Top 10 tips for new contributors

Congratulations on having your first images accepted at Dreamstime. Keep up the good work and many more to come!

To improve your future uploads and continue with a high approval rate, here are some tips based on our extensive experience in microstock imagery review. You will find below info on lighting, exposure, composition, legal documents and many more:

1. Composition has to always make your subject stand out in the image. Having the subject in the middle of your image will flatten it out as opposed to having the subject either in the first third or the last third of your photo. Have it like this and it will tell a story rather than just show a person or an object.

2. Say no to tilted horizons, make sure your image is straight before uploading it.

3. Expose your image so that you can tell what’s in the shadows as much as in the highlights; most modern cameras have pretty good evaluative metering. If lighting is harsh use your flash as a fill light but don’t use direct flash in a dark setting. It will create very defined shadows that usually don’t work well in stock photography.

4. Look at your image at 100% before you upload it. Check for anything that might be copyright: on shoes, on clothing, any logos, trademarks, company names.

5. Don’t go overboard with filters. They are tempting but they will mess with your image and you’ll end up with distorted pixels instead of cool colors.

6. Title and description as well as keywords must complement your image. Think of words that you’d use to search for this image and use them.

7. Use the most adequate ISO/exposure time/aperture value for your images. High ISO rating will lead to unwanted noise. Too wide apertures can lead to very shallow depth of fields, they are wanted in some images but not all of them.

* As a guideline keep your ISO rating between 100-400 (raise to more if needed, but for daylight photography or flash photography keep between the mentioned values).

* Aperture can start from 1.4 (or even lower) on high end lenses. Most lenses start between 2.8 and 4. An aperture of 5.6 is wide enough to get some depth of field and closed enough to get your subject in focus. Go to a higher, more closed number if needed. Just remember: the smaller the number the less of your image will be in focus, the higher the number the more of your image will be in the focus range.

* Time value is also very important. Go for a too long exposure and your image will turn into an unwanted motion blur. Stay over 1/125 whenever possible but go down to 1/60 if you have a steady hand and subjects that don’t move and even lower if your lens has stabilization. If you plan to shoot action then your exposure time needs to go down to 1/800 or so. This will ensure your subject is clear and in focus. Use AI Servo AF (Canon)/AF-C (Nikon), this is the continuous focus mode for action shots. It will track your subject when shooting action making sure the focus stays on the subject and doesn’t slip elsewhere in your composition. Remember, the higher the second number is the faster the shutter will close, the less the image will be exposed and the more chances to have your subject in focus. But use the right exposure setting for the kind of images you aim to shoot (no point using 1/800 if the subject is sitting on a chair)

8. Make sure you have a model release for all your people images (even if their back is at the camera or only part of the face is visible). You can download out template here or use a generic one but ensure all required fields are there: resources/utilities.

9. Always shoot RAW or at least maximum quality JPG and always save at maximum quality possible. Also, avoid upsampling of your images.

10 For illustrations, avoid aliased/jagged issues. Use an anti-alias filter before you export your vector/3D images to a raster format (jpeg) and also avoid blurry images by always saving them at maximum quality without upsizing or interpolation by software.

Hope you’ll find these helpful and we’re looking forward to your future submissions. Good luck!

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Photo credits: Mariayunira.

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Тhank you! ))


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very helpful Ioanathank you:)


Thanks for the tips I’m sure they will help me!


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Thank you for your cooperation and information given to me


Thank you for being the best for me. I will fix everything as much as possible, because the camera that I have may be outdated. Continue to maximize my work for the future


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Thanx! It's realy work!


Obhart, blurring can lead to an unnatural look, you should remove them using cloning tools for a better outcome.


Hi, if the logos or trademarks appear on my photo shall i blur them i they are small but present?


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Very very useful tips! They are all guiding me in my everyday projects. Thanks a lot.


Благодаря, госпожо!

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