Do you feel rejected and don't know what to do?


posted on 24th of august, 2009

Stock phototographer's biggest issue with the agencies where he submits to is rejections, after which comes revenue and other factors.
So, I am going to talk a bit about this otherwise forbidden subject and I hope that when I finish this those of you who read it will think differently.
As editor when I come to work in the morning first I answer a few messages while I download your images.
The next thing on the list is going through the resubmission files and I am sorry to say this but more than 50% of them are identical to what was rejected. Those images will not be accepted this time around either. Moral of this part of the story is, if you can fix it than resubmit but don't lower you approval ratio by insisting on the same mistake twice.
After resubmissions end, review of the normal pending line starts. In my case most of rejections I give are for images not being stock oriented. That mostly includes snapshots: from parks, vacations, from a moving car, even of roadkill. Keep in mind that if you want to be taken as a serious stock photographer you must upload images that have a stock oriented subject.
Other very frequent mistakes for which images get rejected is the lighting. Images taken outside with too strong sunlight, images that are underexposed (especially sunsets and sunrises), that have completely black areas, overexposed images with blown out areas ... and so on. A good stock image has a well defined by light subject with no harsh shadows or highlights.
Composition is next on my list of rejection reasons. Dead center subjects, cut out trees or buildings, subjects that are simply swamped by the surrounding scenery, people shoot from strange unappealing angles, these are some of the few situations encountered and that you should avoid by all means. Sometimes a simple cropping in an editing software would solve the problem, sometimes nothing would.
Uploading too many images from a series is also a big issue. An apple can only be shoot from that many angles and should only be uploaded on landscape and on portrait orientation. You be the judge of your own images and choose your best from a series when uploading.

These are the main issues that a stock photographer must understand and avoid.
Put yourself in the editor's shoes when you choose the images you will submit and furthermore do resubmit when you can fix the problem but remember that issues like "not RF stock" or "not quite what we are looking for" can not be fixed.

In the end we all get upset when we get rejected, it's human nature to feel a bit depressed when that happens (and yes, I get rejections too, if don't believe me my AR is 89%) but that also makes us realize that we can be better.

My only advice for you today is not to give up and to learn from your mistakes.

Comments (50)

Posted by Nikitu on September 02, 2009
Review process details can not be made public.
Posted by Billysiew on September 02, 2009
Thank you! To know whether the image is stock oriented is not easy..
I will learn from the refusal..:)
One question:
Will contributor's name show when reviewing image?
Posted by Nikitu on September 02, 2009
Billysiew, editors are as objective as possible. Remember that there may be other reasons why the images are rejected, not snapshots but maybe the subject is not stock oriented.
If you have a certain image you want more details on you should send the ID to support.
Posted by Nikitu on August 31, 2009
Valleymiss, we all feel frustrated when we get rejected, it is part of the process I guess. After all I think you improved the image you posted here after a rejection :) so things did improve :)
Posted by Valleymiss on August 30, 2009
Ioana,
I am afraid I am one of those people who give you grief. I understand better now that I have read your blog. I don't ever mean to be rude,but sometimes I know I come across that way..it is so frustrating to get rejection after rejection,but I refuse to give up. I will keep trying to improve, and I will begin looking more at the reasons for the rejections and try to correct them. Thank you for the great article. Dog With Money 
Posted by Ponytail1414 on August 29, 2009
Interesting and valuable blog. Same for me (and everyone probably), Matt6t6. Images rejected at one place sell well at another, so all you can do is say "Neener neener!"
Posted by Rangpl on August 26, 2009
No, it was NOT about personal what is clearly described at the forum and at my regular blog.
It was JUST BASED on personal story otherwise what sense and reason would it be to write a blog? You only see there word REJECTION and i see there word FEEDBACK. I like to name things as they are.

I'm not alone with that opinion about SERIES policy. If You follow links in my blog or don't cut the forum discussion or check the twitter You'll see what i mean. I think people will accomodate it adequately and You'll notice that.
Thus it's not about my 'single sweet image rejected'.
I've already changed my policy and for me that issue is over, greetings.
Posted by Nikitu on August 26, 2009
Ranglp, if I remember correctly your blog was about a personal rejection, we don't accept or allow that, no exceptions. If you need advice about a certain rejection contact support.
Everyone can blog as long as their blog is within our rules. Nobody is playing God but everyone has his or her role, submitters, reviewers, buyers, site developers. Each role comes with different rights and obligations that we all respect.


Linqong, thank you, glad I was of some help.

Matt6t6, you are right, what sells here may not sell on other agencies and vice versa. And I assume you have to find the right balance after which success is just a matter of time.

Teekaygee, it's true, we always think our images are bullet proof when in fact they are not, it's impossible, as a photographer, not to be biased about your work.
Posted by Teekaygee on August 25, 2009
Ioana, this is a very useful and well-written article. I hope it will help many people who are struggling with rejections. I remember when I first started being surprised my 'wonderful' images were rejected. When I stepped back and really looked hard at the images online I realized that the editors were right to reject those images and I could do so much better. I find the approval process on DT very fair. The job of an editor is no doubt a challenging one!
Posted by Matt6t6 on August 25, 2009
Very interesting and so are a lot of the comments and views, what I find strange and why I cannot become an exclusive to one stock site is that what one site rejects another likes this for me helps...One of my shots that was rejected by one site is selling well on another...So for me now I am just trying to learn what each of you like unfortunately it means uploading and getting rejected but that is life ;)
Posted by Linqong on August 25, 2009
A very useful blog.
Posted by Rangpl on August 25, 2009
Cool that You can blog here and You've deleted MY BLOG post. I had to blog it there. Link Removed
My advice is: (reviewers) dont try to play a God.
:)


