Finally - reaching 75% AR. My Personal Story

Hi all,

I'm writing this Blog mostly for you newbies out there.. :)

I'll tell you my personal story and hope you'll learn from my mistakes and be a better stock contributor.

I started here in 2008 and was making my first steps as a stock contributor. I've done many mistakes as a newbie but the major one is regarding my AR (acceptance ratio) and the one I'd like to discuss in this Blog.

So as a fresh Dreamstimer there are few milestones that makes you really excited:

1. Your first approved image.

2. Your first sale.

3. Reaching 50 online images.

4. Becoming exclusive.

5. Having an "Editor's Choice"

As if these milestones are not enough I even had a SR-EL (my only one) for 450$. At the beginning I thought it's a mistake on the website and took a screenshot to remember how nice it is seeing these figures .. :)

As a young photographer and a young person these steps really increase your hunger, you get some kind of recognition, DT is accepting your images, your images are being downloaded and someone is willing to pay (sometimes a lot of money) for something you do as a hobby (an expensive hobby :)). You start imaging a huge portfolio which will make you a decent steady income and allow you to buy each and every lens or photography gadget you'll ever dream of. Hey, they even pay you 0.2$ for each upload, that only can make you rich!! :)

So with this great hunger of yours you start upload, massive amounts without much screening of images, without paying attention to quality or sale potential, hey, you're a great photographer, aren't you?! Your images sell, the sky is the limit... Right?!

Well.... Wrong!

During these first months of activity I uploaded 638(!!) images which was way over my ability. I went over old photos I took during vacations and just tried my luck. I uploaded bulk of images without even giving some thought whether they will sell, are they good enough, did I put enough effort with keywording? etc...

This massive upload made my AR to be 64% without the ability to fix it, not fast at least, because as I mentioned I'm not a professional photographer and not creating quality images on a regular basis. That fact caused me to stop uploading almost completely and rethink my workflow for a long period. The rules I started following in order to increase my AR are these (some will sound trivial but for newbies they are not):

1. Upload only your very best images.

If you have 10 shots which are quite alike pick the only best 2. The risk of have the other 8 rejected just not worth it. If later on you'll see that these 2 sell like crazy you can consider upload another one or two but definitely don't upload 10 images on a single first batch.

2. Work with test balloons.

If you're not sure that a series of images will be accepted don't try it with 4-5 images. Start by uploading one. If you see that it's accepted you can consider uploading some more. That also relevant for the commercial/editorial dilemma some are having. Try the first image and apply conclusions on the rest of the group.

3. Upload small batches.

Your images might reach a strict editor or just one having a bad day :) which will reject most of them, it's better to have 2 images rejected than 10. Sometimes having one rotten apple can ruin the whole case, an editor can be effected by some bad images and than reject images that might have been accepted if they stood alone. It's a psychological thing called the halo effect. Try a small batch and do not upload the next batch until you get feedback from the previous one.

4. Making mistake for the first time it's OK. Making the same mistake for the second time is being stupid.

Don't be stupid... If you get the same rejection reason over and over again try to understand what are you doing wrong. Some of the rejections are quite simple to avoid (like noise, lighting etc..)

5. Define goals of max. rejections per month.

This will do wonders to your AR. There will be months which you'll be less successful whether the reason is you or DT policy change or whatever it doesn't really matter. Set a goal and once you reach it stop uploading, even if that means that your monthly AR is 0%. Start fresh next month and at the meantime try to understand where you went wrong and how can you improve.

I guess applying these guidelines will help you a lot. There are only 5 of them in here but believe me that each and every one of them is quite critical if you want to see your AR growing.

I didn't write about why having a good AR is so important because I think this area is quite covered.

I'm happy to say that after a long long period of time following these guidelines I've managed to reach 75% (which is not my final goal of course). Following these steps made my AR to be 90% during last year comparing to the 64% I had at my first year. I'm still paying for the mistakes I did at the beginning but there's definitely a significant change and an obvious trend.

If you reached this point than thank you for reading and in case you find it useful please click the button at the top of the Blog so that others can benefit from it as well.

Success Key



Photo credits: Kts.

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Thank you very much and please let me know the importance of AR if you have time.


great tips thank you


Thanks for sharing, nice blog!


Very useful information, thank you!


Good advice and thank you.


Same here Dave, I had only 2 ages ago.
BTW - you have one of the best portfolios I've seen! :)


Great Blog, wish i could get a few more Editor's Choices !


nice written and makes all much sense - also like your portfolio - I agree to look after your AR and it does take a while to get the average up again - main thing for me is to actually keep it near 90% every month and with the time I will also get it up to 75% - sadly you can easily spoil it with the monthly competition though...


Thank you for your advices. It is very useful!:)


Good article. I experienced it myself through my own personal experience. I certify that this article useful. Thank you for your work


Thanks David - very flattering :)


This is best advice that I have read on the Dreamstime blog . I was so keen to make money from sales I damaged my AR when I joined in April 2009 and because the ARs are never reset to zero you carry the damage permanently with you. In the end even when your current hypothetical AR is 90% you just need to forget the actuality and put it down to experience.


Thank you very much guys, much appreciated! Follow these rules, since writing this Blog I'm already at 75.2% and counting :)


Thanks for keeping us on track! You have very nice photos in your portfolio!


You are right Sir, Some of I think my best photos were rejected in large Group. Now I am trying to upload my best only and sure increasing my AR. Your words are precious for many newbies like me. Thank you very much.


yes your words true small batch accepted always and long batch rejected maximum times and it's happens to me


Thank you for sharing knowledge, thank you.


Thanks for your generosity in sharing this information.


Very useful blog i now have a new goal to improve my AR


Glad you find it useful guys. Thanks.


What you say is very useful!


so so true......of my experience over the last 3 months since starting.....great article


Thanks for your kind words guys.
Clewisleake - as the search engine is combined by a lot of factors I can't really tell I noticed a clear uptick. I maintained pretty much the same amounts. Taking into consideration that my uploads amount dropped it might be wise to say that this AR did improved stats.


Ami thanks, very useful article, I wish the search engine approval rating sells formula was either disclosed or debunked by Dreamstime, have you noticed an uptick in sales with your shiny 90% approval rating?


Useful information that we all should heed, not just newbies. Well written Ami, thanks....BB

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