Ever been caught by the Monthly Assignment Fever? Being left ecstatic because your image was selected, or depressed because it was rejected?
Assignments are a rather difficult exercise, with an approval rate of generally less than 15% - sometimes as low as 11%. For the newbies who are already struggling to keep a decent AR and are not too comfortable with image processing, this can be really intimidating. And yet, assignments are fun and, more importantly, very educational.
First of all, one has to work on a given subject, think about how to approach the concept, how to bring forward ideas. This is an excellent exercise for the brain and the eye, and of course the basis of stock photography. Well, I'm often full of ideas when it comes to assignments, but I have to say, it's much harder to bring those ideas to life!
The selection of the Assignment files is tough because images are brought straight away to Level 5, making them more expensive for buyers to acquire. Quality is a must. Although the editors are more strict when it comes to the Assignments, they actually give us an even more accurate description of the reasons behind the rejection than usual, and with them come more lessons about stock photography.
Another positive effect of the Assignments is that they stimulate our creativity and some images that don't make it to the Assignment for lack of time for instance, can still be proposed at a later date. It's a matter of continuing to spin he wheel even when the assignment is finished. Thinking about the Assignments actually makes me think of other images I could submit, even outside of the Assignment itself.
Finally the buzz around the assignment seems to create a collateral dynamic in sales. For instance this cave image was sold with the keyword "spiritual" during the current assignment. Could that be just a happy coincidence?
All in all, despite the difficulty involved and the low acceptance ratio, I would say that it is definitely worth participating, especially for those of us with a small(ish) portfolio!