One year with DT, what I've learned!
WOW! It has been one year already! Many may just think of DT as being a place to earn money, but it is much more than that. When I began my DT membership, I submitted every other photo I had. The result: dozens of refusals. This opened my eyes up. I looked at my photos more carefully. The result: my previously favorite images were chucked because I saw how horrible they really were (uneven focus, bad comp, CA, noise, etc.). My photographic eye was developed to a much more mature level. This is one thing that is extremely important to know when building a portfolio:
Quality over Quantity
This is often stressed on DT forums and blogs. It is definitely true. I have seen tiny, but high quality portfolios that have over 10d. per image! On the flipside of that, I have seen portfolios that have hundreds of images, and only a couple dozen sales. Through my experience on here, I have learned that buyers want quality, not quantity. They want to find what they need as quickly as possible and as relevant as possible and as high quality as possible. They don't want to weed through irrelevant, junky results.
Although I am NOT an expert at this yet, I am learning what to look for when choosing an image to upload.
This brings me into my next point:
Choose which images to upload carefully.
As I mentioned above, my frenzy to upload images when I registered on DT resulted in numerous refusals and a poor acceptance ratio. I am still recovering from this poor acceptance ratio, and probably won't be back to a respectable acceptance ratio for a couple years. The next thing I'm going to talk about is directly related to this.
Use refusals as learning experiences.
When you get a refusal e-mail, or look at your refusals page after a batch of images has been reviewed, do just say, "Bummer. That didn't get accepted. Too bad." Notice that DT reviewers give you the reasons your image was refused. It is very helpful because with this, you can either fix the image and resubmit, or just learn from it and try to improve in the future.
I find that my refusals often carried a common theme. In my case, they were mostly, "Poor optical performance..." I used this to pinpoint the issue. I was using a budget P&S. I researched what CA, IS and all those other terms meant. Because DT refused my images due to "poor optical performance", I was able to learn what I needed to fix this. I purchased a DSLR and am currently working on upgrading my "arsenal" to high quality glass that has minimal CA, and fabulous sharpness. I appreciate the honest critique I get from DT that I could not easily get elsewhere. For that I will say, "Thanks for all of my refusals, DT!" :)
Reasons why I like DT
DT is great for a few different reasons. I like having my images online for friends, family, and other interested people to see, but they actually make money for me in the process.
As mentioned above, I actually appreciate the honest critique I get from the DT reviewers. It provides me with many more learning experiences.
I also like browsing others photos, and seeing what sells well, and looking at the photographic technique used in their photographs. It helps me improve my photography.
As I mentioned already, this is a way for me to make money off of my photos, and to possibly even get a little more public!
My past year on DT
Between February 22, 2009-2010, I have uploaded 60 photos and recieved 22 sales.
A very important thing to do is to SET GOALS. Here are my goals for February 22, 2011.
Hopefully you learned something from my experiences. This has definitely been an adventure, and I'm looking forward to the one ahead!
Here are my first and last (as I am writing this) photos:
Photo credits: Elimitchell.