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Image Acceptance -- Designer POV

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Thank you for your comments. It is very helpful getting this type of input from a designer. The type of images that you are describing are similar to the types of shots that I often take, but I rarely submit these to stock agencies as they generally seem to lack commercial viability. Specifically regarding weeds, I've only submitted one photo to DT. It was accepted and is viewable in my port, but it unlikely meets your needs as it does not provide the close details of the plant and I honestly have no idea what kind of weed it is. I think another problem that we run into is that when the photographer doubts the marketability of an image, that less time is spent researching the best keywords for the image. This results in a self fulfilling prophecy and may make it less likely that this type of image will even be shot in the future.

After reading your post, I feel encouraged to submit more of these types of images (not just weeds, but everyday life shots) and also to spend more time researching the common and scientific names of the subjects. Thanks again for your input.
Posted: 07/23/2012, 10:11:21 AM
Geekonthewing, first of all, thanks for posting your opinion, we need to hear more from buyers, thats very important.

I think though, there is an incongruence on your request here.

Microstock is all about using the power of the internet to make a win-win situation.

Buyers pay cheap for their images, because photographers are selling them many times using the power of the exposure and the lack of logistics of the internet.

Now, this all makes sense for an image that will sell many times, and this happens because it has a generic application that can be used in several diferent contexts.

Specific niche oriented images sell, but they dont sell in large quantities, and thats why they are refused in microstock agencies, for this you would need to hire a professional, sorry, and ask him to do the specific work you need.

This doesnt mean that weeds with latin names arent going to sell, maybe they will, but it still would need to be well composed and graphically interesting images, using compositional tools to enhance the subject.

This is an example of a weed using the rule of thirds that looks nice.

It uses a side light to enhance the texture so you can have a glimpse of what it looks like in a 3d world and a small depth of field that brings attention to its middle and makes the image interesting.

   Green weed background   

What is missing here is the latin name of the weed, thats a good tip for us, thanks.
f/4L Canon EF 70-300mm IS/USM f/4-5.6 Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM/Macro ...
Posted: 07/23/2012, 15:52:19 PM
But, Alexandre, that example you have there is exactly what Richard said he doesn't want. Yes, it's attractive. Yes, it meets the rule of thirds requirement. But if he's simply trying to find an image of that weed to be used for practical purposes (e.g. weed identification) rather than design purposes, that image won't cut it. There are just too many things you can't see because of both the aperture and the close cropping. There is a place for both "attractive" images and more "practical" images, but DT's view seems to be very skewed toward attractiveness, almost to the point of exclusion it sometimes seems.
mm, Sigma 105 mm macro...
Posted: 07/24/2012, 10:14:17 AM

Originally posted by Geekonthewing:
Quoted Message: Wide shots lose detail when cropped post-exposure, and sometimes I want the detail. But sometimes, I want the wide shot to add text to. So if you want to make me happy, as a designer, offer me both versions of the same shot.

Unfortunately, at DT and elsewhere in the stock world, getting two shots that are so "similar" past the reviewers would be a very unlikely thing. As a designer, that makes no sense to me. If you give me a choice, it`s more likely that I`ll buy one or the other.

This is one huge issue I have with DT's policies for exactly the reasons you pointed out.

In addition to the wide vs. narrow submission rejections, there is also the problem of landscape vs. portrait rejections. It's become infrequent that you can have both a landscape view and a portrait view of the same subject. The rejection reason typically has to do with being able to crop one to get the other, neglecting the fact that that would severely restrict the pixel dimensions of one version. Plus, often if you have two orientations, each contains some area, however small, that the other doesn't that makes it a more attractive image.
mm, Sigma 105 mm macro...
Posted: 07/24/2012, 10:22:44 AM

Originally posted by Adpower99:
Quoted Message: But, Alexandre, that example you have there is exactly what Richard said he doesn`t want. Yes, it`s attractive. Yes, it meets the rule of thirds requirement. But if he`s simply trying to find an image of that weed to be used for practical purposes (e.g. weed identification) rather than design purposes, that image won`t cut it. There are just too many things you can`t see because of both the aperture and the close cropping. There is a place for both "attractive" images and more "practical" images, but DT`s view seems to be very skewed toward attractiveness, almost to the point of exclusion it sometimes seems.

Actually, that's pretty much the situation. The picture is definitely beautiful, and would be usable if I couldn't find another; but what would be ideal for me (assuming that I needed a picture of that particular weed) would be something more centered and stopped-down for greater DOF.

I started this thread with a weed example, but the principles hold through for other types of pics where customer identification is the reason for the picture's being there in the first place. Some other examples where I would need a centered, tight shot would include:

* Anything small and alive that my client's customers want dead (bugs and other critters, for example, if I'm building a pest control company site).

* Anything very small that my client may sell (chess pieces, etc.).

* Parts of things (nuts, bolts, pressure regulators, brackets, pipes and fittings, electrical parts, computer parts, cable connectors, and pretty much anything else where the visitor is trying to answer the age-old question, "Do you have one of these?").

