What Film Size

Posted on 10/2/1996 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)


What Film Size

October 2, 1996

For decades it has been generally accepted that larger film formats -- 6x7 and
4x5 -- sell better than 35mm. The theory being that when several different film
sizes are laid side by side on a light table the larger piece of film will be
easier to "read" and more likely to be chosen.

In recent years two developments have tended to change this assessment.

  • First, many 35mm transparencies are "duped up" to 6x7 or 4x5 before they are
    presented to the clients. This helps to equalize the film size issue.

  • Second, a huge percentage of images used are currently selected from print
    catalogs. In these cases the client making the selection usually has no idea
    what film size they will be receiving.

Now, we are hearing that some clients are REQUESTING 35mm transparencies rather
than larger film sizes. The reason. These clients are doing all their layout
digitally. Therefore, when they get a piece of film the first thing they must
do is scan it to obtain a digital file. It is easier and cheaper for them to
scan 35mm than larger formats.

If you are spending a lot of money to "dupe up" with the hope of increasing
sales of new images several years down the road you may want to re-think that

In any event when choosing a film format for shooting remember - Good Images
Sell Best. Use the equipment you're most comfortable with. Worry more about
content, and less about equipment and film size.

Rules for supplying feedback


by Brian Yarvin

October 15, 1996 -- I have been gradually moving my shooting from 35MM to Medium Format, starting first
with travel (I no longer do any 35MM travel.) and now moving into people and sports.

I find that there are other advantages to Medium Format besides those mentioned in your
article; since a Medium Format shoot generally produces less images, agencies are less
concerned about similars going "out of control."

In addition, larger images are more likely to be selected for catalogs. No matter what
they say, agencies are impressed by bigger film!

The most important point to make though, is that the facts are rarely what the agencies
say they are; one agency that says they only take larger stuff gets good file sales from
my 35s. Others who say format doesn't matter, have differences as great as tenfold on
MF vs 35MM sales rates!

You must test these things for yourself.

Copyright © 1996 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff