Stock Image -vs- Snapshot

For the past couple of weeks, I have been slowly editing and keywording several images before uploading them here. These were images from two different caverns, one in Virginia and one in West Virginia.

I probably have about 100 photos between the two locations. Going through them, I found about 28 of which I deemed great! They were, to me, unique shots of interesting formations within the caverns. I thought to myself that these will definately be accepted! After uploading these images, I endured an 80+ hour wait period to see how they would fair.

This morning was the unveiling! There were 30 emails in my inbox, all from Dreamstime! The images had been reviewed! I hastily clicked into my inbox. To my dismay, I saw "Image Not Selected" over and over again. Twenty-seven out of 28 of the images had been rejected do to composition issues. What had gone wrong? I was so upset that I couldn't address it with myself this morning. I filed the emails away for later.

During downtime at work, I was able to go back into the thumbnails and review them. As I looked them over, I could clearly see why they were rejected.. and wanted to bang my head on the desk for being such a doofus! While the formations were nice formations and very interesting, the on-camera flash did not bounce well against them.

Many of my images contained clearly over-exposed areas do to the harsh flash, and under-exposure in areas do to it being a small flash. I was saddened at the loss of hours keywording all of those images, but I have learned a great lesson. When shooting a scene or editing an image, there are some key questions to ask oneself:

1) Will this make a good stock photo?

2) Would *I* buy this, or would it look better in a family/trip photo album?

3) Is the flash creating hot spots on the subject?

4) Is the white balance adjusted correctly?

5) Is there enough light to properly light/expose the subject and scene?

6) Can I, and should I, crop out those dark or bright edges?

So which cavern image won the 28-image competition? This one. :)

Photo credits: Teresa Kenney.

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[imgl]3933777[/imgl] Thank you for this honest and very useful post. I am just beginning to learn, and it is great to see that someone so successful had trouble in the beginning!


Sorry to hear about those 'not selected' messages. I know they're no fun.

BUT that is an amazing shot. Even if the others weren't accepted, this one stands on its own as a beautiful, almost painting-like, image.


Painters sometimes stand with their backs to the painting and look at the work over their shoulder in a mirror to get distance between themselves and their work. THis is the critical lesson that you have learned: to stand back and look at the work with an unbiased eye.

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