Submitting the first batch of photos to microstock sites
A lot of people that are new to stock photography are joining microstock sites every day and when they submit their first batch of photos for reviewing they usually get rejected. Therefore, they are getting discouraged and don’t submit photos anymore. I was also rejected from some agencies and I had to wait three months in order to submit new batch of photos. I’m grateful that I got rejected because I learned a lot in those three months and now I get less and less rejections. In order to make the process of submitting the photos less painful you should follow these guidelines.
- Read the camera user’s manual and know your camera like your back pocket. Maybe it sounds silly but lot’s of people don’t read the manuals and then ask what’s this or that. I know that you are excited for your new camera and want to take pictures right away but it’s better to take your time and read the user’s manual first because it will save you lots of time and trouble in the future.
- The photos in the first batch should be as simple as possible. For example, you can take pictures of some products that we use in our everyday life isolated on a white background. To get the background white instead of gray you should correct the white balance WB in your camera and over expose for 2/3 or 1 stop. The button in Canon cameras that controls the exposure compensation is labeled as Av± so your setting should be +2/3 or +1. If you can’t adjust the exposure see if your camera is set in automatic mode. You should never take pictures in automatic mode because you don’t have any control over your camera.
- When you are taking pictures keep the ISO setting, which is sensitivity to light, on minimum. ISO setting on 100 should work fine. If the ISO setting is more than 100 the chance of introducing some noise on your image is greater.
- Always use tripod when possible.
- If you want to have pictures without harsh shadows or blown highlights I recommend using a light box (tent). Basically a light box or tent is a box surrounded with diffusion material that diffuses the light. You can build one fairly easy; there are lots of instructions that can be found on Internet. You should use at least two lights each located left and right from the soft box and if the lights are hot be careful because you can cause a fire. Never use the on camera flash without some diffusion because again you will have harsh shadows and blown highlights.
-If your camera can take larger sized pictures than the agency requires it’s better to resize the image to the minimum because the quality of the image will be improved. For example, if you have 8 MP (Mega Pixel) camera and the agency requires only 4 MP, resizing the image to 4 MP will help a lot because the overall quality will be improved. When resizing or otherwise manipulating the image with the image editing software never re-save more than once if the image is in JPEG format because you will lose details each time you press save. Instead you can use lossless format such as TIFF. Always work with the copy of the image never with the original. Therefore, when you open your original image in a photo editing software go to File and then press Save as and save it as TIFF (filename.tiff instead of filename.JPEG). When you are done editing you should zoom to 100% and examine the image of any imperfections like noise, artifacts, out of focus, CA (chromatic aberration which is also known as purple or blue fringing) and then you can save the image back as JPEG with the highest quality setting. In Photoshop and Photoshop Elements the highest quality setting is 12.
When submitting to Shutterstock the image should be virtually noise free so if you have a little noise use noise removal software such as Noise Ninja and Neatimage. They are both great in removing the noise.
Hopefully this article answered some questions that the people new to stock photography are asking. So before submitting the first batch of photos for reviewing make sure that you examine them with zoom level of 100%. Try not to submit images of clouds, flowers and sunsets because those are well-covered subjects. Also if you have the sky as a background you should look closely to see if there is a noise. Now get your camera and start shooting.
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