Most people like their images rejected.


posted on 25th of august, 2010

Yeah, right... and I'm the president. (whispering in excitement to my wife: Sweetie, come here. Quick, quick... Look! The president 's reading my blog!!)

Hmm. Let's try it again. Favorite starting line of an email...? "Our agency applies a pre-established set..." Aaah, no!

Okie, then. Third time 's the charm... So, you woke up today and thought to yourself: What a glorious morning! Shall I >> CLICK HERE << or not? Maybe after I get my coffee... Nah, it won't make a difference. Hmm, wait. Maybe if I don't click there all day I'll have more of my images there to read about. (you have a cute smile, btw.) But...

Nope, not working, is it? I guess most people don't like their images rejected... and probably that isn't much of a surprise. But let me tell you something that may be a surprise to you - we, the editors don't like rejecting your images either.

Let's look at a few aspects of an image rejection and see what you can do about it and how we recommend you do it.

First. Your image was rejected for a reason (or more). We don't reject images just like that (we want approved good images), so if you got the bad news - keep calm and do your best to understand the reason. Be sure to always read all refusal reasons completely because they are continually adjusted along with our standards. Son don't just glance over and think you know what we mean. :) It's highly recommended that you actually look at the image and read the reason(s) together. Be critical toward yourself, even if it's not your cup of tea. Try to see why your image is unfitting for sale and if/how it could be fixed.

Second. (a) You believe you can fix all problems with your image. Great! Fix it and resubmit. Don't upload as new, resubmit.

Second. (b) You feel like flying into a rage and your face is getting very very red... Calmly go to the tap and pour yourself a glass of cold water which you then need to drink before you do anything else.
Now, if you don't understand why your image is refused, don't agree with the refusal or simply want to talk about it 'cause you know it's for your own benefit - do write us a message. We do our best to always reply timely.

A few tips for getting the best out of your communication with us:

- Be polite. We understand you don't like rejected images - we've had ours rejected as well. In an email to us you can't go wrong by being polite and you can be certain that we highly appreciate and value such messages.
- Provide details. Send us the ID(s) of the rejected image(s). We go through tens of thousands of images daily so without an image ID we can't tell anything.
- State your point. (I really can't emphasize this enough) Simply saying "My image is good. Approve it." doesn't tell us much about your understanding of the issue, your photographic knowledge or experience in commercial photography. Communication is most useful when it happens on the same level. To experienced users we try to reply with straight and concise answers. To less experienced, time permitting, we may be more instructive hoping to help you improve. But we've got to know where you're at for our reply to be most useful to you.
It's also important that if you want your image approved you also explain why. We do make mistakes which we want to correct and we do re-consider refused images, the latter - provided that you convince us it's worth it. Refused for bad composition? Well, tell us why you believe the composition is not bad but useful for a commercial image. This not only shows you actually care (as opposed to simply being rather unhappy about the refusal), but it also helps you look at the image with a different eye.
- Don't compare. We simply don't take it into consideration whether it's related to other images or other agencies. There's too many varying and unrelated factors for comparing to be valid, so best thing you can do is avoid it.

Do keep in mind that the "Comment to editor" is not the right place to discuss an image because we get it during review and then it's already too late. Unless you're absolutely certain that you've corrected all issues with your image it's always best to send an email and possibly resubmit after you've read and understood the editor's reply.

I guess you also need to know that there's nothing more rewarding to seeing a certain contributor improve in his or her skills over time. As a contributor myself I know that having the right attitude especially toward rejected images plays a huge role in this process. It's encouraging to see from the blogs, forums and email messages that more and more people are seeing this, but we'd like that number to keep growing. Yes, it's the hard way, but it's a good way if you approach it wisely.

Many of you are here to earn a few dollars from the hobby, others do it for a living. The unifying aspect here is the money, as dry and worn as it may sound. Dreamstime's role is to ensure you actually get the dollar. Keep that in mind - neither of the two sides here wants to miss out on a good image, because both benefit from it.
The reality however, is not as simple - even as professionals we all remain people and not all images are good (in quality or quantity). The balance lies somewhere there and can be achieved only if we both work together.

