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Shutter Stock rejections

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by DrLazer, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    I posted these images in the "images to share" forum earlier this month. Sorry for the redundancy but I thought I would add them in here too to save you from jumping from one forum to another.

    I thought I might aswell stick these images on shutter stock and see if any get approved. I'm still learning landscape photography.

    ALL images were rejected. The reason : Out of Focus

    Now the problem I have is that .... they don't look OOF to me so I can't see where the problem is, and how to rectify my mistakes.

    The images :

    Timanfaya national park, Lanzarote by Craig.Taylor, on Flickr

    Timanfaya by Craig.Taylor, on Flickr

    A line of dromedarys by Craig.Taylor, on Flickr

    Volcanic lounge kitteh by Craig.Taylor, on Flickr

    Isla Graciosa and friends, Lanzarote - Panoramic by Craig.Taylor, on Flickr
    [​IMG]
    Valley of Sante Ines, Fuerteventura - Panorama by Craig.Taylor, on Flickr

    El Cotillo, Fuerteventura - Panorama by Craig.Taylor, on Flickr
     
  2. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    606
    Aug 10, 2011
    At the size they show on the page without checking on flickr they look fine to me.
    I only looked at one on flickr (the cat) If you focused on the cat , at say 1 metre using f5, only from 257mm in front of the subject and up to 614mm
    behind the subject would have acceptable sharp focus. So yes the sea and a lot of the rocks would be out of focus.
    The vistas though, because of the distance, should be mostly in focus.:thumbup:
     
  3. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    Yeah the cat is the one I am least confused about, I can see why that would be rejected for OOF. That was probably a bit of an error on my part. I should have either gone for a smaller or larger aperture. I think I thought about trying to isolate the cat from the background without thinking of the limitations of the lens (the aperture stops down as you zoom in). The others though .... I'm just after some kind of conclusion. If its rejected for OOF at f/11 .. maybe this lens is no good afterall. I dunno, i'm jumping to conclusions really.
     
  4. Janine4d

    Janine4d Mu-43 Regular

    I've looked at some in original size and they do look soft. What lens is it? You could try submitting them at a lower resolution. Stockphotos aren't fun, they make you feel bad about your equipment while for most purposes your images are actually fine. I thought about doing stockphotos too a while back but even my Canon slr produced soft photos since I didn't have L lenses and I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to actually make any money whatsoever if I had to invest thousands into lenses first... Huge lenses that aren't fun to drag around... So screw that, there are other, more interesting ways to make money. :wink:
     
  5. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    252
    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    With many online stock agencies you might not get the "real" answer regarding rejection. They typically just have an employee run through each photo and click approve/reject. If that employee is in a rush they aren't going to change the default selection explaining why your image was rejected.

    That said, when I looked at the full size images on Flickr I noticed that some of the images (like "A line of dromedarys") lack critical sharpness possibly because of your post processing technique (it's hard to identify the cause without knowing more about how the images were captured and what you did in post.

    Stop reading here if you are sensitive. I'm going to share some additional thoughts based on my years spent editing images for print and online publishers.

    Another issue likely contributing to rejection is that all these photos lack "drama" and "focus" (meaning emphasis on someone or something ... not out-of-focus/blurred) in terms of composition. Along those same lines, it's hard to identify why these photos would be used to illustrate editorial (the main reason stock is bought/sold). Even the panoramas don't "quite" capture the immediate sense of location, so if I am an editorial director looking for a stock photo of one of these locations I probably won't spend my budget on these particular panoramas.

    The market for stock photography is tougher than it has ever been in the history of stock photography. The supply is at an all-time high and the demand is at an all-time low. This not only makes it tough to earn good money just from stock but it also means that agencies can afford to be much more selective about what they accept or reject.

    Keep trying ... just keep in mind that composition (drama/subject emphasis/focus) is one of the key differences between accepted and rejected stock.
     
  6. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    Its the panny 14-45 @ 14mm. Is that really what stock is about? I'm struggling to believe that they only accept images that were shot on medium format cameras with super expensive glass.

    For example. This is active and approved in my gallery at shutterstock
    Stock Photos | Shutterstock: Royalty-Free Subscription Stock Photography & Vector Art

    Here is the full size .... it was shot with my FZ38 superzoom
    https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4100/5441470858_f9b2032c25_o.jpg

    Looks pretty noisy to me that one.
     
  7. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    @JJJPhoto - sorry you replied when I was writing my previous reply.

    Thanks for being honest, I have just about finished mopping up my tears. Haha - only kidding. In terms of my post processing ... nothing. No sharpening, no noise reduction no nothing. I thought it would be the way to go with getting images accepted. Maybe I could try adding a little and then resubmitting.

    I understand what you are saying about the drama and focus. I saw other peoples landscapes on SS and was actually quite surprised that they were accepted as stock. I thought these might have a chance :S.

    I guess if I want to make money from stock I should stick to macro. I have a 100% accept rate on macro at the moment.

    The real moral here is that stock rejection is not something that will upset me too much. Yes it did make me wonder if my equipment was at fault (i still am wondering), but ultimately - I am happy personally with those photographs. They capture what I intended and remind me of a special moment when I was stood at the top of that volcano. They connect me with the emotion I felt at the time. The sharpness and clarity may not pass the standards required for stock, but they pass my pleasing to the eye standards - and a couple of them I think I may have printed to put on the wall at home. That's what photography is about for me.
     
