Editor's Choice - Some Guidelines

posted on 11th of january, 2010

So, you navigated to the homepage and saw that special tab with hand-picked impressive images and naturally began dreaming of seeing your own among them. You kept trying for a (long) while, but it just isn't happening. What is the deal with those editors, you ask yourself, my images are cool enough! Or perhaps at this moment you don't even dare dream of seeing your image among the editor's special selection.

Before I go on I'd like to say, what I hope will be a word of encouragement to many of you - we (the editors) can't wait to be moved by your images and approve them as editor's choice.

Now, let's step back and look at some guidelines which will help you produce the outstanding images we are looking for.

First, let's try and define "editor's choice". This is a collection of images which have technical quality, concept and execution superior to the majority of other submissions. Some may be more artistic, others strictly stock. Either way, they are loaded with sales potential.
An editor's choice selection is rather subjective, but is still within a general guideline. Here's a part of this guideline:

Fresh and unique. We've got almost 8 million images online at the moment and we've reviewed considerably more images in total (counting those refused). You can imagine, that it will take something above-average to impress us (the subjective part). Most photographers who are just starting with microstock simply shoot exactly that which they see in the online database, without realizing that this actually makes little sense. Why would anyone want to create a carbon copy of an already existing product? Truly unique images are among the favorites for buyers who are on the look for fresh content. The buyers of your images also have customers they need to impress, keep that in mind.

Everyday's natural. Leaving a good impression nowadays is often connected with something unusual, something extraordinary. While this certainly works, it definitely isn't the end of the story, especially when it comes down to photographs. We (the editors) are well used to seeing all kinds of abnormalities and post-processing creations. What we tend to see less of is the natural, the spontaneous, the usual in our life, but then paused by your shutter release. Very few are those who will not stop for a closer look at a moment of a happy family's day in the park.

Telling the story but not all of it. Composition wise, dead-centered images aren't appealing to most people because the subject is immediately found by the eyes, leaving the viewer with no challenge or adventure. Movie trailers never give out the final frames of the story. Instead, they tell you just enough to spark your interest in what's left out. Can you do the same with photos? Of course you can! I myself am still sitting here and wondering whether a young child scored that beautiful goal or a 35-years-old one. :)

Powerful and relevant. There is plenty of on-going positive (and sadly - negative) stories in our world today. Whether it's an international conflict, a rapidly spreading flu, a world championship in some sport... You can raise awareness of it by making it the key concept of your image. In addition, many people will come around the corner looking specifically for such images, as opposed to the more generic ones. Thus, get the big picture well and then re-paint it with whatever props and/or models you have. Alternatively, you can re-draw it. We're having more and more editorial images which make it to the editor's choice section.
If you want to be relevant in a microstock-kind-of-way, then take the very general concept and work with it. Topical events tend to repeat and so does the need of illustrating them in one way or another.

© Dimap (Help)
Finally, consider that editor's choice images... need to meet all MR/PR requirements; need to be very well keyworded, entitled and described; don't necessarily have to be Photoshopped ;) ; should (preferably) not be part of a series; sadly will not always sell as much as we would like them to; get extra promotion through various areas of the web-site; are often the result of a lot of careful preparation and work; always make us (the editors) happy. :D

Comments (49)

Posted by Leobruce on March 07, 2011
Just noticed . . . my first editor's choice. Two sales already. When I first submitted it a few years ago, it was rejected for "not what we are looking for". Tried it again recently and it hit the sweet spot with someone I guess. It all depends on the editor you get, lol.
Posted by Petarneychev on February 10, 2010
@Rubypjohnson - I'm not quite sure I understand your question and it's a bit off topic here. However, to download an image you need to go to the image's page (ie. click on the thumbnail from the search result) and then use the buttons provided on the "Royalty Free" tab to select your desired size and download the image.
If your question is how to insert the image into a Wordpress blog post/page - just do a search on Google, for example, and you'll find a lot of detailed information about it.
Posted by Rubypjohnson on February 10, 2010
How can you download images "small" enough for a blog. I have been unable to do this with wordpress.
Posted by Gheburaseye on February 08, 2010
Yes, Interesting guidelines, but......
Posted by Keki on January 28, 2010
fantastic advice! thanks :)
Posted by Elisamoriconi on January 28, 2010
Thank you, it was very interesting ^^
Posted by Ronvid on January 27, 2010
Thanks for the great info ... I have learned more on this site in a week then I have in a lifetime of shooting pics (and that's a good thing BTW).
Posted by Gilmourbto2001 on January 25, 2010
This is some great info - certainly something to "shoot" for.
Posted by Onime on January 23, 2010
thanks.. Good information.
Posted by Tan510jomast on January 20, 2010
------- As usual, the best way to create is for your own mind's eye and not another's. (Clarsen55)-------------------------------

