Similar images - how to upload and how much is too much
Very often, good images are refused based on similarity issues. Contributors submit technically perfect (and usually sellable) images and get frustrated when they are refused.
Imagine a boy laughing photographed. One image should be enough, not ten of them. No matter if the photographer moved 2 meters to the left, the concept is still the same.
Similar images in Dreamstime's acceptance represent the content that fits a single concept, has small variations in composition OR model expression. Usually it's the kind of content where the designer/buyer can choose any image from that series without changing the visual message of his design.
This issue happens more often at studio images but applies for any kind of subject.
Price wise, this kind of series will generate a single credit sale and more subscription sales. Subscription buyers will download more images "just in case", although in the end they will use just one.
The more images you have on the same subject, the more difficult will be for the buyer to browse among them. Also, it will take way more time for an image to reach higher pricing levels. If you have 5 similars they will all require 25 downloads. Unless one image stands out, you will sell at a better royalty after 25 downloads, as opposed to 5. For the average contributor that's several months more.
Even if one image stands out, its sales will be eroded by the others.
Who wants to pay 14 credits for that image when they can get one for 5?
Be extremely self-selective:
1. Select the best shots to keep in your camera, delete the rest right from the shooting session
2. Once they're on your hard drive, select only the best shots and post-process them. Apply all your knowledge about their sales potential vs. concept, composition and lighting. Cut once and cut deep!
3. Select the best images from the enhanced ones and submit them.
4. Once the images are in your unfinished files, take a look at them at the thumbnail size. This is the most important step. It will show you the images just as the buyer sees them. They don't get to see the image at 100%, therefore remove all files that are not clean and sending their visual message FAST to the buyer.
After the steps above you should have 2-3 strong images for every 100 images you shoot on the same subject. Don't take these figures literally, photographers with good skills will shoot way less. Still, be very selective on what you submit. One exception we do encourage is to submit a portrait/landscape version.
VERY important: similar images used to pass review in the past, because they were submitted at similar dates. Do that only if you have a very strong image in your portfolio (a level 5) and submit only one more similar (or else you will just erode the popular one).
The review system takes into account similars uploaded in the past and the technique described above will bring you refusals. Submit all your similars in a single batch. Even if you're worried about seeing some refusals (ALL contributors receive them), at least the editor will be able to select the best ones.
- Read Andrei's article here for more on the same subject Similarity: Thin line between smart and excessive...
- Don't forget to play Stock Rank. Try to go over 75-80%. You'll play a lot. Ask yourself how many similars did you see.
Photo credits: Kirill Roslyakov.