Reasons for refusals

Accept and Decline concept on the black keyboard, 3D rendering

Many of our community members have found it difficult to accurately comprehend the reasons for refusal when they received the rejection notification and wondered what to do in order to comply with the Dreamstime criteria.

Given our wish to prevent further disappointment and frustration for our photographers and illustrators due to refusals, here is a brief, but hopefully useful set of specific and often encountered reasons backed by images.

These are mostly technical reasons. Along with them, don't forget to keep in mind: - always submit a model release if your image includes people

- assign as editorial images that are newsworthy or have stock value but include unremovable logos (i.e. Times Square in New York)

- avoid submitting images without stock value. Read various sections of the site and browse its database to see what subjects sell, composition hints, lighting, etc. Remember you are supposed to make photos not just take them!

- don't submit images of very common subjects such as flowers or still life, until you made a proper research of the database AND are able to submit better quality than the popular images on the same subject

- be very selective, avoid submitting too many similar images; this will help you sell at a higher price, avoiding download dillution; you can submit more similars later, whenever a subject becomes popular.

Distorted pixels - Lens problems

I shall first point out a frequent problem that is mostly related to the fast development of the digital market. It is the pixel distortion, generated by a wide set of causes, many of them being of technical nature, such as cheap sensor, cheap lens, poor lighting condisions that demand more that the sensor could give, excessive post-processing, also.

Distorted pixels - Lens fringing

Distorted pixels - Slide scan

In order to avoid any misinterpretation of an image as "interpolated", scanning the image at the best optical resolution is the best solution.


One other major reason is the noise, mostly related to high iso, underexposure, long exposures (especially at high iso, restricted) and over-processing.

Low light

Another problem is underexposure and overexposure, respectively. Fairly easy to correct by finding a medium value of exposure, an average value, in case the camera does not have automatic exposure control (in most cases they do).


Poor lighting

While still on the lighting issue, the most common problem when shooting objects and still lifes is the poor light setting.

White Balance

An important and also common error is the incorrect white balance setting - slide photographers, for example know how tragic an indoor shooting using a daylight film or vice-versa may end up.

Out of Focus

When doing macro, a powerful light set is necessary in order to be able to shoot at a high speed, as well as a tripod, since one must prevent any camera or subject movement. Any motion blur could lead to an "OUT OF FOCUS" refusal.

Lack of composition

A major factor in producing a good image, regardless of media, is the composition. It involves or points out, if not entirely create the message. Composition is also closely related to concept.

Over filtered

One of the most important steps in image creation is, of course, the postprocessing. Poor background removal and overfiltering are the most frequent problems that eventually disqualify an image. Proficient knowledge of Photoshop, for example, is not in everyone's reach, and most users tend to make an image look striking on a thumbnail size, but when an editor opens the file at 100% and sees all sorts of distortions, excesses, etc., the image is refused for noise, pixel distortion or overfiltering, although it had, as a raw file, great sales potential.

Poor background removal

I hope this brief explanation will help many emerging photographers get better results and sell more; so, work more, learn more and pay more attention to details.

Photo credits: Alexlmx.

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July 22, 2020


Illustrative explanations with examples.

June 24, 2020


Thank you for this explications..that will help to win both time and effort

June 23, 2020


good to know these things

June 09, 2020


Thanks for the help.. 

May 22, 2020


Learning never stop,so i will continue to keep on learning from this is an eye opening ideas to get all this advice and work with it.

May 15, 2020


I am new in this field but excited to learn further proceed as per your valuable guidance. Thanks for showing right paths

May 11, 2020


Hii I'm new in this site. this is awesome site.

May 10, 2020


thank you for information.

May 05, 2020


nThanks for the detailed explanation ~~ very responsiblen

May 02, 2020


Ok thank you for given information 

April 28, 2020


Hi, i'm new hereMy images are refused. So i can sell them in another website, right? 

April 22, 2020


Hello, I am new here as a contributor. I submit some photos and my work . all r approved. but how i check they all r online and ready to sell. and what is mange license i cant understand. plz reply

April 01, 2020


Thnx for the brief description.... Love dreamstime....

March 23, 2020


I am very happy to be associated with dreamstime community, Lots of things to learn. I am observing the team dramstime is very responsible, and reciprocate in sense. It's much inspiring for me .

March 14, 2020


Im new and excited. Can't wait to earn fun

January 27, 2020


Well explained article that drives me into these chattered Waters .

January 14, 2020


tulismentar Anda di siniHello Admin thank you for tip. Any other way from this application photografer can deal with costumer directly? Thank you

January 13, 2020


Hii I'm new in  this site . Plz what i do next steps 

January 13, 2020


I m a new here n on this platform what to do where to do  but still learn 

November 29, 2019


Hi. I am new here. I do however, do alot graphic design. I don't do it professionally. I am in animal rights activism and create alot of awareness photos and use Photoshop. I also take alot of pictures but am not using a professional camera. I am using my Samsung note 8 phone... for now. Can you tell me what the correct size would be to make it in Photoshop before submitting it? Thanks so much. 

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