Lastly, while we're all drying our tears and giving hugs - a little note: As tempting as it may be, please, don't turn the comments area into a discussion about rejected images because you know we don't do those. :)

Comments (47)

Posted by Alisonun on November 21, 2012
Thanks for this informative blog and all the suggestions and as a newbie of only 8 months I will certainly be working harder to avoid rejections . I am very grateful to DT for helping me improve my photography beyond my wildest dreams-thank you. I find DT the best site for submitting to -it runs rings around the other top sites . No one is perfect and all reviewers are human so we all need to understad each other's view points.
Posted by Mlhead on May 18, 2011
When I first started it was easy to get my pictures in but now...I don't think I've had one accepted in a month. Discouraging.
Posted by Petarneychev on December 22, 2010
Maurie, contact support by email if you'd like to receive more information. Rejection related comments will be deleted without notice. Sorry, that's the procedure and everyone needs to follow it (for both side's benefit).
Posted by Mauriehill on November 02, 2010
Thank you Petar

:-) It's still sunny here!
Posted by Petarneychev on November 01, 2010
Yes, that's how the blog started and mid-way I pointed out that if you disagree with a refusal you should write us a message (see Second. (b)). ;) There really isn't anything else I can say other than that. We've had a ton of similar discussions on the message boards and none has resulted in anything beneficial for either side. Write us an email when you don't agree with a rejection AND defend your image (Why will it be a successful commercial image?). We don't copy/paste our email replies. As for the copy/paste reasons - it's already been explained several times, but here it is again: there is no other practical way of providing you with refusal reasons given the amount of images we review daily. When time permits we give custom reasons but this doesn't always happen. Pick any random 1000 images from the internet, look at them carefully and start typing a two-three sentence custom note why each of the ones that doesn't cut it commercially is being rejected... You'll quickly understand...(More)
Posted by Mauriehill on October 30, 2010
Thanks Petar.

My point is, that I can (and have) submit ten files on the same subject, on two different (sequential) days and get them all accepted or all rejected. Which kinda suggests to me there's a significant inconsistency in the review process.

My greatest frustration comes from the "push-button" stock rejection messages, that frequently have little or nothing to do with the picture being rejected. It's like there's a dozen rejection buttons, just push any one. And when the first eleven aren't applicable the 12th is "not quite what we're looking for"

And as for your comment "try not to turn the comments area into a discussion on rejections or a place to complain about such - we've got support e-mail for that. ;) " I thought you started the blog with the line "Let's look at a few aspects of an image rejection and see what you can do about it and how we recommend...(More)
Posted by Petarneychev on October 28, 2010
@Mauriehill and Veggie1232 - rejection reasons, as much as we'd like them to be, aren't always "educational". We rely on the contributor's understanding of the matter (of commercial images) to interpret them. Not quite what we're looking for... One thing you could do is - learn better what the things that we ARE looking for are and see how your image compares.

Lastly, try not to turn the comments area into a discussion on rejections or a place to complain about such - we've got support e-mail for that. ;)
Posted by Mauriehill on October 28, 2010
Sad but true, Veggie. However don't give up, try again.

I believe it also has a lot to do with who reviews your files. Yesterday I had 10 files reviewed and all accepted; today I had all 9 reviewed rejected for "We have reviewed your file and this is not quite what we're looking for."

I want yesterdays reviewer back!

