Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An Aside: One Man's Stock Trash is Another Man's Stock Treasure

Last week, I couldn't wait to tell everybody that I finally got accepted to I'm not quite as excited to fess up to this next fact, but I think there could be a good lesson learned from it for all of us budding photogs: Shutterstock rejected every photo I submitted to them!

Shutterstock required I submit a batch of 15 images as part of its application process. Of course I used the three that iStockphoto had already accepted and 12 more I culled from my external hard drive where all my photos live. It looks as though they might have accepted the shot of the deer and the clouds reflected on the office building, but they couldn't be approved because they were unable to approve at least 7 out of the first 10 submitted. To add insult to injury, my uploading function was promptly, though temporarily disabled, as I can try uploading again in a month.

I was shocked by the images they turned down, as they have been some of my most popular sellers in other forums. Even the eye contact with this marvelous fox didn't sway them!

What were the reasons you ask? The fox shot was rejected due to:

NOISE--Noise, film grain, over-sharpening, or artifacts at full size.

While this one and others similar to it were axed because of:
COMPOSITION -- Limited commercial value due to framing, cropping, and/or composition.

I posted about this issue on several of the forums I frequented, including Digital Grin and Digital Photography School, and thought you might be interested in hearing other's responses and experiences they've had trying to get into stock photography.

So here's what I plan to do: I will dedicate all of my initial efforts into giving iStock what they want, learning how to deal with noise and artifacting, etc. by studying their guidelines. Once I get a handle on what differentiates stock photography from other types, I will try again to branch out to other agencies, including Web Shots and Shutterstock. I even asked my instructor Efrain Cruz to consider hosting a stock photography class with Illuminate Photography Workshops to get some tips and techniques from the pros about how to be successful at this type of production.

So how do you fix noise or artifacting? And I can't help but to wonder: do all of these stock agencies reject you on your first try just to see how you will respond? Will you try submitting again or will you hang your head in shame and never turn in anything else? I think it could be a good way of separating the folks who really want it from the ones who just dreaming of success. What do you think?

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