Increasing Acceptance Level - Dreamstime

I started with Dreamstime in July 2011. After years of putting serious photography on the back burner as we raised our son, the purchase of my first serious digital camera lead me to micro-stock and the possibilities of turning a passion into income.

At first my acceptance rate was abysmal - somewhere in 30% range. But by September my acceptance rate jump to 50% and kept climbing all the while my output increased. This month I had a personal record number uploads (over 90) and enjoyed an acceptance rate of 70%. I'm also up to over 600 images in my portfolio.

I don't keep a log or diary of everything I've done since starting to shoot microstock but think the following things have effected my learning curve. Some of these things are equipment base and others are simply learning the craft.

Lightroom 3 - In Sept I purchased Lightroom 3 and learned how to use it to tweak my images.

Shooting RAW - Shooting RAW files had an big impact on the control of my images

Learning to Shoot Stock - Basically just taking the time to look through the Dreamstime database and blogs to learn how to "see" stock photos.

Upgrading my lens - I ditched the kit lens when it seemed to be the cause of many rejects.

Read - I read Scott Kelly's book on Lightroom 3, Microstock Money Shots and Taking Stock as well as plenty of magazines and online blogs. Thanks Lately I've read "Food Photography" by Nicole S. Young which is an excellent book on setting up and shooting food shots. I've also collected some of my favorite microstock tips on a blog.

The other big change I've made lately, mostly due to the weather, is that I've been creating more images rather than searching for them. Over the summer I was taking trips looking for scenes that might sell as stock. Since the cold weather has set in, I've been creating a lot more images in the studio.

So in summary I think the trick to increased acceptance level comes from using good equipment, learning your workflow in processing images and learning to see stock images.

There is a learning curve, how long it take you to move up the curve depends your individual effort. The more you shoot, the faster you'll learn.

Some of my latest food photos:

Photo credits: Peanutroaster.

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February 20, 2012


Thanks, I used some of your work on my blog named relatieproblemen. It's a dutch site but I'm sure images speak for itself. :)

February 17, 2012


Wow, beautiful food! Useful blog, thanks for your sharing!I wish you good luck!

February 04, 2012


Thank you for sharing..
like your photos..:)

February 04, 2012


Thank you for you tips and congratulations for your portfolio !

February 03, 2012


thanks for the tips! our food work is gorgeous, can't wait to check out the rest of your portfolio :)

February 03, 2012


Thank you for sharing .

February 02, 2012


Browsed through your blog. Like it very much.

February 02, 2012


Great article!

February 02, 2012


Good blog post, as always.

February 01, 2012


like your photos. Thanks for sharing.

January 31, 2012


Calyx22 - thanks, I started using some old wooden boxes in some of my still lifes. I found it help me create boundaries and something to frame the composition. At least it provides some kind on constraint to work in. The pecan shot does't show the box but its there. That food book is only $15 on Amazon. Its a great investment.

January 31, 2012


I completely agree with you that taking control of your situation can help immensely. I'm very interested in the food book, I might have to purchase that one. Your pecan image is really great! The lighting on the shelled pecan is awesome. I need to work on creation myself. Thanks for reminding me I need a kick start on this. Good luck with all of your food images! PS I love LR 3.

January 31, 2012


Thanks for sharing, congratulations!

January 30, 2012


Some very good tips.

January 30, 2012


Well done, I guess you over come the learning process... Congratulations.

January 30, 2012


Very good points. I'm fairly new as well, and appreciate the book tip. One other tip I would add is to brush up on Photoshop skills that can bump images up a notch.

January 30, 2012


thanks for sharing your insights...useful blog!

January 30, 2012


Scott is an excellent writer with a very specific sense of humor! I have two of his books and I learned a lot from them.

January 30, 2012


My acceptance ratio always drops down a bit when I try to shoot a new subject. Experimentations don't come unnoticed for my acceptance ratio, but they are well worth it when at the end I find my way to shoot something new and expand my portfolio.

January 30, 2012


Hi Ed, I also have read both books you mentioned in your blog. I think Scott is definitely my favourite guru on Adobe. He is funny, easy to read and his explanations are easy to follow. I can't imagine working without Lightroom 3 now. I only read the book by N.S. Young recently as i just got it for Christmas (it was on my wish list for a long time!). It is a brilliant book and I would recommend it to everyone who has problems with studio light settings. Since I read this book my acceptance rate has improved immensely. It was also that book that convinced me finally about the advantages of shooting in RAW. How silly of me to hesitate for such a long time! Well, better late than never!

I like your recent photos, by the way! Ewapix

January 30, 2012


Thanks Hong. I try not to dwell on stats too much. If I let the portfolio sit and peculate, the sales per image numbers would increase but I'd rather keep building up the total number.

January 30, 2012


Well done Ed, keep the portfolio rolling I m sure the sale will out beat your upload soon. I'm on my 600 upload target too hope to archive it by end of this month. Still have 6 more to go and cross my finger there are 9 more picture pending in the list.

January 30, 2012



I think the biggest mistake that most new members make is that they upload everything they shoot and hope that some will get approved.

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