Acceptance ratio

Hi, fellow contributors!

This will be another long reading. So if you are waiting for your uploaded files become unfinished files you may want to spend some time here.

Once again, here are some of my thoughts and notes which I would like to share with you. As usual in my articles, I contemplate about particular subjects so I can explain something to myself and put all conclusions to one place, just to get the clearer picture of something. Hope this would be useful for someone else. This article is provoked by my own situation when my acceptance ratio (AR) suddenly dropped for almost 3% by a simple rejection of three images. Since I was thinking that something is wrong I did some calculations to prove the numbers, and this becomes a research. I was struggling with my own numbers which for some resons went wrong. Then I checked message boards to see what others have to say, specially admins. I even set up some Excell tables to check some theories (as I am bad in math from my head). At the end, I believe I finaly understand how this should work. So if you are interesteed try to follow some numbers i presented here. If you are tired, no problem :) this article will stay here for some time. Here we go.

The facts

AR is simple percentage of your approved images in relation of your total submissions. And total submissions are sum of your accepted and rejected images. Resubmitted images are new submissions so they count. But we will get to that later.

AR= Accepted images/(Accepted images+Rejected images)*100

Lets make few real numbers example.

batch 1

You upload 90 images, and all are accepted => 90/(90+0)*100 = AR 100% for batch 1

batch 2

You upload another 90 images and 25 are rejected => 65/(65+25)*100 = AR 72,2% for batch 2

But your total AR is calculated lifetime from your first image uploaded. This means that at this point you have total 155 images online, and 25 rejected. Total math looks like this.

155/(155+25)*100 = 86,1 % for both batch 1 and 2 (lifetime :)

On this small example above you can get similar result by taking average of percents for batch 1 and 2 with almost no error, but note that percents doesn't behave like that when you have more and different numbers. Your AR should always be calculated on total numbers since you joined Dreamstime. Lets prove it. Lets say you upload for 5 consecutive batches the following number of images: 15, 25, 35, 45, 55 and every time 5 of your images are refused. This brings the following situation:






Total is:


Average of your 5 batches is 412,18/5=82,44%

As you see this math is wrong. So, when you look at your stats you cannot see your complete period but last 13 months and years that was before.

Don't sum the percents for this periods and divide it by number of periods because it will not match. You rather use your total numbers of images and rejections. Dreamstime calculates it correct. Now to the interesting part.


One may think that if you resubmit rejected image it doesn't count as it is removed from rejected images section in your Management area. Actually this is not true. By the rules resubmission is counted as any normal submission. There may be opposing opinion but lets get back to some numbers to prove that this is true, and probably answer why is that.

The logic of AR is that it shows your success in uploading quality images. The second part of the formula (accepted images+rejected images) is actually total number of your submissions.

If you upload 50 images and all are accepted you have 100% success. Your friend uploaded his 50 images and 25 is rejected. He has 50% success. That's fine. Now lets say that he resubmitted those 25 images (after required corrections) and they get accepted. Both you and he will have 50 images online but he has some rejections while you don't. Would you accept the fact that both of you are 100% success? You were flawless while he need to make corrections, and he spends some more editors review time, and system resources.

Your math is 50/50+100=100%

His math is 25/50*100=50, (resubmission) 25/25*100=100, total results 50/75*100=66,6%.

So, resubmission is actually as any other new image upload. Resubmitted image is another image, as it is altered and corrected to meet the criteria. If it wasn't, you may upload same10 images and get rejected for a year, 365 times in a row. Then on day 366 you finally get all accepted. You couldn't expect to get 100% acceptance ratio, because you have only 10 images online but you were rejected exactly 3650 times. This is not 100% success at all. (correctly it is10/3660*100=0,27%). Every accepted and rejected image counts as one upload. And when editors reviewed all 3650 uploads that were corrected and rejected again, they may spend this time to accept 3650 quality images.

The life of AR

We can say that your AR doesn't show only your rate of quality success but somehow your contribution, cooperation and respect to Dreamstime human and system resources. Every accepted image goes to the market and is able to bring revenue both for agency and contributor. Rejected image spends the same time and resources, while it doesn't bring any revenue for anyone. Dreamstime is interested in minimizing that as much as possible (ok, I am not DT representative , but I believe I'm right).

If your AR is low, don't get offended by above statement. You should understand that numbers are tricky, specially low numbers. So every newcomer may have similar problems with low AR. When numbers gets higher your AR curve will have less fluctuation and will tend to float around certain point. So don't get disappointed at the beginning. There are several factors that affects this. Like first,

you need to learn something about how to do stock photography selling. Rejections are more often at the beginning because many people rally on the fact that their grandmother adores their images. This was my case too. Then we get rejected and thanks to detailed explanations we start our learning curve on what is and what isn't stock. Improving skills understanding market requirements, self-controll for technical correctness and several other things become our mantra. This inevitably leads to more images gets accepted and less rejected, and so the numbers changes with time.

