Information For Photographers

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Submission Guidelines

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We accept photo submissions of the high resolution image files from the following devices:

• Professional digital SLR and mirror-less cameras with sensor of at least 10MP which utilize a variety of high quality interchangeable lenses
• Drum scanners
• Desktop scanners which can produce at least 4000 dpi scans

We are reinforcing the following rules, and if your files do not meet these basic rules, we will return your material without reviewing:

  • No point-and-shoot camera files
  • No large submissions - maximum of 500 images per submission
  • No unedited submissions - no similar pictures in a submission
  • No submissions will be accepted without proper headlines, captions & copyright info.
  • No 16 bit images
  • No CMYK files
  • No sRGB files
  • No PSD files
  • No layers, no channels, no paths

Please submit only high resolution JPEG files with IPTC headlines, captions & copyright info embedded in any case.

RF (ROYALTY FREE) or RM (RIGHTS-MANAGED): If your pictures have been marketed and sold as royalty free images (RF) by you and/or other agencies of yours, please clearly separate them from rights-managed images (RM). You can participate in both markets, or one or the other at stock photo library.

Please remember that if you have ever marketed or sold your pictures as RF images, you will NEVER be able to market or sell those images as RM images.

Please DO NOT submit any RF or RM images that have been marketed through microstock agencies. The microstock agencies are those who sell your images for an average fee of $2 or even less with subscription fees. We don’t want to sell microstock. Your work deserves much more than that, and our clients are professional photo buyers who aren’t looking for microstock images.

QUALITY REVIEW: Before you officially join us and make your first submission, we would like to examine your sample pictures of 5-10 pictures in order to ensure that you are following our Submission Guidelines and preparing your images properly for our library.

Once you pass this QUALITY REVIEW, we will send your Photographer Agreement. When the agreement is singed by both parties, you are ready to make your first submission.

We seek quality rather than quantity. Photographers are requested to send only their very best, or most unusual images covering a wide range of subject matters. Please be very selective with the pictures you submit. Natural history photography is an extremely competitive field in which we must maintain very high standards.

It is a good idea for you to search through our web database to find out which of your subjects are well covered and which are not, then edit your selection tightly. DO NOT SEND SIMILAR IMAGES. WE DO NOT LIKE TO SEE SLIGHT VARIATIONS OF THE SAME SUBJECT.

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ first. You will most likely find your answers there. If not, please contact us. Thanks.


High Resolution File Specifications

Important - Sufficient description (headline & caption) and copyright information must be embedded in ALL of submitted high resolution image files. We recommend the following professional software: Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Photo Mechanic.

Important - Please do not submit more than 500 pictures at a time, and please do not submit the same pictures you have submitted previously as well as similar/identical pictures. Your submission should be tightly edited to eliminate such pictures, or we will return your submission.

File Format (one or the other) JPEG

12MP or larger - NO RESIZING*

Save at Maximum Quality
(e.g. Photoshop at 10-12, Lightroom at 90-100, etc.)

RAW NEF, CR2, DNG, etc.
Resolution 300 dpi
Color Depth 8 bit
Color Mode RGB
Color Profile Adobe RGB (1998)

* If you must crop, please keep 2:3 ratio.

Photo Metadata (IPTC Info/File Info)

Required Fields: Headline, Caption, Creator/Author/Copyright Info, City, States/Province, Country

Optional Fields: Title (document title) = File Name withouth extension, Keywords, Creditline, Source, Description Writer, Image Location (Sublocation, City, State/Province, Country, ISO Contry Code), etc. - we usually fill them out with our information and keywords with controlled vacaburary.

Important - Please do not include those words which are not actually or clearly depicted in the picture. Only the relevant keywords should be present in the Caption and Keyword cell. If your Caption includes many irrelevant words, we'll ask you to re-write captions and submit again. In order to avoid producing inconsistant, poor search results, we must have correct and concise captions.

Important - Please avoid using "return key" in any field which is often translated to some gibberish words or unfamiliar, invisible symbols in IPTC fields.

Headline: Capitalized Short Description (except for the Latin species name) of the main subject in the picture - It can be a combination of common name and scientific species name, a name of the location, a name of the event, a name of the object, a name of the activity, etc. The headline should summarize what it is in the picture. Separate each word by a vertical line which is search engine friendly. Comma is acceptable.

Headline Example 1; Sperm Whale | Physeter macrocephalus
Headline Example 2; Great White Shark | Carcharodon carcharias
Headline Example 3; Joshua Tree National Park | California | USA
Headline Example 4; Grand Canyon National Park | Arizona | USA

* Please do not get confused with "Title" field. Title field is used for the file name - in most case, the image ID.

Caption: We provide accurate information about our pictures for our clients. Unlike other stock photo agencies, this is one of our specialities. IF YOU DO NOT SUPPLY SUFFICIENT CAPTION INFORMATION, YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS WILL NOT BE PROCESSED UNTIL WE OBTAIN IT.

Acuracy is significantly important when captioning. If you misspell words, consider your image is doomed. Your image will be burried deep into our huge library of pictures and never be found by a search. For this reason, we highly recommend to copy & paste latin names or common names from a trusty source such as WIKIPEDIA.

Sufficient and accurate caption information must be embedded in ALL of submitted digital image files. Such meta data should be entered properly by using Adobe Photoshop File Info or by using any other commercially available meta tag editors such as Adobe Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, etc.

The minimum information submitted with any types of photographs should include: Your name or the copyright holder's name, common species name, scientific species name in Latin, specific location (for example: dive site, marine reserve, marine sanctuary, national park, etc.), city/town, State/region/province. country, Sea and Ocean.

