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New - needing advice on images before submitting first photos


I'm completely new to stock photography. I took photography as a second 'major' at art school over 20 years ago. I spent hours and hours in the darkroom. Have been working as an artist ever since and kept taking photos. I have only just begun shooting in RAW and using LR5, so am very new to digital processing.

I'm using a NikonD3200 with the lenses which came in the box - 18-55mm and 55-200mm. I also bought Rob Sylvan's "Taking Stock" and Scott Kelby's "Lightroom 5" books.

My concern is that when I zoom in, the images are very soft and anything I submit will be rejected on that fault alone. I have uploaded 8 pictures to a Flickr set in the hope that someone here is able to give some advice on how to get crisper images.

6 out of the 8 were taken RAW, while 2 (frangipani and dancer) were only taken as jpegs at medium resolution - from now on, I'll always shoot raw. The paintbox and sketching shots were taken with a tripod and remote shutter release - they still don't look clear to me. :(

I'm aware that the subject matter is probably not suitable to submit, since it is quite common, but I plan on shooting specifically for stock. So - these are not the images which I will be submitting for my first approval. I'm just wanting to know how to improve for the upcoming shoots.

Here is the link Flickr set

Many thanks in advance.
Posted: 02/03/2014, 16:47:21 PM
I can't open the link...
Posted: 02/04/2014, 12:22:55 PM
Hi Preslav,
thanks for replying. I'm copying the link without making it into a link this time.


Sorry! I did check it before posting and its still working for me.

Any help appreciated
Posted: 02/04/2014, 14:50:48 PM
It is very hard for anyone here to tell what photos will be accepted. I would choose your best 5 out of the 8 and upload them. Don't be afraid to get a few rejections. The reviewer will send you a email with reason(s) for rejection. Learn from them and move on.

That said, when ever I acquire a new camera, the first thing I do is read the manual front to back. Then I will take the camera and manual and start shooting step by step through the manual to learn the settings and limitations of the camera.

Good Luck here at Dreamstime and start uploading!
70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD Lens, and Sony SAL1855 3.5-5.6/18-55 SAM Lens...
Posted: 02/04/2014, 16:14:13 PM
DT has changed its policies and will accept virtually anything that is technically correct. "Technically correct" is a matter of interpretation by the reviewer. I've had trouble in the past with abstract concepts when they were reviewed by those who were studio/portrait photographers. Commercial oriented images will always sell better but I have a few abstracts that by themselves have paid a few bills. So you never know.

Like I said, they're accepting just about anything now as long as there is no noise, etc. soft images are fine if it works for that image (but still at the mercy of "subjective").

Many Contributors fail at getting images accepted. Of those who make it past the Reviewers, many fail at uploading images that will sell. If you've been an artist for 20 years then you should know the difference between what you prefer to do versus what sells.
Nikon D800, D100, Canon G15
Posted: 02/05/2014, 06:59:21 AM
It's a bit hard to understand the problem only looking at your images. I have some suggestions:

1) check your camera and lens;

2) learn something more about "deep of field";

3) carefully follow submission rules, checking your images at 100% size; look at this page https://www.dreamstime.com/photography-article-2

4) if some part of the image is intentionally unfocused for creating an effect, inform the reviewer in the provided box (submission page).

Hope I was helpful.
Not so important.
Posted: 02/05/2014, 10:42:55 AM
Take the following as an example:

The image has been shot with a tele, no way to have more deep of field in that conditions of poor light, so the background wolf is out of focus, but the foreground wolf is in focus. The image has been refused in a first time, so I resubmitted specifying that the foreground was OK. The image has been approved and has been sold 26 times.
Not so important.
Posted: 02/05/2014, 10:58:55 AM
thanks everyone for taking the time to answer
Posted: 02/05/2014, 20:33:39 PM
The dancer is shot at 0.3s without flash? With a slow moving subject you'll still need much faster than that to get a clear shot. Lovely shot for lots of uses, but not for review at 100%... Flash solves the problem, but you should be able to get sharp shots in natural light at 1/100s or so, maybe bump up ISO a bit.

Definitely agree that they are not sharp enough where the focus point is... You should be able to get very sharp images - this is with smaller sensor camera (but with flash): http://www.flickr.com/photos/shuswapheroshot/9019238444/sizes/o/
ZD 50mm Macro f/2...
Edited: 02/06/2014, 19:49:52 PM
Thanks Bradcalkins - that is the kind of comparison I was after.
Posted: 02/06/2014, 22:58:37 PM
DT has a free section, I'd recommend you take a look at a few images from there to get a sense of what kind of work is online here. Keep in mind that many of the shots in the free section are either ones that didn't sell after a few years, or were donated when they weren't approved - but many are from a series that WAS approved. Bottom line, I'd want to up my game over what is in the free section! When I look at them over half I would consider not good enough these days to submit. Still, not a bad idea to get a feel for the quality of images in the free pile, to get you where you need to be.


ZD 50mm Macro f/2...
Posted: 02/07/2014, 13:53:44 PM