How to deal with common rejections?

What do every contributors hates about stock photography? Yes that's right being your image rejected.

I have been on dreamstime as a contributors for about 3 years and during this period I have learned a lot about microstock, So I would like to share my experience with you about how do I deal with my rejections with the help of some examples?

First of all let me tell you never get disappointed with any rejection, mostly it proves to be helpful for you, (at least it does for me).

Lets start with some examples of photographs and later I will talk about illustrations

The image you see on the right was initially rejected for being too dull or you can say less contrast. Thanks to the RAW capability of the camera I have great control over post processing. So I reprocessed the image, increased contrast and sharpness resubmitted and yes it got approved. So most of the times the problem with rejections of photographs is that we don't process our RAW files properly and hence our images lack sharpness or color details due to less contrast, improving them a little will get your image approved.

This image on the left was rejected for containing the elements that can cause problems due to copyright issues. The reviewer asked me to remove those elements. Well I thought that if I remove those elements then the whole scene would look artificial. So I resubmitted the image without any changes but this time in the editorial section with the note to the reviewer explaining him why didn't remove those elements. I guess the reviewer agreed with me and he accepted this image for the editorial section. So try to remove any such elements which can cause copyright problems before submission, or send your image in the editorial section if you think it is worth it.

I hope I have addressed with some common rejection reasons of photographs now let me give you some examples of illustrations.

I guess illustrators are on an advantage as compared to photographers because they don't have to deal with the softness, noise, contrast, shadows and all such stuff. But sometimes illustrations get rejected too (well mine do). This illustration on the right was rejected because reviewer thought that I copied it from some place like magazine or CD cover and he asked me if I designed it myself. So yeah I explained him, dear this is my own design. (I guess at that time my portfolio didn't have good illustrations that's why he asked). So sometimes explaining your design helps the reviewer if there is a lot of material like yours.

The other reason illustrations are rejected is for being too simple. These two illustrations on left and right were rejected for this reason. So I improved them just a little and they got approved. I added light streaks on the left one. On the right one I did a little color adjustment and added some lines.

So at the end I will summarize it all.

For Photographs:

Take care of sharpness, contrast, if there is anything which can cause copyright problem try to remove before shooting and in post processing.

For illustrations:

If the reviewer asks you to add some more elements try to do it and resubmit, explain your idea and hopefully your illustration will get accepted.

And please don't get angry on the reviewers for rejecting your image. Think like a reviewer and you will notice a reduction in your rejections.

Photo credits: Artistashmita, Mrhighsky.

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January 16, 2014


Thanks for sharing, and I agree with you, its a learning experience.

January 14, 2014


I agree with David. I've learned so much from participating in MS. Learn from rejects and move on. Shoot more.

January 14, 2014


Its all true........................... if I say persisting here on DT amounts to a rapid course in photography I am not exaggerating ! David

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