Magazine Article


Product Spotlight: Digital Railroad

© Lisa Quiñones/Black Star

New Online Service Drives Productivity Worldwide

Digital Railroad is a powerful new suite of workflow and archiving services that helps all kinds of photographers minimize repetitive production tasks, sell more pictures, and create an organized method of delivering digital images to clients.

From the U.S. to Afghanistan, photojournalists agree that Digital Railroad is on the right track.

Black Star photojournalist Lisa Quinones describes the impact this online service has had on her productivity.

"I used Digital Railroad during both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions this year. It provided a way to make images more immediately available to my agency, Black Star, and to photo buyers. After closing remarks each night, I captioned and uploaded my images to my Digital Railroad archive, Sending via FTP to Black Star was notably quicker then FTPing those images directly to the agency over my DSL line. And the best part was then all my images were archived and automatically resized.

"During news events like the conventions, I tend to concentrate on the hard news images. If I'm out on assignment and photo requests come in, Black Star can go to my personal archive, create a lightbox from my images, or FTP them from my archive to clients. I don't have to be involved creating custom selections, and I have specified all-archive access to do whatever they need. Since I was following the candidates and attending events, Digital Railroad really streamlined my workflow, decreased the production burden, and gave Black Star and me more opportunities to sell images efficiently.

© Najibullah Musafer/AINA Photo © Fardin Waezi/AINA Photo

"Digital Railroad has not only dramatically improved my workflow with Black Star and buyers, it has provided an online searchable archive that goes way beyond what my Web designer and I had previously envisioned. Soon all my images will be archived, allowing me to sell even more pictures to anyone in the world."

Reza, a world-renowned photojournalist, established AINA as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with the support of UNESCO to help revive the media and disseminate culture in Afghanistan. Brother and award-winning photographer Manoocher founded the AINA Photo division to help return photography, which was forbidden under the Taliban. He has found the service invaluble in streamlining AINA Photo's operations and image delivery.

"For AINA Photo, Digital Railroad is the perfect solution for archiving and selling pictures," says Reza, "making the worldwide presentation of Afghan photographers' work easy and economical. After 23 years of conflict and political instability in Afghanistan, AINA Photo is leveraging state-of-the-art technology to enable photographers to tell their story and depict daily life."

"As the world watched our historic elections, our chief editor, Dimitri Beck, was able to quickly post images to our online archive powered by Digital Railroad in three categories-The Road to the Elections, Afghanistan's Historic Elections-Oct 9, and Ballot Counting-depicting the three-week process in our provinces. Dimitri then sent emails to our media contacts, and with two clicks they were able to visit our images at, view the selections, and create light boxes of images they selected. Delivering light boxes to worldwide buyers eliminates the overnight delivery expense and problems with email attachments. He was also able to create dedicated light boxes with real-time high-resolution download capability for specific media contacts.

"AINA Photo operates out of a former Taliban prison, yet we have the same kind of flexibility and power as a major photo agency. The batch captioning feature and automatic resizing of images also minimize our production work, and the servers complete 90 percent of all the non-creative and repetitive tasks. We can choose the access permissions to various buyers, thereby helping us manage the rights for the use of our pictures."

For more on Digital Railroad, visit