There's not much anyone can learn from that rejection line.
Posted by Veggie1232 on October 01, 2010
Im not good enough as I got 100 photos all rejected and I promise that most of them gave a shitty reason that didnt apply for rejection.. I guess im done here

Good luck as I look I am seeing this is a new trend and they are getting lazy paying monkeys or something to work for them i swear
Posted by Digitalexpressionimages on September 29, 2010
I must give credit where credit is due. I contacted the editors exactly as Petar notes in his blog and explained how my two images were different (one was rejected for the "images too similar" reason) and I was invited to re-submit. The rejection was reversed. Thanks petar.
Posted by Mauriehill on September 25, 2010
It's very disappointing when images get rejected with "too many similar" tag. I've had this given to submissions of two shots of the same subject , one landscape , one portrait; shot intentionally that way to give end users the option. Sad to see them rejected when I'm just trying to cover all the bases for a designer!
Posted by Digitalexpressionimages on September 24, 2010
@Dprogers: WOW! Do I know what you mean. I have made many of the same arguments. I am currently appealing a rejection (we'll see if the advice in this blog does any good) for "images too similar" while another rejection in the same submit is "not what we're looking for" which I always assumed was something the buyer might be allowed to decide. I'm not entirely certain what a photographer is supposed to learn from a rejection reason like that.

Inconsistency is DT's biggest problem and I hope they deal with it soon.
Posted by Dprogers on September 20, 2010
This last week I wrote a nice polite email to an editor, it had lots of constructive suggestions and as my other post showed it emphasised that we shouldn't second guess the market (this is not competition judging theory as that theory, rule of 1/3rds for example (which by itself is a simplification of the true rule) may not apply with advertisements, magazine covers, web banners etc etc etc) and indeed there was proof again of that today with an image that sold. Anyway did I get a polite and courteous thank you for taking the time to write a nice email and give constructive suggestions? Nope. But I did see, as someone wrote below very inconsistent decision making. Don't personalise that, we should all aspire to greater quality and that means all, not just submitters. I also found a bug in the resubmission software, which probably explains a lot :-)
Posted by Jdanne on September 09, 2010
Looking back at my first photos which I tried to upload - I'm now glad that they were rejected!
Posted by Abamjiwa on September 08, 2010
I'd submitted 8 images as my 1st step in dreamstime photostock. 4 has been rejected. My point is, THANKYOU editor. Now i know what was wrong with my images. What to do and what don't do. Thanks for your critical comments. At least i can learned a lot to improved my photo skills. Thanks again.

Regards
Posted by Dprogers on September 08, 2010
Editors reject for a variety of reasons "not what we are looking for" - well who is to say that an editor knows my market better than I do? Indeed history shows the images I've argued on have sold as I thought they would. Then there is "lack of composition" now this really gets up my nose a) because the example composition in the tips bit is a really bad example and b) because the rule of thirds whilst it is a useful rule is not the only rule. So I appreciate that the editors have an opinion but that's all it is. If you are genuine, publish an editor ID with image, also lets see the qualifications and experience of each editor and are they really making the decisions that lead to better sales - prove it - it's not hard.

Sorry for the rant, but if I didn't care, I wouldn't argue but I do care because you are not doing what you say you are doing.
Posted by Bramble100 on September 08, 2010
What I learned: no need to argue :) Your time is very valuable: You brainstorm shootings. You prepare shootings. You take lots of pics. You select. You photoshop. You keyword. You upload. You categorize. Still got time to argue? :))

First, learn from rejection. It has good reason. If you are dead sure that the rejected pic will indeed perform well (e.g. it proves with other agency in the next THREE months), ONLY THEN submit it again.

Any other way is only -- waste of your really precious time.

