Stock sites and the varied criteria

A couple of years ago it was suggested to me by a mate that I should try my luck by uploading to stock sites such as Dreamstime.

At first I felt rather sceptical about things as I wasn't really too sure what 'stock' actually meant. Not too sure if I do now... but that's beside the piont! So, it took me a while to put this idea to test.

Once I got over that I keyed in the address of the stock site suggested and did a thorough read-up and all the info they had available:

- What stock is all about

- what conditions are set

- who is actually eligable

- anyway -- etc etc etc!

I plugged up some courage and took the plunge. At first it wasn't easy - taking many a round until I finally got accepted as a contributor so I could start uploading images to my spanking new, and very empty, portfolio. And for a long time I just stuck to this one stock site, not really realising that there are hundreds more one could contribute too.

Slowly my portfolio began to build up and with renewed confidence I decided to search out other sites.... thus I found Dreamstime. Again it took me a while till I managed to get accepted as a contributor here but accepted I was! I now have a paltry 17 files in my portfolio, but hopefully and even if slowly, it will increase as I get used to the quality and types of images required.

What I have noticed, however, is that different stock sites have very different criteria as to what is acceptable in an image for inclusion on the site. I have files which were refused here accepted on other sites and vice versa - files accepted here refused on other sites.

All sites strive for high quality and professional work, that I understand well enough and I consider myself luck to have files accepted seeing as I am but a hobbyist photographer. Also, images are scrutinised by humans and each person perceives an image in a different way, but I get the impression that while not sacrificing quality there is still a big difference in what is given higher technical priority between the different sites.

I'm curious to hear any comments from others about this..


Photo credits: Lupideloop.

Your article must be written in English

August 11, 2009


Great blog.

August 10, 2009


I'm glad to discover that it is not I who is imagining the difference between stock sites. Cheers for your replies peeps!

What I have noticed though is that some sites are more tolerant towards post-processing as long as the result is usable, while others seek more 'sterile' (so to speak and for want of a better word - I definitely do not mean that these sites try to stifle imagination) images.

August 10, 2009


Well its like paying football under different European clubs and under different coach and managers. Just play your shots well and end up scoring on each shot no mater which club, which coach or which manager, the only thing counts is how much score.

August 09, 2009


I too have wondered how the process of selection works , but have realized its not the numbers uploaded , although that helps the odds, its rather if the image is a good selling one. I look at submitters numbers uploaded verses sales. There are a few with just a few images but high numbers of sales. Thats what we need to strive for.

August 09, 2009


so true! I submit to 4 sites and I'm only coming to terms with the rejections now - i always confused me how 1 image that sells almost everyday on one site is not accepted on another .. I'm sure they know what they are doing and I guess they know their customers best! :) so i accept it and upload others :)

August 09, 2009


I would certainly agree with you that different microstock companies have different criteria. I contribute to 3. Whereas Dreamstime will accept beautiful landscapes, at least one of the others will not. One likes 'backgrounds' for compositing - textures of fabric, rust, natural things; another likes objects isolated on white especially. One site will reject images for 'poor lighting' if the shadows are strong (and I'm not talking about those horrible harsh shadows from on-camera flash). Another has a leaning towards very high key images of people, whereas at least one company regards too much bright light as a technical error. One accepts signs on stores, streets, etc; another regards these as an infringement of copyright. One likes arty stuff; another regards this as unsaleable as stock. One is happy to accept images with a strong color cast (deliberately manipulated, of course!); another rejects these as 'color balance may be incorrect'. One company wants as few keywords as possible, whereas DT wants as many as possible.

It's all a game and we, as the players, must try to play by whatever rules are required by a particular company. I've learned to enjoy the challenge, even though it can be frustrating at times! Only by continually uploading a variety of images can we learn what those criteria are. Good luck, Lupideloop!

Related image searches
Stock related image searches