Series of mistakes drops acceptance average

Hopefully my experience will help others here on Dreamstime not make the same mistakes I have made during the past month. This is not a critique about DT, it is to help others not make same mistakes.

Prior to this month, I had submitted roughly 500 images with an acceptance rate above 85%. Most of my images were wildlife related.

This month, I decided to expand my portfolio with other types of images. My first mistake was uploading about 20 butterfly and insect images. All were rejected; generally speaking, these images do not sell well and DT is overstocked with this type of image. That mistake cost me about 3% points on my average.

I also decided to upload some people type images. I first uploaded a couple images; one of a man throwing a net from the back, rejected-must have model release even if can not see face. Another of a man silhouletted while fishing, rejected-must have model release even if can not see face. I uploaded a couple images of farm equipment (like a tractor) but it was rejected because someone was driving (could not see him but it was moving so it was obvious someone was driving)-must have model release

Thinking I had learned my lesson, I downloaded a universal model release. I am working in Russia so I also downloaded a Russian version of this model release. I uploaded another mess of images and attached these executed model releases. If a model release is not in English, I have learned it must be the Dreamstime model release, no other. Another mess of rejections and another hit on my acceptance ratio. Must also have a phone number-many of these farm workers do not have phones, not sure how to satisfy that requirement.

Then, my last attempt, I uploaded an image with a complete model release but it was rejected because I was the witness. Not allowed, must be witnessed by person other than photographer or model.

Please do not think I am being critical of DT; I am not. My desire is to help others not make the same costly mistakes I have made this month. Because of my mistakes, my acceptance ratio has dropped below 80% (79.4%) and it will take some time to return to its former state.

I do want to encourage others to branch into new areas. Do not get tunnel vision and do try new photographic techniques. It may result in higher rejections but we can use it as a learning tool.

I like images of wildlife in natural setting but at times, buyers want images in human surroundings; I decided to include some of these also, in my portfolio

And lastly, a couple images that I do not usually shoot, but who knows, maybe someone needs them for an illustration or publication. Happy shooting to all!!

Photo credits: Moose Henderson.

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Thanks again John for sharing your learning's and experiences here on Dreamstime, as I find it very useful as I try to grow my portfolio and knowledge of stock photography. Not in the same league as you for AR, but am certainly looking to work towards those types of numbers!


pretty sure you cant post a image unless it is a accepted one hosted here on DT.




problem posting images in the comments.


the image I am trying to post is accepted one in the portfolio.


what if the photographer do a self portrait, do the phtgrher need to submit a MR. if so, how to go about filling it (MR).

great blog. thanks for sharing. very informitive.


Thanks for sharing your experiences!! Probably most of us have had similar but different experiences. Jumping into the cold water instead of just sticking one toe in carefully until we know the temperature. After reading your blog, I consider myself lucky as I have a butterfly that wasn't on Putin's nose that was accepted and that has sold more than once (submitted much earlier in time). How is Russia going?


Thanks for your advise. I wish I read this a long time ago. I have learn the same way, but I never thought to make a blog out of this experiences. Regards.


I would not take to heart any photo that was refused because "not what we are looking for" "not accepting" and so forth Martin. Dont mean the photos were bad,im sure they were very good, and it would be no reflection on your work with those reasons. I think what gets us is that "how would we know day to day what is being accepted or looked for". Things change that quick. I dont think these type of photo reasons should be held against us but thats the way it is. So we go with the flow.


Martin, I did that but received the rejection reply, not accepting butterfly images. (Period) That attempt cost me three more rejections. It is a bit painful but I am learning. As a professional photographer, I take my rejection average very seriously but it is also a tool to help us learn and also just the judgment of editors at one agency.


John, if you have a (very good offcourse ;) ) picture of a species that is not yet online, you might want to write a short message in the 'comment for editor' box. It might help ;)


I just remembered, I have a few routine images in my portfolio that I would not have expected to have sold, but they have. Each of these have sold twice.

This yacht has sold three times.

All these have been on DT less than six months; see what ordinary images can do to our bank account. Sure, most sold as subscriptions but money is money!!

Well, I see the images are not showing; maybe we are not allowed to post images as part of a thread comment.


Wisconsinart, thought about that also. One major problem I had was misunderstanding the rejection. For the Butterflies, I first got rejected because they were well represented. I thought, if I do a little research and put the common names and the scientific names, search the DT database and make sure there are none or very few of that species, them they will be accepted. WRONG. Two of my butterfly species have a grand total of zero species in the DT database, still rejected. Moral of story: even if you are working in an area never covered by a photographer with DT; does not matter, no butterfly photos unless they happen to be on Vladmir Putin's nose-but then you must have a model release or submit as editorial.


One trick is to leave the images in the unfinished area and submit them one at a time if you have a series of images you're not sure about.


I got up to 59.6 AR but now on 59.1 It gets more difficult because of the fact that even when an image is technically OK the Editors may say it needs to be better than what we've got already. So joining in 2005 was a definite advantage because these folk already have a large on-line portfolio.


Funny story that shows your patience :))
Thanks for the advise! I love your wild life shots! Good luck :)


LOOL that was fun!!! :)) "it was rejected because someone was driving (could not see him but it was moving so it was obvious someone was driving)"
And I'm having fun with my 44.6% AR, so don't worry and learn from your mistakes ;)


Thanks for sharing your experience with us! Getting in touch with new areas of photography is always challenging - but it's the best way of learning.


Useful article. I wish I had read something like this, when I first started. :-)

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