Now lets see them. Math says that it is easier to drop then to go up when you are above 50% AR.

You have 150 images online and you have 100% AR. Now you upload 3 more and all gets rejected. You will have in total 150/153*100=98,03%. Then you correct the problem, resubmit, and get all 3 images accepted. Now you have 153 online with 3 rejections which is 153/156*100=98,07% AR. As you see, by this mistake you lost 1,97% but after correction you gained only 0.03%. So it is easier to ho down then up. So, what happens after some time? Lets say that instead of 150 images online you managed to have 1500, with (lucky you!) 100% AR. Lets make the same mistake here. 3 images batch gets rejected. 1500/1503*100=99,8(003) AR. After resubmission you will have 1503/1506*100=99,8(007) AR again.

The truth is that there is difference on fourth number after decimal point but is is insignificant. In this case too you lost more then you gained, but the point is that your major AR is pretty stable.

The low AR at low numbers may change for several percents up and down and it doesn't show the truth. Once you get it stable you can say that that's it. And once it stabilizes you will already have enough experience to avoid rejections. So AR will go up. Slowly, but up. Imagine that you uploaded 300 images and all gets rejected so you are at 0% AR. Bummer! Then you learn something and never get s rejected again. Resubmission of those 300 will get you 50% AR. It is pretty high jump. Another accepted 300 will get you to 66,6% AR. Another 300 and you are at 75% AR which is pretty standard. As you see, for the same amount of images your AR goes up, but differences are smaller. If you continue, your first 300 rejections will became more and more insignificant to your

acceptations. When you reach 4000 images online this will be 93,02% AR based on given example.

Affecting your AR

Math is cruel. You can't change the calculation and numbers, and you should live with the result. It is obvious that we should always look at the best. Uploading high quality work leads to this.

So, what can we do. First, AR is highly affected with rejections based on our poor knowledge of what is expected from us. As I already said, what sells and what doesn't, technical flawlessness, avoiding duplicates and overused images, photographic and designing skills, good ideas and concepts etc. Once we learn this our AR goes up and stabilizes. Now, assuming that we understand what is expected

we need to take care that we do what we understand. I recently switched to illustration as I have more success with it then with photography. Illustration as a technique is pretty clean. Less problems with blur, wrong focus, composition and many other things.

But knowing that, I have few rejections. Six images was rejected for simplicity. That was interesting. It lowers my AR (as I have 102 images online at the moment, low number). So I decided to give more time to my creations and to take care that there is enough details and interesting points in it. And things gets better. I reached around 76% AR with illustrations. And yesterday 3 of my images gets rejected again even they are pretty neat, and I spend significant amount of time to get them done. My AR drops for 3% because of this. And what was the reason for rejection? Excessive white space!!!

And it was correct. No one will buy white space. So to the point, I use the same art board for my last 20 illustrations, so I use it as well for those 3. I was careless. If I would pay attention to this issue I will save those 3%, because after I cropped the illustrations they were accepted at no time. I gained less then 1% of AR for resubmission. Another case, one rejection was for misspelled keyword. I changed it in a second but my AR suffered again.

Dreamstime want us to be precise and not careless for the things we already know. And I support this. This is the right way to advance personally and as the community.

Importance of AR

In conclusion. What is the real importance of AR? Should anyone be concerned of this number? Probably not. As long as your portfolio grows.

But there are some side effects.

1. At first, your AR affects number of images you can upload, here is the table:

AR >80% maximum amount of images per week. This applies for the first 50 submissions if you're a new photographer.

AR 50-80% can upload half (1/2) of the maximum amount of images per week.

AR 30-50% can upload the third part (1/3) of the maximum amount of images per week.

AR 10-30% can upload a quarter (1/4) of the maximum amount of images per week.

AR 0-10% can upload a sixth (1/6) of the maximum amount of images per week.

Maximum amount of images is determined and changed from time to time on DT admins discretion, based on current image pending situation and probably several other factors.

So if you are serious, you will want to upload as many as possible images per week. This rule kind of make balance in DT's efforts to decrease rejections by stimulating quality uploads which leads to effective use of reviewers time and system resources. Simple.

