Dealing with Rejection - Dreamstime

Having been with DT for nearly a year I have experienced a range of highs and lows. Something I suspect most of us have to deal with is the rejection of images. In trying to analyse patterns in the rejections I have had I have noticed that they generally come in one of six forms;

1. Uploading too many similar images to your portfolio

This is something I did a lot of early on and unfortunately did not learn my lesson quick enough as I had quite a few rejections early on. Quite righting, similar images within your portfolio compete with each other and mean you don't get the higher levels.

2, Uploading images that are very common in the database

There are certain images that I suspect a lot of photographers like to take. Flowers, babies, pets etc. Problem is that because loads of photographers like them there are literally hundreds of thousands of images already uploaded. This means the probability of the 'me too' images uploaded will not sell, so I try not to waste my time.

3. Non Stock Orientated Images

A number of the images I have taken, whilst technically competent, had no real 'purpose'. Taking images that do not have a clear and definate subject make the images impossible to find and unlikely to sell.

4. Poorly Specified Images

The rejections in this category are where I have not described the image adequately or used excessive or potentially misleading keywords. This is an easy one to fix normally but still impacts on the overall acceptance percentage.

Editorial Image Issues

This is a problem area that works two ways. I have put forward images as editorial where there is very low editorial value, for example I shot an image of a toy Napoleon Bonaparte. What was I thinking putting it forward as Editorial? More commonly is leaving objects such as logos, names, faces and other editorially biased subjects in the image and then submitting it as an RF image. I have learned to check every image for logos and recognisable/protected factors and either crop or blur them out or submit as an Editorial.

6. Technically Flawed Images

The last of my rejection groups can be classed as technically flawed. Common issues are poorly lit, excessive noise, too much of the image out of focus and poorly removed backgrounds. Whilst I have got a lot better at these there are still times when I am not sure and as a friend says, if you get a 'feeling in the water' that an image won't be accepted I often won't take the risk.

This doesn't mean I don't still get rejections but by analysing each and every rejection and acting like an elephant (as in an elephant never forgets what they have learned) my acceptance ratio stays high even as my portfolio grows.

I would welcome your hints and tips on avoiding rejections.

Photo credits: Mark Eaton.

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May 25, 2012


yes, I am not happy at all for every single rejection - probably mainly because I usually do try to consider all the points mentioned above and it takes quite some time and effort to put your pics in - on the other hand, I have learned so much over the last 16 months mainly because of all the rejections I had - so it seems it isn't totally avoidable, - but reducing rejections is probably everyone's goal here on DT

May 24, 2012


good post

May 23, 2012


Some nice points there.

It sure is disheartening when I submit a bunch after a travel only to discover all have been rejected, makes me feel as if my whole travel was a waste.

May 22, 2012



May 22, 2012


Let me put a "Like" on this blog entry :)

May 22, 2012


After a month or two on any stock site you will have a good idea where the goalposts are, be in the habit of self reviewing for technical flaws at 100% and have some knowledge of what sells and what doesn't. After that you will learn absolutely nothing from rejections except perhaps in terms of your own assessment of the quality and consistency of each site's reviewing standards.

May 21, 2012


Thanks for sharing your experience!!!

May 21, 2012


Thanks for sharing!

May 21, 2012


You're very welcome.

May 21, 2012


Thanks for sharing your experience...

May 21, 2012


Very good points, thanks for sharing. I have to say that the rejections I had fully reflect what you wrote. As I am at the very beginnings, I am learning much from rejections. Sorry for poor english!

May 21, 2012


Yes, good point Yellowind. If the image has high commercial value than a few minor technical issues may be more acceptable than a low commercial value image.

May 20, 2012


One thing is the knowing of what you are doing about a picture. The other is what the stock needs. If the image is high comercial value it may have so little technical problems as I noticed. But low comercial value is the STOP. Look at it and think: where it can be used? why this image? and only then shoot. Have luck and sharp eye :)

May 20, 2012


LOL. Yes, those rejections are much more personal.

May 20, 2012


My worst rejections are when I say "Dinner and movie?" and she laughs uncontrollably before hanging up on me. D'oh!

May 20, 2012


great blog!

May 20, 2012


Everyone has their share of rejections when they first get into stock photography until they figure out, both visually and technically, what the evaluators are looking for. Even after you become established, rejections can be a good thing. They keep you on your toes so you don't become "lazy" in what you submit. It is a learning process and just keep at it.

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