Keep it clean ... or not

posted on 17th of february, 2011

Yesterday I got almost 2$ for a small download of this image, one of my first uploads to DT and 6 downloads so far:

Now I went kinda far off post-processing this one, skewing colors, blowing out highlights and creating a strong halo around the turbine. I didn't know I was destroying the photograph back then, I just thought it looked cool. Well DT probably thought so as well and accepted it right?

Most other stock sites rejected the image, for all of the above reasons. As I originally shot it in RAW, I hammered away trying to fix the "problems" with the image, and finally got it accepted on other sites as well. That "picture perfect" (well not really but you get the point) image I uploaded to DT again:

(Note: Fixed version disabled on request by admin)
Now since the first image had a few downloads already I decided not to disable the file, but figured only the new image would get the additional downloads. It felt good. I had learned how to post-process correctly for stock. It looked kinda dull, but it was the correct thing to do.

A couple of months later ... the "destroyed version" is still getting downloads and the "fixed version" zero. Downloads on the other stock sites for the "fixed version" is .... zero. The other stock sites who accepted the first version ... sales. This is just one example, but I tend to find that the "processed" versions of images sell better. Im still very very very new to stock, but that's basically my dilemma at the moment regarding post-processing:

1) Go with your gut and make an image "feel right", basically destroying it, and risk rejection for over-filtering. But if you get it online ... sales.

2) Just slightly post-process, lens correction, removing CA, fix WB and then boost contrast slightly. High approval rate .. but very few sales.

Am I arguing that the the "destroyed version" is better than the fixed one? Not at all. Having the fixed version, it is quite easy to filter it to look like my first upload. So why is it selling better? My guess is that the buyer don't want to deal with post-processing and just wanted a skewed version to make it pop in an article or so.

So DT, thanks for allowing some form of creative post-processing to take place. It seems to me that is what buyers sometimes want. I would however really like to have the possibility of attaching post-processing versions of a specific file, instead of uploading different versions (which is usually not allowed as I understand it). In the case above, I left a note to the editor that this was a fixed version of an old file and thankfully it did get online .... and somehow confirmed this somewhat strange selling pattern.

Hope you found the article interesting


Comments (10)

Posted by lzf on March 06, 2011
nice pic and thanks for share
Posted by P0temkin on February 19, 2011
Well, perhaps no one wants to comment anymore and risk having files disabled :-) ... but the conclusion of the article still stands. And which file to disable? The one that appeals to me as a photographer ... or the one that is level 2 and sells? ;-)

Still hope you found this article useful, even though I'm not able to show the corrected version anymore, which is a pity.

Good luck to you all!
Posted by P0temkin on February 19, 2011
Ah OK, since youre an admin I guess its necessary. I did make a note that this was a fixed image when I submitted it, so the reviewer was aware of this. And feel free to look in my portfolio, this is the only image I have done this with.

As noted in the article, I do understand that this is usually not a good way since we would have 10-20 variations on each photograph in the database.
Posted by Nikitu on February 18, 2011
Remove one of the images. You are not allowed to do this. Either keep the older image and remove the new one or remove the old image and keep the new one. This is the same image after all.
If you have other similar cases do the same for them.
Posted by Mariaam on February 18, 2011
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Posted by Rosedarc on February 18, 2011
Posted by P0temkin on February 18, 2011
Interesting you have similar experience. It is strange for sure ... And to some extent I wonder if many stock sites take it too far.

I actually find myself looking at some posters and ads thinking ... "Woooo that wont get accepted ... WB way off and its to soft". :-) :-)
Posted by Meryll on February 18, 2011
This is an interesting theme. I have also pictures of windmills, one of them pushed up more in postprocessing and I would sey it sells better than other image, you can see the download/view rate:

but the push up version was rejected in another stock agency anyway
Posted by Alieska84 on February 18, 2011
that´s a surprise :)
Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Posted by Cmarshall717 on February 17, 2011
That is strange. When I first started reading this, I said, yeah, I can see the big difference, and I liked the corrected one better. It's surprising to me, too, that the first one would be the one giving you all the sales. But a sale is a sale, right! And that's something to feel good about.

Comments (10)

This article has been read 1529 times. 4 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: P0temkin.

About me

Basically want published photographs to work as thumbnails in a given situation. Quite interested in photo post-processing, specifically mixing shots with elements of vector graphics.

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