It is also important that you state any noticeable animal behaviors or anatomical features in an image because the caption directly affects our search results as well as our clients' decisions accordingly. If your subject is endemic to a certain area or listed as vulnerable, threatened, or endangered in that area, please include that information in the caption. If you're not sure, check the IUCN site at <> as well as the Wikipedia.

Country: use "USA" or "United States" instead of "the United States of America", or "U.S.A."

Caption/Description Format:

common name, Genus species, Specific Location, Country, Sea, Ocean

Proper Headline and Caption Examples:

Red-footed Booby | Sula sula

woman tourist, observing red-footed booby, Sula sula, Isla Genovesa, Galapagos, Ecuador, Pacific Ocean, MR

Hawaiian Monk Seal | Neomonachus schauinslandi

Hawaiian monk seal, Monachus schauinslandi, critically endangered species, endemic to Hawaiian Islands, Maui, Hawaii, USA, Pacific Ocean, digital composite

Tide Pool | California | USA

tide pool with sea stars, Pisaster sp., and anemones, Anthopleura sp., Soberanes Point, Garrapata State Park, Monterey, California, USA, Pacific Ocean

Green Sea Turtle | Chelonia mydas

green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, endangered species, being cleaned by convict tang, Acanthurus triostegus, Kona Coast, Big Island, Hawaii, USA, Pacific Ocean


Model/Property Release: Obtaining model or property releases is becoming increasingly more important. If your picture includes people or somebody's property, it is critical to indicate that you have a model release (MR) or property release (PR). Please just add MR or PR at the end of your caption if you have the release. If you do not have one, please do not write anything, and we'll assume you don't have one, and will not submit your pictures for release critical photo requests. If you do not obrain MR or PR appropriately, we cannot submit your pictures for high-paying advertising projects, etc.


Disclosure: You are required to disclose any manipulation which you have done to enhance over all quality of the shots. You are also required to disclose if the animal is shot in captivity or it's a captive release. We need proper and correct information about your images as we deal mainly with the clients who's main focus is natural history. Following words should be added at the end of your caption/desription if appropriate: captive, captive release (a tamed or captured animal placed unrestrained in a natural setting such as "rent-a-dolphin"), digital composite (two or more images combined digitally), digital illustration (includes non-photographic elements or special effects), multiple exposure (done in camera), photo composite (two or more pictures stack together to create an image in a traditional way without aid of computer, "sandwich picture"), etc.


File Naming: Your image serial numbers should be your digital photo names. For example, 0002546.jpg, 0002689.jpg, etc. They should be unique to each one.


Image Delivery FTP Server

Our preferred method. Upon your sign up, we'll set up your own ftp folder on our server and supply you with your personalized login info. Once you complete your uploads, please send us an email message and we'll initiate our downloading process at our end. Please submit in small batches. 200 or less per submission are good numbers.

CD/DVD/Disposable HD

We can accept any "disposable" CD/DVD/HD submissions. We are Macintosh people, so please make sure that you send your submissions in Macintosh compatible DVDs or CDs. Many CD/DVD burning software on PC workstation requires you to specifically instruct the software to burn Mac compatible ones.

Please do not sumit any HDs if you would like us to return them without prior arrangement with us.


Film Submission


100% of submissions to our clients are now digital. We are not accepting film submissions any longer, unless it is specially arranged in advance. However, we will accept properly formatted high resolution scans of your films. Please see the High Resolution File Specifications above for more details. Requirement is essentially the same except that you must crop out black slide borders cleanly.


Digital Photography & Ethics

Please note that we expect your high resolution files to be:

  • created by scanning your ORIGINAL color transparencies on a high-end scanner such as a drum scanner or at least, Nikon Super CoolScan LS-5000 or better quality high-end desktop scanners which produce more than 50 MB from a single frame of 35mm film without interpolation.
  • or created by using a high-end professional digital SLR or mirror-less camera with high quality interchangeable lenses which produces at least 10 megapixels (more is better, of course).
  • cleaned thoroughly (no dust spots, no scratches, please).
  • white balance, color, exposure, contrast, etc. adjusted and corrected.
  • cropped properly so that your scanned images do not have black mount/film borders. You can do this during or after scanning.

We welcome any digital imagery generated by high-end professional digital SLR cameras (10 megapixels or more) with high quality interchangeable lenses. HOWEVER, WE DO NOT ACCEPT DIGITAL CAMERA FILES FROM ANY OF THE POINT-AND-SHOOT, CONSUMER LEVEL CAMERAS EVEN IF SUCH CAMERAS PRODUCE MORE THAN 10MP AS THE IMAGE QUALITY IS SIGNIFICANTLY INFERIOR TO THOSE OF PROSUMER SLR CAMERAS.

We also welcome any creative digital imagery such as a digital composite created by combining two or more images digitally AS LONG AS YOU DISCLOSE IT AS A DIGITAL COMPOSITE. We require all composite images to be captioned as such. Many of our clients are dealing with natural history, and thus we must supply them with "true" natural history images.


Monitor Calibration


It is very important for you as a photographer to have a high quality monitor and to calibrate it properly. We highly recommend that you invest in a high definition LCD monitor and a monitor calibrator. We've been using SpyderPro for years with excellent, consistent results.

For the industry standard monitor calibration, please use the following values. These are the very basic values to calibrate your monitor for photographic work assuming you will be working in RGB environment.

  • Gamma: 2.2
  • Whitepoint: 6500K



bronze whalers, or copper sharks, Carcharhinus brachyurus, and blacktip sharks, Carcharhinus limbatus, feeding in baitball of sardines, Sardinops sagax, Transkei, South Africa
bronze whalers, or copper sharks, Carcharhinus brachyurus, and blacktip sharks, Carcharhinus limbatus, feeding in baitball of sardines, Sardinops sagax, Transkei, South Africa Picture #: 0030620