Getting started with Dreamstimes can be a...quandary for those photographers who are new to the Stock Photography business. There doesn't seem to be a good "How To" or "Dreamstime for Dummies" guide floating around, so I'll try my best to pass along what I've learned thus far.
Create Your Account
This is your first step as a new Dreamstime contributor, and it shouldn't be a problem. You'll provide a login name and password, and type in the display code to prove your human-ness. You'll then be able to edit your profile with biographical information, tell the world what kind of gear you use and add a photo.
You have several options when it comes to submitting photos on Dreamstime. Under the "Photographer's Area" section, you'll want to choose "Upload Files." For the first several days of your membership, you'll be given unlimited uploads. Thereafter, the number of images you can upload per day will be based on the percentage of your photos approved.
Submit Commercial RF Image is the section you'll likely be most interested in. You'll upload your file in one of the several supported formats from there. Once loaded, you'll need to provide a name, description, and at least 10 keywords for your image. I provide a minimal level of keywords while submitting a photo, as additional keywords can be added upon approval. It seems like a waste of time to put a lot of effort in to properly keywording a photo that may not pass the bar. There are several blogs and message board threads that involve proper image description and proper keywording, and keep in mind you should use both American and British words (but not words in other languages).
* Commercial RF Images must have a model release, if a person or a person's body part (such as a pair of hands) are in the main focus of the image. Model releases are pretty straight forward, and available in several languages. The pros suggest using people you know as your models. My nephew is my most often photographed person.
* Trademarked items may not appear in a Commercial RF Image, without a property release. That includes everything from the stripes on a pair of Adidas to the Sydney Opera House. Check here for the best explanation of trademarked items on the boards.
* You'll be given the option to make your image an "Exclusive Image," meaning you will sell it nowhere but on Dreamstime. This does come with a small premium in pay, and it completely up to you. As this guide is designed for new contributors, I'll assume you don't already have it for sale someplace else. If that is the case, there isn't much reason NOT to make your images exclusive.
Submit Editorial Image is the new, alternative way to submit images to Dreamstime. When I first started uploading photos, I didn't pay much attention to this section and I wasn't really sure how it could work for me. I submitted several photos of Major League Baseball games as Commercial RF Images, and they were rejected based on lack of model release and visible trademarked or copyrighted items. The Editorial Image lets you work around these two limitations for photos that are "editorial" or "newsworthy." The only addition to submitting an Editorial Image is a section in which you provide information on how your image could be used.
You can find out about refused files in one of two ways. Either wait for the email to arrive (which takes about an extra day), or check the "Refused Files" section in the "Management Area." If you can correct the problem, you can resubmit the file directly from the "Refused Files" section. All of your original data will be retained, like keywords and description for 7 days. Should you question the refusal, you can inquire about it by replying to the rejection email, though I'm not sure how much information you'll get from there.
There are heaps of threads about Refused Files on the messageboard. The refusal reasons are pretty broad, but try not to get frustrated.
You can check your accepted images either in the "Online Files" section of the "Management Area" or "Your Uploads" in the "Photographer's Area." Each of these section will provide you with a thumbnail of each uploaded image, and useful information about the photo like the number of views and comments it has received. You can click on the Title of the file to edit information or add addition keywords.
The "Your Earnings" section in the "Photographer's Area" shows you which files have been downloaded thus far. It looks similar to the "Your Uploads" area, but adds information on your earnings on each file that has been downloaded. It also tells you which keyword led to the sale for some files, which can help direct you when keywording future photos.
Where are they Going?
In these early days of my "carreer" as a stock photographer, I'm dying to know where each and every file is being used. People have had success Google-ing various strings of text, the most straightforward of which seems to be Dreamstime + "Your Name" with your name in parenthesis. This method hasn't worked for me so far, which leads me to believe my images have been used in print or are to be used in an online project that is still in the works.
The message boards can be a useful tool for finding the answers to your questions. The first time I wanted to post a new thread, I hunted for quite a while to find out how to do so. The "New Thread" icon is located all the way at the bottom, underneath the page numbers. My excuse is that I was using an iPhone, but it is a little hard to miss way down there.