2. Secondly, this is number which actually shows contributors quality in some way. You can combine it with several other numbers like, for example, portfolio size. Think of this:

1720 online 86% AR, 12 online 92% AR, 563 online 32% AR, 6 online, 10% Ar. Can you say the difference between those four contributors just by watching that numbers? Well that's the point.

3. Another thing is that you may use it as kind of goal which stimulates you and forces you not to make mistakes like misspelling keywords or excessive white space which are completely unnecessary mistakes to make. My next goal is 80% AR. With some reverse math you can calculate what you need to do to get there. I have 73,9% AR and according to my numbers I should upload around 50 images without rejection to get to 80%. Not to hard, isn't it.

4. Yet another undocumented fact. There were discussions on message boards if AR affects performance of your images in search engine. I guess we will never know that as it is probably DT secret. Personally, I don't see the point. The major performance factor is good literal image definition (keywords, title , description) that is for sure. I can't find any reason why image from high AR contributor should be favored or opposite. What seems reasonable, is that maybe review pending time could be a bit shortened if you prove that you can upload quality material which is again on complete discretion of DT business philosophy.

So, this is probably looong reading, and some of you just jumped here because you see some numbers in between. AR will for sure not affect your sales directly, but it may be good guide and help on a way to success.

Taking care of your AR means that you take care of your work, you provide quality, and that your moving to success could be faster. Almost nothing more.

Photo credits: Aleksandar Horvat, Foxygrl, Iqoncept, Michael Brown, Tetiana Zbrodko, Thegreatshe, Tombaky.

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February 14, 2017


Thank you ever so for you blog article.Really thank you! Keep writing.

December 23, 2010


Great information

December 08, 2010


Thanks for sharing :)

December 06, 2010


Thank you for your tips.

December 05, 2010


interesting article.

December 05, 2010


It's long but informative. It reminds me to be more discriminating in the photographs that I submit. Thanks.

November 29, 2010


thanks for sharing.

November 28, 2010


As you said (item 4) there is no point and no proof that AR affects performance. I agree with Demonike and Bradcalkins,
(quote)DT has a way to motivate their users to be better partners.. each others needs and strive to fulfill them so that they both gain from it (unquote) Loyalty rules with all thriving business. At your peril, lose that and you lose your supplier .
DT appears to reward loyalty.. and yes, definitely, the more downloads I get, the more I tend to view DT as my long term partner.
also agree Item 4: (Quote) maybe review pending time could be a bit shortened if you prove that you can upload quality material (unquote).
as microstock becomes more competitive, serious contributors and agencies need to find a common base viz fair percentage incentive for contributors without short term gains to the displeasure of contributors.
DT success is based on this, I think.
All else is pure speculation and only meant for powerpoint enthusiasts :)

November 28, 2010


I didn't quite get all that. Could you try explaining it again? ;-)

November 27, 2010


That's a useful article, thanks.

November 27, 2010


Very well reasoned! I cannot confirm the AR logic, since I am not in the dev team, but your conclusion looks very logical. I'd like to repeat the case with the white space issue Aleksandar mentioned. This was recently explained in my blog so if you want to make it clear exactly, you're welcome to read it. DT has a way to motivate their users to be better partners. The best partners know each others needs and strive to fulfill them so that they both gain from it. In our case it is partly the AR system. To be good partners with DT, you have to continuously learn and adapt to the changing market, new features, regulations... This is why it is wise to read the blogs once in a while, skim the forums and most importantly LEARN from your own rejections. We do not want to reject your files! We want you to become better photographers & partners! :)

November 27, 2010


thanks for sharing. nic article

November 26, 2010


Thanks for information and for your blog ;)

November 25, 2010


An interesting article. Thanks!

November 25, 2010


thanks for your blog!!!

November 25, 2010


Thanks Aleksandar.
Long but good reading..

I'm so far away from even 50% !! but I learn as I go along and I've managed to turn the trend from 5.60% with 18 photos in October to 76.00% this month with 25 so far

I'm hoping I'm doing something right... I've been on DT for less than 3 months now and I clearly went far too fast in uploading pictures I shouldn't have really .. I was too eager to get started but I guess this is a common mistake.


November 25, 2010



November 24, 2010


Wow - big summary ;) While arguments can be made about how certain things shouldn't count against you, the fact is that we are all up against the same system. Since DT changed the limits so really low AR people can upload a bit more, and changed to the weekly limit I haven't seen anyone complaining about how AR impacts them on DT... In fact, it is a good example of how DT responds to the realities of being a contributor!

I can't say I've ever come close to uploading to the limits available :) Nor have I seen any evidence that AR ranks highly in a search - keywording, being exclusive, download counts, categories, etc. seem to rank a lot higher.

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