An Editor point of view... Too many flowers!

As the image editors (not entirely correct a statement - we're more like... well, reviewers only) review up to a couple of thousand images per day - each - then they most likely see the big picture, when it comes to balancing the various subjects and categories within Dreamstime's database. I'd like to start this blog series - aimed at pointing out various pitfalls many of the images have, that we review each day - with discussing the term "too many" and why "we have reviewed your file, but it is not what we are looking for". So take a seat...

© Rx3ajl

This is a very well covered subject in our database or the subject of your image is too specific. We are looking for images that exceed the technical quality and creativity of the images already online. Please take a few minutes to browse through the best selling images online (on this subject) and go deeper, play, have a more creative, more personal approach to it, also keeping in mind the technical quality of the image.

Actually it is all written there, nicely and coherently what I am going to lecture about in detail. So let's see... So many subjects spring to mind, so that it is hard to choose... well...


Spring is all over (most of the world), so it is time for all those lovely buds and blossoms that stretch out of the ground, naturally. Well, this is definitely a category that is extremely competitive. It's not the first spring around ;)

As of May 18th, 2008, at midnight the search yielded 92,760 images with the keyword "flowers", with singular term the number is even more pronounced - 160,090. That is around 5% of the whole database. So one might think, flowers already make us sneeze... (Bless you!)

So there are at least 69,537 roses, 22,223 tulips, 7,722 dandelions, 4,183 lilies, 2,860 narcissuses, and 2,598 orchids - this is still the tip of the iceberg, since tens of thousands of the rest are simply listed as a "flower".

So tip No.1 is that BE AS SPECIFIC as possible about the species of the subject. If someone is zeroing in on a very narrow subject - i.e she knows what she is looking for - then she would be able to find your image. More often than not, we will be refusing just "roses", "tulips", "pink flowers", etc. And now you understand why that is. Tip number 2 would be to step out of the traditional flower-centric photography, bringing the subject into new, but suitable, context. Someone sniffing a bouquet, that someone could be a ... CAT or a PUPPY perhaps!? Not in the vase but outside in the flower-bed perhaps? Because simply blossoms have been photographed from all angles, from top to bottom, on various backgrounds... Generally, when there is an evident IDEA behind the flower image, it will be accepted (given the other requirements are all met). But if it is just "blooming rose" - do yourself a favor and do not bother to waste the bandwidth.

© Knips

I've been forced to reject hundreds of tulips lately, since no matter from which side you photograph them, we've seen them all. Single blossoms, bouquets, flowerbeds, rows of tulips, fields of tulips. Pink, red, purple, and yellow tulips. Closed buds and fully opened ones. On green backgrounds and on sky-blue backgrounds. From the top and from the bottom up. The only way you'd hope for approval would be to submit very hi-res, pixel-prefect, with adequate depth of field images. Remember the part of the reject reason "We are looking for images that exceed the technical quality and creativity of the images already online."? Good. This is the most important sentence in the paragraph.

Coming back to the part where interesting results and concepts could be achieved when thinking out of the box and complimenting the sole flower with other props and situations. Although it is surely more challenging, the rewards are greater as well. To round this all up, here are a few MORE COMPELLING concepts, where flower plays the central role.

Next week: Butterflies, bees, wasps and flies - commonly known as insects.

© Studio
© Maszas

© Nruboc

© Maszas

Photo credits: , Andrey Stratilatov, Ivan Grlic, Damus, Kutt Niinepuu, Krzysztof Gorski, Scott Patterson, Irochka, Joe Klune, Uschi Hering, Luminouslens, Marcel Nijhuis, Marzanna Syncerz, Stephen Coburn, Alexander Maksimov, Stuart Miles, Studio Dream, Vladimir Surkov, Valeriya Potapova.

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September 13, 2010


Now I know why........ ha-ha! ;D Thanks for sharing!

June 17, 2008


You've got it right Marko, don't shoot species that are too popular and avoid the run-of-the-mill snapshots. The best friend you can have here is research. Sort the results by differend criteria and cross-reference for the best selling or the least exposed shots.

June 17, 2008


Good article and good recommendations! I agree with you in 85%. It is true that there are many flower pictures up in many stock sites. So is true that if you are trying to find some specific species from one flower the search can result zero images.

I would like to believe that you do not mean that it is a waist of time for photographers trying to upload and shoot flower photos. Maybe we should be more specific with keywords and avoid species that are well covered?

June 12, 2008



June 09, 2008


Fantastic review! I'm new in the subject and definitely articles like this help to stay in the focus of what is really in demand. Probably most of us love to make photos of flowers but I have had this feeling for some time now that there are a little bit too much flowers everywhere on photo sites. And - thanks for tip of creative use of them in our works!

June 09, 2008


and can't wait for the next of "too many" =)

June 07, 2008


thank, great advice, and will come in handy when i'm next shooting flowers or anything for that matter!!

June 04, 2008


Thank you! useful for me!

May 31, 2008


I'm not sure there's any other microstock agency where a reviewer would take the time & effort to explain this. Thank you. May I suggest a regular series? It may be time-consuming for you, but in the end it will hopefully streamline your job.

May 26, 2008


This is so helpful! I am sometimes at a loss for why a particular photo is rejected, and this post helps me understand.

May 21, 2008


Great blog! Really good advice that we should all take note of!

May 19, 2008


Great article and advice. I think most of us see a beautiful flower or bed of flowers and snap an image because. Not thing about that you want outside the box. Thank you again for the great advice. :)

May 19, 2008


Very good article, there is harvest very much after seeing!

May 19, 2008


Looking forward to the next articles on our reviewers' point of view! :)

May 19, 2008


Thanks for taking the time to elaborate on this sensitive issue. Nicely explained and very useful. Looling forward to INSECTS.

May 18, 2008


I love shooting the song birds in my backyard. Before I uploaded some, I double-checked the specific names of the sparrows and finches. There are 892 returns for "sparrow" and only 14 for "chipping sparrow." There are 384 for "finch" and only 54 for "house finch". It pays to get the names right. :)

May 18, 2008


Thanks for the great advice.

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