well said Clarsen55.
as Ernst Haas many times was quoted to say, "photography is as personal and unique as our soul".
Posted by Digitalexpressionimages on January 20, 2010
I find this ironic really. Most, if not all of the editors on Dreamstime are photographers and therefore evaluate photographs from a photographer's point of view. The irony comes from the fact that most stock, on this site and any other, is purchased by graphic designers who look for very different things in stock images. Of the shots that accompany this article, I see only one that really has potential as stock. The others may be great photos but in graphic design that's only part of it. As a designer of 17 years, I've gotten more stock from the free section on dreamstime than I've gotten from paying for images. Mostly, I believe, because editors evaluate a submission, reject it based on a photographer's eye for quality, it goes to the free section and it's exactly what a designer needs so they (I) download it.
Posted by Petarneychev on January 20, 2010
Yes, editor's choice do reflect the overall quality of the time they were uploaded and selected. Older images in this section might not make it today. The editor's choice collection is not updated. What you suggest will currently not be implemented because the idea behind editor's choice has always been selection done by the trained reviewers.
Posted by Fleyeing on January 20, 2010
When I look at my 3 editor's choice images, they never changed in 4 years time. They were uploaded end of 2005, when I had no clue about stock and they don't represent at all what i have been doing the past 3 years. Do they ever get updated?
Since this probably would be a major undertaking for 10,000s of photographers, why not allow the photographer himself to highlight a shot for every 500 or 1000$ sales?
Posted by Weir2010 on January 16, 2010
Posted by Ponytail1414 on January 15, 2010
It's nice of you to do this for us!
Posted by Kasienka on January 14, 2010
Great tips! Thanks a lot for sharing! ;-)
Posted by Maigi on January 13, 2010
Thanks, Petar! Good information. :)
Posted by Rgbe on January 13, 2010
Great tips. Thanks.
Posted by Fultonsphoto on January 13, 2010
Some great tips which hopefully can be applied and get me that elusive ed's choice :0) thanks.
Posted by Jameskho on January 12, 2010
Thanks Petar for your great tips. Now I have some better ideas to work on my pictures.
Posted by Xiaofeng123 on January 12, 2010
that's good!I Need it!
Posted by Franfoto on January 12, 2010
It's a good article. It is very helpful to know what the reviewers think and what they are looking for. Thanks for your article.
Posted by Yuritz on January 12, 2010
well,thanks for the advices and the usefull treat;by your words and those simple exmaples not it's more clear how an "editor's choice picture" should be!
Posted by Petarneychev on January 12, 2010
@Georgeskyrillos - No, contributors don't get an additional notification. However, by simply viewing your profile page you'll notice the change in the Editor's Choice tab (or if was never there - it will appear automatically).
Posted by Georgeskyrillos on January 12, 2010
Would contributors be notified if they get picked? Thanks for the useful article.
Posted by Fcarucci on January 12, 2010
Thanks for the detailed information. Mnogo celuvki :)
Posted by Titania1980 on January 12, 2010
very useful thank you!! I'm also one who wish to hace a pic there but don't dare to expect it :)
Posted by Clarsen55 on January 12, 2010
I have one editor's choice, and it is a mystery to me why this one was chosen before other images of mine...it is by no means my best. That being said, I have seen amazing editor's choices and "not-so-amazing". So it's really a waste of time trying to create an image with the express idea that it will be chosen as an editor's choice. The odds are not with you. As usual, the best way to create is for your own mind's eye and not another's.
Posted by smartview27 on January 12, 2010
thanks for sharing your informations
Posted by Dmccale on January 12, 2010
Great blog.Thanks so much

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Photo credits: Ryan Stevenson, Cheryl Davis, Dimap, Mikael Damkier, Piksel, Premat.

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