a fake image, wins then announces the 'winner' to be fake, just to embarrass the contest holders -- it very well might happen, too and is not beyond the realm of imagination.
    "Photo hacker' like computer hacker? It's already happened.
    So, if I were running a contest, I'd either do like Life Magazine did years ago and ask for 'original slides' ('to be returned in stamped, self-addressed envelope', and they kept their promise to me) or I'd want to 'VIEW and REVIEW' the original image before I announced it the winner.
    Your beef seems to be that in your economy you destroyed an original file and you have been angry because they are not seeing things your way about the worth of the replacement file (the DNG instead of a raw file).
    It may indeed be a very legitimate beef, but if they have contest rules, they have contest rules. If they break them for you, it may be unfair to other entrants and could result in their being sued, or unfair to those who didn't enter, also because all they had was conversions into DNGs.
    If you run a contest, you get to set the rules. If they are not fraudulent, people must adhere to them.
    Those 'minor photo contests' I have written of, are often borderline frauds, but so minor no one will prosecute, but are ripe for civil action, EXCEPT no attorney will take such a case as it is not justifiable in terms of the financial reward versus the time outlay . . . on an hourly fee if the attorney is ethical, and a contingency claim would be absolutely stupid for an attorney to take unless the photo were of a plane hitting the twin towers or of similar value. and then only if the copyright were registered. A class action might win but such people are usually 'fly-by-night' and will not be forced to pay.
    A terabyte hard drive now costs under $100 at most electronic stores; so it appears that if you ditched all your 'raw' files and now regret it, that was a false or bad economy for you - at least short sighted.
    I keep originals of ALL my work.
    If I work on it I keep that too.
    Hard drives are getting cheaper all the time and are easily backed up on second hard drives. A terabyte for $100 or less and a backup for $100 or less will store and backup an awful lot of raw photos, tiffs, jpegs or whatever. Tens of thousands, generally.
    I guard all my images like a hawk too, and submit them to no one except this site or another which offers some copyright protection . . . . only then in 72 dpi, and even then they are stolen and reproduced in blogs around the world (but they spell my name correctly, so it's a mixed sort of thing).
    No one can sell one 'fine art' print of mine without (1) violating my copyright and (2) making it from a 72 dpi file as no one has the original files or sizable dupes. Those thumbnails do not make good 'fine art'. I found one guy on FLICKR submitting my work as his own, too. I complained of course. Another guy in Ukraine put his name to my images and was selling them as his own.
    There are entirely legit contests and 'ersatz' (German for 'false') contests and sometimes there are hybrids.
    If a contest has a long history, as this one, and you have a complaint, write the administrators and ask for a change.
    If the image had to have been taken this year and they won't make an exception, then you're out of luck.
    If they make an exception but next year or change the rules and accept images from another year, then you can submit for the later contest.
    If a major publication, 'Time' or 'Der Spiegel', wanted my 'raw' file to examine for a cover, I'd more than happily dupe one and send it them (they're all dupes anyway).
    They have to be super careful and any complaints will soon be ditched by contest runners unless carefully and reasonably spelled out for 'future consideration' probably.
    If you want, go ahead, submit, and if you are about to win, as another poster said, if they reject you because of the issue over DNGs vs. RAW, then you will know you 'were a contender' if not the ultimate winner.
    In all cases they have the last word about their rules, and it's final (it's always in fine print.)
    No one wants to 'undo' a contest that's been won.
    It's just prudent.
    Write that letter, I suggest, and make it clear, understandable, free of rhetoric, reasonable, and concise. Write a letter too, not an e-mail.
    Maybe the rules will get changed.
    Photographers these days have almost no clout, however, and it will only be the reasonableness of your argument that might win a rule change.
    That's my opinion, and I've researched the matter well over a very long time.
    John (Crosley)
    (I also value my writing, so this is copyright 2009, all rights reserved, John Crosley)
  45. +1 for John MacPherson.
  46. Just curious as to why all the fear over the handing over of RAW images to this competition, and supposed 'stealing work'?? This is the most prestigious wildlife photography competition in the world run by the BBC and the London Natural History Museum. It has been running since 1964!