  8. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    As has been said, the person editing your work may have (lets be polite here!) questionable judgement. I've been doing this for years & I really don't see a problem with your work. I love the camel shot by the way.

    Stock Photography is used for many things, its not always as a stand alone. A picture can be used for many things, to have text on the top, as an element in another image, as a background etc. etc.

    As an illustration of what I would do if I was submitting these, I've done some quick work on one of your landscapes.

    I've increased the contrast and saturation quite dramatically. Everyone else does this, including me, so its probably a good idea to do it as well.

    That will give the image more impact and attract a potential buyer, and since you only have a thumbnail initially to get someones attention, as much drama as you can muster helps.

    Don't particularly worry about the out of focus judgement, like all the reasons given for rejection it means "I don't like it" Unfortunately all of us who submit stock photos have to put up with this.

    Just as a indication of what happens, the mountains / cloud picture I've attached was rejected by library after library. I finally got one to accept it and they sold it to a New York ad agency. I made about £8000 from that image alone. It was used full page in magazines and apparently was on the side of buses and subway walls. It took 10 years for that to happen after I shot the image.
     

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  9. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    The real problem here is the Panasonic JPEG engine. It's really, really bad. Images always look soft at 100% magnification.

    If you're serious about selling your images, use RAW.
     
  10. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    Slight softness has never been a particular problem for stock photography. In fact many libraries, including Getty, the biggest, issue guidelines saying that images SHOULD look slightly soft, because sharpening is always added later.

    Many libraries also issue guidelines saying that images shouldn't be sharpened at all, in camera or in PP.

    I've submitted 1000's of images that look just like Craigs in terms of sharpness with no problems at all. A decent assessor knows the difference between sharpness and out of focus anyway.

    However having said that, its a good idea to submit files that are shot and processed from raw, as the overall quality is higher and you have much more control over the final image.
     
  11. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    @soundimageplus
    :0 that really is dramatic. I might try it somewhere between mine and yours. Actually maybe i'll just do the same. Do you think that might get accepted?
    Also :0 again! £8k ... yes please!

    @stratokaster
    I think you are somewhat right about the JPG's. If I went somewhere specifically to take photographs I think I would stick to RAW. But I was on holiday and my 8Gig card was getting battered with little video clips too. I can apply sharpening in a subtle way in PS i'll post an example.
     
  12. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    Scrap that - just read soundimageplus's reply
     
  13. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    Its a dramatic location. We don't always get the opportunity to work in the best possible light, but PP can help us "improve" an image. As long as it looks "real" a library won't object to that kind of enhancement. If its done right they will have no idea anyway.


    Don't get too excited! I'm afraid the days of one-off fees like that are long gone. Unless you get accepted by Getty. But I still get images that clock up £1000's in sales. Its just that they have to sell many 100's of times to reach that figure.
     
  14. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    Well my goal at the moment. Is to try and make enough ££ to buy a FF camera. I'll keep trying till I get one. That leads me nicely onto another question I have for you. I had a look through your SS images ... I guess one way to get more images accepted is to take photographs as well as you do. Loads of your images are amazing. Anyway - you're on a mu-4/3 forum. Do you sell images to stock shot with mu-4/3 cameras as well as APS-C, FF? What camera do you use most. Do you own a Medium Format cam? Sorry for pelting you with questions but there are few stock photographers I have met that are as willing as you to share details (I wonder why that is hmmm).
     
  15. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    If you are interested there is a page on my blog which shows some of my "best sellers". These have all clocked up 4 figures in terms of sales.

    Soundimageplus: Gallery

    I hesitate to include these (bathroom and conservatory), as its a bit dispiriting but these are seriously successful images, clocking up 1000's of sales each.

    I wonder what some internet forum critique group would make of these!!!
     

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  16. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    Yes I do use m4/3 all the time. In fact they are the cameras I use the most. When processed right they can give a "glossy" look which works well for stock. I don't use MF, though I do have a Leica M9.

    I have no problem sharing the details of what I do. Its not what you take the images with that counts, its the ability to see what makes an images that will sell. However I'm often surprised by what does sell. (See previous post)
     
  17. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    Thanks again for sharing. I'm off to read yer blog :)
     
  18. Janine4d

    Janine4d Mu-43 Regular

    Interesting... I guess good composition does have a lot of weight. That's sort of encouraging. :smile: I can see easily how you can have text floating around on that image...
     
  19. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    I am late to this dance ... I echo everything everyone stated. My first impression was a lack of PP-ing and Soundimagesplus absolutely nailed it, JJJPhoto jumped on the drama aspect and Strat hit a home run with RAW. I haven't anything to add except in all ventures persistance is a virtue greater than talent (not to say you're not talented ... lol ... a person with persistance and talent will be much more successful than a person with talent alone).

    Good Luck and Good Shooting,
    G
     
  20. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    @ Soundimageplus (David I believe),

    Even though I've been a professional, I've never sold a photo. Your 8000 mark caught my attention (lol) ... and now I'm thinking that maybe this stock photography business isn't a bunch of baloney ... so how does one get into this arena? (Looking for tips and hints to propel me higher on the stock photo learning curve.)

    Gary

    PS- I know that the 8000 is an exceptional sale, but getting any return for what I love to do with minimal effort seems like a pretty good deal. (Assuming that the submission process requires minimal effort.)
    G