Edited by RolMat: Interesting blog. Personally, I do not play God but external links and your attitude does not help much. Please be kind and express your opinions in a more polite way. Thank you.
Posted by Komar on August 25, 2009
Great to get an insight like this. First I've seen from any site. Rejections are undoubtedly the most frustrating things. However, our opinions of our own work is undoubtedly biased. Hopefully, I will feel less frustrated now (maybe just a little) when I get rejections. Thanks for the article.
Posted by Nikitu on August 25, 2009
I didn't missunderstand you, but it was still a talk on a specific refusal, still not happening on the site.
No one made a point that way, many tried before :)
Posted by Digitalg on August 25, 2009
You might have misunderstood me. It was not a question. Was an example. I'm sorry if someone already made his point this way. I did not read all the comments.
I just said sometimes it's difficult to understand those judjements, sometimes time proves me right and the photo sells elsewhere, sometime time proves me wrong. I guess it might be a hard judgment also on your side. I know I can't fix that, I didn't complain about it.
Have a great day :)
Posted by Nickpit on August 25, 2009
Very useful blog, at least for the beginners, like me. Thanks a lot!
Posted by Nikitu on August 25, 2009
It wasn't one issue, there are many issues, some are described above some still remain.
Again, don't post questions about rejections because I will not answer them, your post is edited.
Not RF and not quite are actually simple reasons. What we consider that is not a stock worthy subject and also what we consider that will not sell with our agency is refused for these reasons, you can not fix them, I already specified this. If you think we made a mistake refusing for one of these two reasons you can write to us with the ID of the refused image and bring your arguments.
Posted by Digitalg on August 25, 2009
I won't argue with most of what you say. It is a very helpful article indeed, altough I might think it was written after some specific issue that was itching you ;)
I rarely discuss a rejection, and I do resubmit some, but rejection ratio on my resubmitions is quite low. Nevertheless sometimes I have hard problems finding out what "This is not quite what we are looking for" means or "not RF stock oriented". I must stress sometimes, not always.
Posted by Inganielsen on August 25, 2009
Inganielsen, glad you liked it, hope we look less like robots and more like humans now :).


hehe, extremely advanced robots perhaps ;)
Posted by Nikitu on August 25, 2009
Inganielsen, glad you liked it, hope we look less like robots and more like humans now :).
Jameskho, I think you're on the right path to success, leaning is the most important thing a person can do in his/her life.
Keki, I hope it does help a bit.
Posted by Keki on August 25, 2009
thanks for the interesting blog I'm sure it will help us all :)
Posted by Jameskho on August 24, 2009
Ioana, thanks for your sharing - very useful article. I agree that rejection is a path to approval as one can learn from mistakes. Yes every image is unique just as every photographer is unique. Be patient and keep improving is the key especially for those who are new in stock photography like me.
Posted by Inganielsen on August 24, 2009
Thank you for providing us a little insight into the day of an editor! :) It was very nice to read!
Posted by Nikitu on August 24, 2009
Wisconsinart, address your question about that specific refusal directly to support. You will receive a relevant answer on email.
Posted by Wisconsinart on August 24, 2009
Wisconsinart, reviewers don't have any "politics", as a matter of fact we know a few things about most parts of the world and even if we don't know we do understand. Nobody with a closed or preconceived mind could ever be a reviewer. Images are accepted or rejected based on our experience with microstock which is quite extensive.
I have explained the well covered reason in one post before.
No, rejections can not be an open discussion simply because each image is different. Comparing between different images of different contributors is not an option and it is not advisable either. You can not compare 200 000 images with the same subject, it is humanly impossible.
Also, I will remind you again that some subjects simply are not stock oriented no matter how good the image is.

Maybe I should resubmit my image of Americans having a "Support the Troops" rally. Lots of patriotism and (USA) flag waving.

I suppose it may not...(More)
Posted by Dmccale on August 24, 2009
Thanks Nikitu YES, rejections hurt. I have had my share of them. However, I agree we learn from them. Finding the right subject and surroundings seem to be hard for me. I will keep trying I am determined.
Thanks for the post
Cheers Debbie


Ioana

I hope you find your brother and all is good
HUGS
Posted by Titania1980 on August 24, 2009
Thank you for the answer, Ioana
Posted by Littlemacproductions on August 24, 2009
Ioana, I just sat up all night with my brother with a gun which he wants to end his life with and I can't fix. I can't reach him today and I fear I can't fix anything.

Am I reading this right? Your brother is suicidal and now missing?
Posted by Nikitu on August 24, 2009
Wisconsinart, reviewers don't have any "politics", as a matter of fact we know a few things about most parts of the world and even if we don't know we do understand. Nobody with a closed or preconceived mind could ever be a reviewer. Images are accepted or rejected based on our experience with microstock which is quite extensive.
I have explained the well covered reason in one post before.
No, rejections can not be an open discussion simply because each image is different. Comparing between different images of different contributors is not an option and it is not advisable either. You can not compare 200 000 images with the same subject, it is humanly impossible.
Also, I will remind you again that some subjects simply are not stock oriented no matter how good the image is.
Posted by Defun on August 24, 2009
Very useful blog!!!!THX!!!

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This article has been read 4778 times. 15 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Claudio Fichera, Hermann Danzmayr, Ioana Grecu.

About me

Senior Editor/Admin and Social Media Wizard at Dreamstime. I have enjoyed photography ever since my father first introduced me in the world of arts as a child. Although I have not chosen a career as a photographer I happened to come across a job here, at your favorite microstock site, in 2005. That is when things took a 180 degrees turn and photography took its well deserved place in my life. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of photographers grow and mature into their portfolios and that is an experience I would never trade. I would encourage anyone to follow their hearts and read a l... [Read more]

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