Revised: March 3, 2011
The school picture industry offers a variety of products and services to students and schools. These are often used in conjunction with yearbooks and other products. A system that facilitates the easy combination of the products and services of different suppliers has a number of benefits.
Currently, individual students and schools employ photographers to take photos. Each of these image takers involves a photo lab or digital imaging firm to convert the exposed image into another format, such as prints, CD/DVDs, cards, etc. In the case of yearbooks, the publisher takes the images and converts them to a printed page, employing yet another method for image creation.
When the students and schools use more than one photographer, and the photographers and the different labs generate CD/DVDs in their own formats, it is more difficult, time consuming and costly to coordinate the data, images and publishing of yearbooks. The problem is similar to the situation that would exist if audio compact disks could not be played on every CD/DVD player. By using a standard format, a greater number of vendor choices would exist for the school and increase the level of satisfaction.
At the same time, technology is changing. Any guideline promoting a coordinated system needs flexibility for the future. The ultimate goal is to satisfy the customer – the school. It is believed that satisfaction can be increased by creating common readable files for the transmission of digital images and associated data from the school photographer to the yearbook publisher in a format that is as efficient and consistent as possible.
Audience & Scope
The following document is intended to inform the Underclass (K-11) School Photographer, Contract Senior Photographer, Photography Production Laboratory, interested Software Developers, and Yearbook Companies as to the generally accepted data and subject image guidelines for the exchange of data and subject images between photography organizations and yearbook producers. This document is NOT directly intended for the common school customer.
The scope of this document includes, and is limited to the PSPA sponsored ad-hoc committee developed technical guidelines for data and image exchange between the interested parties listed above. This document is technical in nature and does NOT intend to outline or require market implementation by any particular organization. This document is NOT intended to provide direct explanatory material to the target consumer of the final product resulting from adoption of these guidelines (the school).
Benefits from such a system could include the following:
· By specifying a guideline to which the product should conform, the school has the means to measure the value of what they are acquiring, and can make comparisons between suppliers. This can lead to opportunities that are more competitive for schools, permitting them to pick, choose, mix, and match among the numerous suppliers. While the format for the product is not the only element for price comparison, use of a common format makes the comparison simpler.
· Creating an easier interchangeability of images and data files between image providers and users. This can reduce the time it takes to create products, and could lead to reduced costs and improved quality and the number of product choices.
· Communication between schools, image providers and yearbook producers can be clarified and improved by reference to a common guideline.
· An assurance of a minimum level of quality and performance for the CD/DVD products.
· An easing of the decision making process for schools by the use of common terminology
and comparable products.
· Removal of the school from the middleman position between photographers, photo labs
and yearbook companies over the format of the CD/DVDs and the assurance of
There are no apparent drawbacks from such a system. For firms that do not currently produce CD/DVD images, there is no impact since there is no requirement to produce a CD/DVD. However, the system is simple enough to permit anyone to readily adopt it should they choose to do so.
A useful guideline will require communication and education programs directed to both the schools and the photo industry. It will be necessary to provide materials to explain the system and its benefits.
Limitations of the Guidelines
These guidelines address the format for the CD/DVD. The guidelines do not address many areas for technical or legal reasons. Among them are the photo capture and editing process, the photo print output, and the yearbook printing quality and features. These areas are the subject of creative and artistic differences, as well as customer choice. In addition, these guidelines do not suggest or require which of the interested persons or organizations has
responsibility for collecting, recording or distributing the data. That is a matter for those interested to arrange among themselves.