* Broken and damaged things. You wouldn't believe how hard it was for me to get a licensable picture of a "bullet hole" in a windshield for a company that fixed them years ago, when the polymer method of doing so first came out. I needed one that showed the hole itself and the barely-visible cracks radiating from it. I finally went out with my client on a job and took three myself -- one before, one during, and one after the repair. But all I really needed was the "before" shot to let the client's visitors know that he could fix such a hole.

* Close-ups of things being assembled or built, for "how-to" kinds of sites. For example, a close-up of a video card being inserted into a motherboard that shows the keying on the card and the socket.

Please understand that I don't necessarily need any of the above shots now. They are things that I have needed, and have had a hard time finding, in the past.

I know photographers are creative people, because I'm also a photographer. And sometimes creative people don't want to compromise their artistic values. That's fine, if that's where you're at. But as a Web designer, I have to be a bit mercenary. My job is to get people to buy my clients' goods and services, and sometimes a shot needs to be more realistic and less artistic for that purpose.

Nikon D5100, Nikon L810
Posted: 07/24/2012, 10:45:55 AM
Thank you for intervening in the boards with this!
This is an always timely reminder of the fact that virtually anything can be photographed and then sold. For ex., it's probably way too often that I stop myself taking, or uploading, a pic of something so "everyday routine" or "ordinary"... should now keep in mind what I read here, and hope DT gets less strict in terms of artistry (and I don't mean compromising on the quality).
photos), Canon PS-A610 (rarely, very good at macro with ada...
Edited: 07/25/2012, 14:35:52 PM
Thanks. Please let me add one more category of pictures that I often need: Problems that need fixing.

A lot of service companies are in the business of fixing problems. And when building sites for them, I often need pictures of the problems. For example, during my career, I have searched for pictures of all of the following, with varying degrees of success:

* Clogged rain gutters
* Termite-damaged wood (also wood damaged by other insects or by moisture)
* Homes damaged by chimney fires and fires in general.
* Flat tires, overheating cars, dented cars, etc.
* Clogged toilets and drains.
* Damaged brickwork or masonry.
* Cracked sidewalks, and sidewalks pushed up and buckled by tree roots.
* Doors and windows broken into by burglars, and the insides of homes that were burglarized.
* Cigarette holes.
* Stains of all sorts in carpets or clothing.
* Moth holes.
* Scratched furniture.
* Burned-out electrical outlets.
* Flooded basements.
* Leaky pipes.
* Peeling paint.
* Dogs in serious need of some grooming.

Those are just a few that come to mind offhand, odd-ball sorts of pictures that are hard to find (legally, at least).

My point is that pretty much all service companies have Web sites these days, and they also need good images.

A lot of times, every page on a site will have a picture that kind of symbolizes and summarizes the page's content. I usually make the thumbs for these pics about 250px to 300px wide and put them on the upper right of the page, aligned with the top line of the first paragraph of text, opening into a bigger pic (usually 800px wide), faded in with JavaScript to fill the viewport. A picture much bigger than that would start causing problems in a 1024px-wide browser window.

Then there might be slightly smaller thumbs for sub-topics under the main page topic, or the concluding paragraph. So on a page for carpet maintenance, the picture selection might look like this:

Main picture (300 x 225): Visually striking picture of a shattered wine glass, and the wine staining the carpet.

Sub 1: A puppy in a puddle of pee, sitting on a carpet (150 x 113)
Sub 2: A frayed carpet (150 x 113)
Sub 3: A cigarette hole in a carpet (150 x 113)

Concluding paragraph: Carpet-cleaning crew at work (200 x 150)

The main picture should be visually striking, and summarize the page's content.

The sub pictures summarize the various kinds of specific problems the vendor solves.

The conclusion picture summarizes the solution.

This is only one way of doing things, mind you; but it's a pretty common one. The thing to notice is that there are more problem pictures needed than solution pictures. Why? Because there may be many problems, but the solution will always be the same: Call My Client.

Like I said, it's a bit mercenary. But the "com" in "dot-com" stands for "commercial." I'm trying to sell something. That's what it all gets down to in the end.

I hope I'm not getting too boring or annoying DT too much, lol. But I'm semi-retired now and have time to do things like write long-winded forum posts.

If I had to sum it up, though, I would say that a well-crafted picture of practically *anything* is salable, provided you title and keyword it such that the designer who needs it is able to find it. For every problem, there's someone who makes their living solving it; and for everyone who solves problems for a living, there's a designer trying to build an effective site for that business.

Nikon D5100, Nikon L810
Posted: 07/25/2012, 16:04:16 PM
I love getting photos of problems and everyday things :) For one thing, it is satisfying to recover some of the replacement cost of a broken object! Great advice...I notice that I tend to error on the side of too cropped, which you've addressed above.

   Broken screen   
   Furnace air filter closeup   
   Shattered glass   
ZD 50mm Macro f/2...
Edited: 07/25/2012, 19:19:49 PM
I may well be buying the top one, Brad. I have a deal for a rebuild on a computer repair shop's site that I'm trying to close, but the client's balking at my price. If I get the gig, that top image might just find its way on to the site.


Nikon D5100, Nikon L810
Posted: 07/25/2012, 20:06:04 PM
Geekonthewing...............You just gave me a world of new ideas, Thank-you very much !
All Images are Photographed with Nikon Cameras and Lenses.
Posted: 07/26/2012, 12:03:09 PM
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