Examples of microstock acceptance policies

5

I've recently submitted to the most popular microstock agencies a small batch of 5 images. These pictures aren't masterpieces of the microstock kingdom but I'm going to use them to show you, especially to the beginners, how can be different the acceptance policy of the different agencies; also we have to say that there is another strong component that models the policy: the inspector subjectivity that can't be inspected ;-).

First of all, I'm going to introduce the batch giving my personal – and humble – opinion about technical quality, aesthetic and commercial value, with a number representing my expected percentage of agencies that will accept that photo.

cobblestone paving texture A cobblestone paving of an Italian center town square 70% This is a good subject for microstock (textures and similar are good sellers)  and there isn’t any particular technical problem (a bit of vignetting partially corrected). Probably the most sellable image of the batch
white rose on a dark background White shining rose on a dark background     60%

One of the most covered subject in microstock, so I tried to play with light to re-interpret this subject. The direct sun gives the rose a shiny light and a dark background (out of focus) but produces harsh shadows.

cows and cars rear Cows and cars rear, funny contrast in a cattle fair     30%

This is a funny image with a peculiar point of view. The wooden pole is a bit distracting the main subjects and the background is not top level, so the overall composition is a bit weak.

puppets standingpuppets standing Colored cylinder shaped puppets standing     50%

I submitted also a couple of very similar images to see the agencies behavior with series. Nice and funny subject, powerful colors. The focus is too soft and selective for general microstock acceptance.

Now let’s see the real world…

I’m going to show you the feedback sent by the main agencies and the overall percentage of acceptance (considering the 6 first agencies, for the list consult Stock Agencies list)

cobblestone-paving-texture-th
100%
shiny-white-rose-th
66%
rear-cows-th
33%
cartoon-puppets-standing-2-th
20%
cartoon-puppets-standing-th
33%
iStock ACCEPTED We found the overall composition of this file's lighting could be improved… Your file appears to have been rezzed-up, up-sampled or interpolated (made larger than the original size) and this has degraded the quality… We found this image to be out of focus viewed at 100%… We found this image to be out of focus viewed at 100%…
Fotolia ACCEPTED ACCEPTED ACCEPTED Your photo did not reach our desired level of aesthetic quality… Your photo did not reach our desired level of aesthetic quality…
Dreamstime ACCEPTED ACCEPTED We have reviewed your file and this is not quite what we're looking for. Lack of composition… Too many photos / illustrations on the same subject or from the same series… ACCEPTED
Shutter ACCEPTED ACCEPTED ACCEPTED Focus – Your image is not in focus or focus is not located where we feel it works best. Focus – Your image is not in focus or focus is not located where we feel it works best.
123RF ACCEPTED ACCEPTED Poor Lighting / Composition ACCEPTED ACCEPTED
BigStock ACCEPTED We have enough of this subject already… Poor composition / Cropped subject… Blurry: Image is not very crisp or is blurred when viewed at full size Blurry: Image is not very crisp or is blurred when viewed at full size

Some final considerations:

  • iStockphoto is generally the agency that better explains the rejections
  • the soft focus issue was confirmed by the most of the agencies
  • the lighting/composition of the cows photo wasn’t good as expected; BigStockPhoto often rejects cropped images (“Chopping off part of subject makes photo harder to use generally 🙂 thanks”)
  • Dreamstime is sensible to series of similar images, accepting just one of the two puppets

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About Author

I write about the stock photo and microstock industry since 2006 on my several online-magazines. My goal for MyStockPhoto is to teach photographers and stock photographers how to sell more photos and earn money with their photography hobby.