    There is some serious paranoia here...
    Good luck recovering your RAWs!
  47. Just curious as to why all the fear over the handing over of RAW images to this competition
    Please tell me you didn't write that without reading any of the above posts. John Crosley wrote a book about it only 2 posts before.
  48. The funny thing about the suggestion that London's Natural History Museum and the BBC want original files in order to steal them is that one of the things that they are protecting the competition from, by requiring original files, is the submission by competitors of stolen images.
    Think that's fanciful? Have a look at this:
  49. Regarding the paranoia about submitting RAW files, it wasn't that long ago that photographers routinely submitted their original and often unique transparencies for publication (as well as for contests). Unless there were duplicates or "sister" shots, the recipient was in possession of the only copy of the work. One had to trust that there would not be usage abuse or copyright violation; one had to trust that originals were returned in a timely manner; and one had to pray that the originals were not damaged when scanned for separations. So you researched the recipient before sending original transparencies and followed best business practices with regard to contracts and documentation.
    To my mind, sending a RAW file to a reputable recipient isn't a big deal. If you're willing to send them a TIFF or JPEG large enough for publication, then you can abused just as easily. If worse comes to worse, at least you retain a copy of the original, which is far better than it used to be.
  50. Adding to my previous post, I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you want to submit your work for consideration, then there are always risks, even with relatively small file sizes. You must establish whether the recipient is reliable and follows good business practises. Trust is always part of the deal.
  51. It sounds like they want a contest with photos more or less "straight out of the camera." If that is the case, they should say so. however, to want your RAW files sounds like a contest being help by folks who don't know much about digital photography. i would avoid this contest and move on.
  52. There is NO end to what folks will do to win a contest. In modeling some use/still the requirements of physical 35mm slides. Thus when digital camera mainstream; some folks shot with digital; messed with photoshop then made a slide film image of this modifed digital image to submit.

    Like it or not you can just not deal with a contests requirements if you do not like them. Maybe they will not like your UFO or bigfoot images anyway.

    You do not really want to enter contest(s) that are designed to harvest dumb photographers give-way images. A proper contest does not do this; a more sleazy one does.

    The concerns over having ones images possible rights lost or transfered must be studied and understood before entering a contest.

    The contests firms concern for validity of natue images is a concern too; since doctoring today is radically easier than the past.

    It is really nothing at all new that some contests "own" your images by you submiting them; contests in the 1960's had this in the bowels of the micro fine print; or it states they can use your images to promote their Bloopers Soap with no residuals at all; forever. This happened to chap named Morie Siduals awhile back.
  53. If that is the case, they should say so.​
    They did say so-pretty specifically.

    Calibration and colour Images must be colour profiled/corrected using a calibrated monitor and utilising Adobe RGB 98 colour space before submission. Allowances will NOT be made for poorly colour managed/corrected images. Please ensure your images are not over saturated and faithfully represent the subject matter.
    Compositing and multiple exposures are not allowed. Sharpening is allowed (but use sparingly – many images are ruined by over-sharpening). Cropping is allowed, but please be mindful of the effect of cropping on file size.

    Adjusting your image Digital adjustments are only acceptable if limited to minor cleaning work (removing dust spots), levels, curves, colour, saturation and contrast work. Sharpening is allowed (but use sparingly - many images are ruined by over-sharpening). Cropping is allowed, but please be mindful of the effect of cropping on file size.

    The faithful representation of what was captured at the time of the shot being taken must be maintained. Compositing and multiple exposures are not allowed. Sandwich shots, double exposures, photographs which consist in any way of more than one separate image and images that have been digitally manipulated outside of rule 5 are not eligible. Adding or removing animals, parts of animals, plants, distractions, people etc into/from the image is not allowed.​
    Based on too many of the responses, it seems like people either didn't read the rules of the contest or just skimmed over them and then made assumptions. Because of all the scam contests out there, it is really important to read all details carefully.
    The one gray area in this contest is what they won't do with the RAW file. They state why they want it, but don't assure that they will delete it once images are verified. But, I don't think they would use it to steal images due to the harm it would cause their reputation. Since the photographer is required to send in a high quality .tif file, they can steal it much easier with that .tif file. Besides, you have the original with the metadata embedded. If you register the copyright (at least in the US) you are eligible for damages if they were to use the image illegally.
  54. The contest rules are very clear and very specific. The contest sponsors and media who cover the contest can reproduce work in specified ways linked to contest promotion. Any other reproduction, including all commercial reproduction, can be done only with the consent of the photographer and with all due compensation.
    The notion that the people running this contest "don't understand digital photography" is laughable. Almost as laughable as the idea that the BBC and London's Museum of Natural History need to rip off unsuspecting photographers.
    You can read the rules for yourselves and make your own decision. Either take a chance and submit your work or join the "could have" club, as in "You know, I could have WON that stupid contest if only they weren't trying to steal my photos with their sleazy rules." Best of luck whichever path you choose.
  55. Well we missed the point of the original post ... which is that he doesn't keep his RAW files ... he converts to DNG.
    John, according to their rules your photos cannot be submitted ...
  56. I am amazed at some of the utter nonsense posted on this topic. This is a world famous competition that has taken place for 46 years and is organized by The 'BBC Wildlife Magazine' and the 'Natural History Nuseum' These have integrity respected around the world without question and they are NOT some "sleazy" commercial ripp off merchants trying to "steal photographers work"
    The OP should enter the competition in good grace and faith. In the very unlikely event that he gets among the prizes he can tell the organizers his working 'methods',...although anyone who chucks his original RAW file doesn't really have a 'method' in my view. If by some fluke he does enter something that they look at twice, they will KNOW if he is a fraud or just genuinely lacking in technical knowledge. If he manages to shoot a really fantastic shot (and that is what he will be up against) then the organizers will do everything in their power to help him.

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