Top 10 tips for new contributors

posted on 4th of november, 2016

Congratulations on having your first images accepted at Dreamstime. Keep up the good work and many more to come!

To improve your future uploads and continue with a high approval rate, here are some tips based on our extensive experience in microstock imagery review. You will find below info on lighting, exposure, composition, legal documents and many more:

1. Composition has to always make your subject stand out in the image. Having the subject in the middle of your image will flatten it out as opposed to having the subject either in the first third or the last third of your photo. Have it like this and it will tell a story rather than just show a person or an object.

2. Say no to tilted horizons, make sure your image is straight before uploading it.

3. Expose your image so that you can tell what’s in the shadows as much as in the highlights; most modern cameras have pretty good evaluative metering. If lighting is harsh use your flash as a fill light but don’t use direct flash in a dark setting. It will create very defined shadows that usually don’t work well in stock photography.

4. Look at your image at 100% before you upload it. Check for anything that might be copyright: on shoes, on clothing, any logos, trademarks, company names.

5. Don’t go overboard with filters. They are tempting but they will mess with your image and you’ll end up with distorted pixels instead of cool colors.

6. Title and description as well as keywords must complement your image. Think of words that you’d use to search for this image and use them.

7. Use the most adequate ISO/exposure time/aperture value for your images. High ISO rating will lead to unwanted noise. Too wide apertures can lead to very shallow depth of fields, they are wanted in some images but not all of them.

* As a guideline keep your ISO rating between 100-400 (raise to more if needed, but for daylight photography or flash photography keep between the mentioned values).

* Aperture can start from 1.4 (or even lower) on high end lenses. Most lenses start between 2.8 and 4. An aperture of 5.6 is wide enough to get some depth of field and closed enough to get your subject in focus. Go to a higher, more closed number if needed. Just remember: the smaller the number the less of your image will be in focus, the higher the number the more of your image will be in the focus range.

* Time value is also very important. Go for a too long exposure and your image will turn into an unwanted motion blur. Stay over 1/125 whenever possible but go down to 1/60 if you have a steady hand and subjects that don’t move and even lower if your lens has stabilization. If you plan to shoot action then your exposure time needs to go down to 1/800 or so. This will ensure your subject is clear and in focus. Use AI Servo AF (Canon)/AF-C (Nikon), this is the continuous focus mode for action shots. It will track your subject when shooting action making sure the focus stays on the subject and doesn’t slip elsewhere in your composition. Remember, the higher the second number is the faster the shutter will close, the less the image will be exposed and the more chances to have your subject in focus. But use the right exposure setting for the kind of images you aim to shoot (no point using 1/800 if the subject is sitting on a chair)

8. Make sure you have a model release for all your people images (even if their back is at the camera or only part of the face is visible). You can download out template here or use a generic one but ensure all required fields are there: resources/utilities.

9. Always shoot RAW or at least maximum quality JPG and always save at maximum quality possible. Also, avoid upsampling of your images.

10 For illustrations, avoid aliased/jagged issues. Use an anti-alias filter before you export your vector/3D images to a raster format (jpeg) and also avoid blurry images by always saving them at maximum quality without upsizing or interpolation by software.

Hope you’ll find these helpful and we’re looking forward to your future submissions. Good luck!


Comments (61)

Posted by Haunterofthewoods on April 20, 2017
Great advise Thanks
Posted by 2282859506 on April 14, 2017
My friends, help me, how to become the exclusive photographer dreamstime?
Posted by Jjphoto509 on April 03, 2017
Thank's my freind,i'm very glad.
Posted by Anuisb on April 03, 2017
Thanks so much.
Posted by Karthickgnani on March 23, 2017
Thanks for this... It's brilliant..
Posted by Westrahananda on March 04, 2017
Thank you so much for the tips. But anyway mostly i took the picture by using my camera phone, but still i tried so hard to make it looking so well. Thanks dreamstime,, hope my dreams come true 🙂🙏
Posted by Trendcreator on March 02, 2017
Thank You very much
Posted by Nsanwariya on February 09, 2017
Thanks so much for this useful tips!
Posted by Caughtmyeye on February 05, 2017
Thanks DT - you have been very helpful on pointing out the little details that I have taking for granted.
Posted by Steveacer on January 31, 2017
Brilliant advice especially about ISO. I think that the camera manufacturers live in dreamland when they advertise the incredibly high ISO numbers for their cameras. I always leave my ISO at 400 max by default or I know there is likely to be a problem with noise. I know that noise can be lessened in lightroom and photoshop but at a cost to sharpness.
Posted by Lisabk10 on January 19, 2017
Thank you for the information Helpful advice.
E. Burke
Posted by Mypointofview on January 19, 2017
Thanks for helpful advices!
Posted by Bographics on January 16, 2017
Very good advice! Thanks!
Posted by Aleksandrmendelev on January 15, 2017
Thank you! very useful.
Posted by Lorettalester on January 13, 2017
Thanks Dreamstime, this was very helpful!
Posted by Biotabby on January 05, 2017
Thank you!! I found this to be very helpful!!
Posted by Zhan98 on January 04, 2017
Posted by Yahoobite on December 26, 2016
Thank You for the useful information.
Posted by Brilyov82 on December 22, 2016
thank you for useful imformation
Posted by Photo072 on December 21, 2016
Сюда что люди снимки качают вообще не понимая что такое фотография? Тогда организуйте фото кружок Дворца Пионеров!
Posted by Okizulkiram81 on December 18, 2016
Thank you for useful information!
Posted by Nikitu on December 10, 2016
Imagine that you are the person in the image, most likely you would know it is you there. That's why a MR is required for people that are not with their faces turned towards the camera, to avoid any future legal issues
Posted by Emisia on December 09, 2016
I have a question. Why would I add a model release document when there's only back of the person visible, no face - in general the person is unrecognizable? I have some photos with people who are impossible to recognize, but were taken long time ago and I can't provide a model release document...
Posted by Carolynvines105 on December 08, 2016
Great tips! Thank You!
Posted by Sergeybelyaev1953 on December 06, 2016
I don't understand your select politics. You place as most popular broken fotos and pictures. You place is not real, and distorted images, not related to photography in general.
Posted by Vitaliiprostor on December 04, 2016
Thank you!
Posted by Dark16 on December 02, 2016
Thank you so much for these information. Bye
Posted by Mauroarmijoc on November 29, 2016
Thank you for this information !!! Bye 👌
Posted by Joliephantasm on November 29, 2016
Thank you so much for these wonderful tips!
Posted by Davidnew7 on November 29, 2016
Thank you!

 2 3 >
 of 3

Comments (61)

This article has been read 15947 times. 30 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Mariayunira.

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]

Bucharest, RO

Blogs Exclusive user
November (1)
April (1)
March (1)
February (1)

Stock Photography that BLOGS!

Interact, make friends, share tips and techniques, have fun. Dreamstime wants your ideas and thoughts whether you are a photographer, designer or regular user. Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite images and photographers, post tutorials or simply exchange opinions with your with fellow dreamstimers.

Don't forget words and pictures go great together so make sure you choose some Dreamstime favorite pics to brighten your article. For inspiration, check out the hottest or the most useful blogs on the left.

Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite stock images and photographers

Create your blog

My favorite articles


More favorite articles

Related image searches

contributor tips exposure lighting photography

Lighting related stock images