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Top 5 Reasons Photos are Rejected by Stock Photography Sites & How to Avoid Them

written by: Larry M. Lynch•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/10/2009

Are you interested in stock photography? It's a great way for digital photographers of almost any level to generate a steady, passive income. You have the equipment, the desire and knowledge of where to submit, now avoid your biggest potential problem - photo rejection.

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    Stock Photography Websites

    There are more than 300 stock photography websites and agencies where you might upload and sell your best digital images. Stock photography appeals to virtually every photographer at some point. Why? Well, it’s the principle of taking the digital image once, uploading it and selling it repeatedly almost forever. It’s almost like getting “money for nothing", so to speak. Who wouldn’t want a continual stream of funds going into their bank account without having to do anything to get it? But there’s a pig in paradise as they say. All uploaded photos are not accepted by stock photo websites. Perhaps you have felt the pangs of rejection from photos you uploaded with high hopes. This need not happen any more. As an aid in reducing the number of submitted digital photographs which are ultimately rejected for cause by stock photo agencies and websites, keep these five key digital image aspects in mind as they are often the most crucial to the acceptance of a photographer’s stock image submissions.

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    The Five Most Frequent Causes of Digital Image Rejection

    Here are the five most frequent causes of digital image rejection by stock photo websites:

    1. Out of Focus Images

    IMG 7188 Care must be taken when shooting stock photo images, that the image focus is the best it can be - razor sharp if possible. Several techniques for holding a camera steady should be practiced by any photographer looking to use stock photography as a source of income.

    Tip: Use care in focusing and be sure to focus right before shooting if you tend to move the camera or strictly use auto-focus. Use a tripod or other camera-stabilizing device whenever possible to help eliminate camera shake. Fast shutter speeds and a smaller aperture will also help some.

    (Click any image for a larger view)

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    2. Dull, Lack-luster or Washed Out Colors

    Cali Orchid show Nov 2005 034 Not having vibrant colors can be fatal. Go for the greatest natural color saturation that you can when shooting stock photo digital images. This can be a critical factor in the acceptance or rejection of an image or group of images. Images taken in bright sunlight tend to have more vibrant colors and more intense color saturation than images taken on cloudy, overcast days or even in open shade.

    Tip: Faded, dull colors often mean a lack of sufficient lighting in the photograph. You can use photo editing software for a bit of a boost, but some stock photography websites do not allow excessive editing of images. Be sure to make optimum use of lighting when shooting images. If there's not enough, try flash if possible or create a silhouette image using available light. You might up the ISO setting for a better-exposed image or toggle the aperture to a wider setting. A slower shutter speed will also "shed more light" on the subject. While you’re at it, check the white balance too.

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    3. Poor Digital Image Composition

    BADD Shebs bikini body IMG 6028 If you’re not going to work at good photographic composition techniques, then why bother shooting photographs at all? Elements of good composition are a key aspect which separate mere “snapshots" from professional-level digital images which are usable and salable on the World Wide Web. Learn and use the “rule of thirds" and other techniques of good photographic composition. It is the lifeblood of unique, high-impact digital imagery and a true money-maker for digital photographers.

    Tip: Use the "rule of thirds" to keep the horizon or subject in an interesting, eye-pleasing arrangement. Watch for protruding objects coming out of people's heads or body. Keep an eye on background elements which may spoil the composition or distract from the image's impact.

    Please continue on to page two, where you will learn additional tips on taking photos for stock photography websites.

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    On page two of this Photography Tips article, you'll learn additional tips on how to sell your photos on stock photography sites and the reasons why your photos may be rejected.
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    4. Carelessness with Depth of Field

    Hand made Fishing Lure photos 600 Especially at close range, wide open apertures and macro photography, you’ll need to be critically aware of what is or is not in focus in your digital images. If you’re not careful with this, most good stock photo agencies and websites will flat out reject your batch of digital images forthwith. Take some time to learn about and experiment with depth of field with your digital camera. It’ll be a most useful and important technique for generating money from the sale of your digital images.

    Tip: To get better control of depth of field, always shoot with the smallest aperture that you can and focus on the center subject of a group which extends from front to rear. Your camera manual might also feature depth of field data under focus and settings for your camera make and model, so it’s worth checking out. Additionally, you can try editing your photos to include depth of field.

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    5. Boring Black and White Digital Image Tones

    Yes, there is a market for digital images captured in black and white. Many subjects and themes actually cry out for B/W treatment. The trick here though is to have a good range of tones from full black through grays to stark white in the well-composed digital image. If you haven’t explored the realm of digital black and white photography as yet, you owe it to yourself to give this exciting, unique aspect of your image-taking a shot. With black and white picture-taking, tones replace color as a key compositional consideration. Form, flow, movement and image impact now become paramount to successful imagery. Shooting in black and white is an excellent exercise for development of compositional skills and I’d highly recommend it.

    Tip: Black and white digital photography is in a class of its own. If you need a short course or practice with taking black and white digital images, then get to it. The potential rewards can be well worth the effort on your part. There are several ways of shooting in black and white including using photo editing software, to accomplish some effects. Then too, why not look into some “Tutorials to Make Advanced Photography Simple"?

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    Master These Major Causes of Stock Photo Image Rejection

    For successful stock image photography, if you master these five key digital image–taking aspects in your photography, you will certainly minimize or even virtually eliminate these as causes for rejection of uploaded digital images to stock photo web sites and boost your earnings from stock photography. The more attention-grabbing stock photos you have uploaded and for sale, the greater your potential earnings will be. Don't let these five most frequent causes of stock photography digital image rejection take a bite out of your potential earnings. Master these tips and techniques, and you can be well on your way to a proven income stream that requires no more work on your part besides going to the bank to pick up your money. You can do that now, can't you?






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