(and what if one good photo gets rejected? nope. You got plenty more. If you got only that one ... you're in trouble, and no arguing will get you out of it)
Posted by Montylola on September 03, 2010
The biggest problem I have with the image editors is that they are not consistant, ie there is no one set of rules and it seems to me that what one editor will choose another editor rejects. I don't just mean in picture quality but in a more serious area wether an image can be sold as RF or Editorial. I have had a number of images rejected in the past that have had indistinctive parts of people in them and these have been rejected as RF but I have searched the site and found a number of images with recognisable people in them that are being offered as RF and at one stage a few months ago there was a featured image that was being sold as RF and there were recognisable people in this image, when I asked how could this be I was not given a very good answer, it was something like this image is one of our original images, doesn't it still contravene the copyright law?
I suppose all I ask is that the images editors be consistant, so we photographers now where we stand and exactly what we can...(More)
Posted by Jessfox on September 03, 2010
I clicked the >>CLICK HERE
Posted by Sandy_maya on September 02, 2010
I think you guys do an awesome job and yes I get many rejected but I know deep down that you are right ( mostly :D ) and at the end of the day we all represent dreamstime and we want quality above all.....no use in accepting everything, because I as a buyer wouldn't be happy and not come back here...so the key really is..quality :D i am working on it and rejections actually helped and still help me improve...so actually....thank you for your rejections!!!!
Posted by Nikiup on September 02, 2010
I think the key point which is not really reflected is why have any rejections at all? Somebody out there might like image and be willing to pay what is a small amount. The reviewers may well be wrong, and the review process simply wastes time to get the image uploaded. There is an issue with "model" photographs, of course but it is not clear - only be experience - by what is meant by having a model in the shot. Given today's cameras it is quite easy to blow a show up to such an extent that a person very much in the background could be identified.

Perhaps it simply comes down to creating a job for a lucky few people who just spend all today looking at other peoples pictures.
Posted by Saje on August 31, 2010
Thank you for the insight. As a relative newbie, I really appreciate your viewpoint on how best to respond to those dreaded rejections.
Posted by Heywoody on August 30, 2010
DT is my first proper stock site - will probably eventually go exclusive but figure this should be an informed choice having tried some of the others. Rejection reasons here are the best I've seen providing enough info to resubmit. Sometimes, however, the reason (if not the rejection) seems wrong but my queries on these must not have been well argued as no response :-) Certainly the process here is very sensible - certain sites would reject an image of the second coming based on a few stray pixels.
Posted by Hinnamsaisuy on August 30, 2010
most my rejection reason are too many photos on the same subject or from the same series.I can accept rejection because of bad composition ,lighting,noise etc
Posted by Mauriehill on August 29, 2010
I've had more than my share of rejections. And I agree with a small proportion of them. Only a small proportion. What bugs me most is "Poor composition" "Not what we're looking for" and "Too many images". Curiously, your rejections are then offered to your competitors who invariably accept them. One of which is a top seller elsewhere ;-) Still love you though.
Posted by Deviney on August 28, 2010
Yes when one of my images are rejected, I learn from it. I'm so glad that your creative team critiques them so well, and when one is accepted I know it's good,I just want to thank you for being the best,and making me be the same.
Posted by Micspix on August 28, 2010
Wonderful Blog. I can attest personally, to the fact that images that are initially rejected are, indeed, reconsidered when followed with a polite email explaining why you have faith in your image, and that this agency, does, indeed respond fairly and accurately and timely.
Posted by Fleyeing on August 27, 2010
I don't believe this. Can we actually talk about the R word? ;-)

After 5 years with DT as an independent, I can only testify that reviews are very consistent here. I can tell horror stories about weird and random rejects elsewhere, and a glass of water won't be enough to calm down.
I remember 3 or 4 cases (in 5 years) where the reviewer made a mistake on DT, imho, but those weren't crucial images so why waste time appealing and emailing for a few sales? It's not even 0.5% of my port.

Sorry I can't contribute more to this thread. DT is fine to great in reviewing. Just keep doing what you're doing.

For beginners that struggle with high reject rate: why don't you put up the images at full size at an independent microstock forum for advice?
Posted by smartview27 on August 27, 2010
I agree!
Posted by Cammeraydave on August 26, 2010
Thank you Mr President ! I enjoyed your blog immensely. It had just the right amount of good humour and good information ! Hugs

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Comments (47)

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Photo credits: Johanson09, Leo Blanchette, Tanikus.

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I am a photographer based in Europe. My work includes lifestyle, wedding, portraiture, commercial images, as well as still-life . I gladly photograph Christian, charity or other aid events or projects free of charge. For more information or if you want to see my extended portfolio, please, visit my website.


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