I've been using Dreamstime as a designer for about a year, but I recently decided to try to contribute, too. Boy, was I in for a surprise! What I considered the "best photo I've ever taken" got rejected. I almost stopped right there, but instead I went through a bunch of my old photos to see if I had anything that would make a better stock photo.
I just found out that two of those photos were approved! But of a large batch, most were rejected. (Thankfully most of them have problems that are fixable with Photoshop). I never realized how hard this was. I have so much respect for all you photographers out there who have dozens of awesome images in your portfolios!
Welcome Erica and yes it can be a steep learning curve.
I'll tell you a little secret on how to get to grips with and become a stock photographer...... read all the blogs, read the forum posts. These areas are full of information, problems and issues people have faced over the years and how they solved them, ideas on what to shot and what not to shoot, learn about concepts.
If you get stuck with anything it's always worth searching the forum and blogs first, if this fails to give an answer then please feel free to ask questions in the relevant forum area.
All the best building your stock portfolio :)
Canon L 28-300, Canon L 24-70, 50mm prime f/1.4, 2 x Canon 580EX II F...
Erica, it might be tough at first, but it will help you improve your photography.
Before some other people come here and say that, and I know they will, concepts sells, just mark my words
So I wont focus on that, because somebody else will :), and tell you some technical stuff.
When you are shooting, look the whole viewfinder, every corner, before pressing the shutter button, its much easier to get rid of that extras that shouldnt be there when you are shooting (an arm, a head,...) than later in photoshop.
Before uploading, check for the basics, horizon aligned, dust spots, etc, get rid of what shouldnt be in the image with photoshop, garbage cans, dirty in the grass, whatever.
Think about what your image is about and find some ways to emphasize it, darken uninsteresting areas, unsharp them, balance the light between the sky and the grounds, all you can do to make your image spark.
If the image is unsharp, you might try to decrease resolution down to 3Mpixels, the minimum, if it is stil unsharp (check at 100%), dont upload it.
Congrats on getting two photos up! The above information is excellent to follow, as well as don't be discouraged. Working for a stock photography company makes you work harder and excel more because of the high standards and competition. It is a steep learning curve, but one that will make you grow a as photographer! Good luck on here : )