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Author Topic: Artifacts and noise problem.  (Read 4771 times)

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« on: June 30, 2007, 04:42 »
Firstly hi all,

I'm new to stock photography and have been browsing this forum for a few weeks so thanks for what I have learned so far.

I have been sending photos to microstock sites for the past week or so and am slowly building up a small portfolio on each. I'm fairly new to photography in general, not just microstock, but I'm learning as I go and enjoying it so far. 123rf, BS, DT and FP were reasonably easy to get work on, although looking now I'm not to keen on some of the images I have on them. PS and LO were a little harder but I learned a lot whilst trying, especially from LO they were quite good in there suggestions for improvement. I submitted to SS and SX way to early and have a while to wait before I can try again. My problem at the moment is IS, they have mainly turned down my applications because of noise and up-rezzing (although I haven't up-rezzed) their last response says it's my last chance and I should check to see if my "RAW converter, Graphics Image Editor or Camera is not interpolating/upsampling your photographs by default" as far as I can tell none of them are but I am new to digital software and cannot be sure. My main question is if I lower my image sizes in photoshop might this solve any sign of up-rezzing? I think IS are being pretty good about it especially since they are going so far as to suggest what might be my problem but being my last chance I need to get it right if possible. A large number of my rejections to all the sites have been for the same reasons so I obviously have a problem somewhere.

Sorry for writing a book, I got carried away and now I'm not sure I'm posting in the correct section  ???.

Thanks for reading  ;D.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2007, 05:05 by sarkee »

« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2007, 05:58 »
I presume you are now filtering your photos for noise

noise filtering

Though if you were rejected from SS maybe at first you weren't (I had to wait 3 months to apply again to SS)

how many MP is your camera? Are you shooting in RAW or fine/super fine JPG?

it might be worth downsizing a few photos at least for the initial batch for review at iStock. Remember their size/price bands are 600 x 800 2 mp, 5 mp and 10 mp so if you are shooting at 6 or 7 mp best to downsize to 5 mp to sharpening up your photos.

If its your last chance at iStock I would wait until a few wiser souls have given their opinions

I get the feeling some of the established agencies feel they have enough photographers so are raising the bar higher for new photographers

« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2007, 11:58 »
I use photoshop 7 to edit my images including noise filtering. My early photos were mainly rubbish because of poor lighting, took me a while to realise the importance of light. I use a Fuji FinePix s9500 camera 9mp and shoot in RAW. I would rather avoid ruining my chances with IS, I will probably be better off getting my acceptance rate as high as I can with DT and LO and use them as a measuring stick for my abilities. I'm a long way from being happy with my finished images so probably should have practised a bit more first but I was eager to upload.

Ho Hum all good fun :)

« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2007, 15:27 »
Sorry to have to tell you Sarkee, but the problem is your Fuji camera.  Fuji cameras have been discussed ad infinitum on the iStock forums.

I am not a technical wiz, but as I understand it, Fuji produces its own sensors and tries to make them super dooper smooth.  They have some technology that other camera manufacturers do not have.  BUT, that technology only works at small sensor size.  However it is so smooth and natural that it can be uprezzed to twice the size.  So a Fuji camera stating 7mp is in fact a 3.5mp native resolution uprezzed to 7mp.  Your camera does this automatically.

Many iStock contributors have asked about the latest Fuji cameras which have had good reviews particularly for smooth gradients, but it is currently iStock's policy to treat all submissions from those cameras as uprezzed.  So the latest 12mp Fuji's are treated as 6mp cameras (there are in fact two 6mp sensors stuck together on top of each other if I understand the technology correctly).

You should do some thorough research to see if there is any way to stop your camera uprezzing.  That is the only way you'll get iStock to accept your pictures.  Even if you find a solution, you will be stuck with 3.5mp submissions which will all then be at the lowest price point.

Your Fuji is apparently a great camera, but I am afraid it is useless for stock photography because of the technical interpretation.

As it stands at present, if you want to do lots of stock photography you really have no alternative but to sell the Fuji and move to another brand.  The starter Canons and Nikons (400D and D40X) are very good cameras and produce native 10mp so your problem is immediately solved.  The latest Pentax has also had very good reviews, as has the new Olympus E410.

« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2007, 15:59 »
Thanks for the reply Hatman. I will see if I can find more information but what you say would make sense as I have had a lot of "rezzed-up" rejections and on one image was asked to down size by 50% so sounds feasible. Another camera is probably not an option at the moment so would a 50% down-rez fix this problem for now, do you think?

Until I win the lottery :)


« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2007, 17:12 »
Sadly you are in a chicken and egg situation Sarkee.  If you find a way to use your Fuji at the proper native resolution you'll be taking pictures at 3.2mp.  The minimum at Shutterstock for new contributors is now 4mp.  Other agencies have also been increasing their minimum resolution requirements, and I believe the new Snapvillage specifies 3.2mp for instance.  Whilst your camera meets that minimum it does of course mean that you will never be able to crop a picture.

Another negative is that as the new 'starter' cameras are all 10mp, if buyers see that your pictures are only available as 'small' you might get ignored (buyers will conclude that you are some holiday snapper using a point and shoot camera from years ago).

If you read these forums you will see that most people here derive a large proportion of their income from SS and IS, with perhaps DT also in the mix.  You have done well to get approved by 123 and LO etc, but at the moment because these agencies are in fledgling stage, sales there are low and sporadic; this doesn't mean they will not become important agencies (LO in particular holds good potential) but you risk finding sales there disheartening.

Good luck with whatever you decide, but it seems that if you want to experience the best results from microstock photography you really have no alternative but to sell the Fuji and move to a different brand.

« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2007, 18:58 »
Thanks for the advice Hatman, I'll have to see what I can do.

« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2007, 22:05 »
Hi Sarkee,

I encountered the same problem that you are encountering with I-stock.  However mine was just a noise and artifacts issue rather than a camera interpolation problem.

Anyway...  I think that I-stock is just an incredibly picky agency, as the photographs that they rejected for artifacts and noise were accepted by other companies.

Like you, I got my application rejected by them twice and I just decided to close my account.  I just felt it wasn't worth my time to try again...  especially if they are going to reject me over an artifacts issue that can only be seen at 400%. 

I mean really... what!!!!???!!   >:(

Anyway... sure ....I-stock's sales are incredible but I think microstock is just in its infancy.  I think there is plenty of room for other agencies and plenty of room for more photographers and photographs. 

(Heck... just look at the macrostock agencies out there!!!  I know from looking through my various market guides that there are about 300+ macrostock agencies.)

Anyway... I am digressing... but I think as the other microstock agencies mature, their sales will improve as well. 

So... I think it's important to approach this business with the idea of being in it for the long haul, rather than looking to make a quick buck with the latest hot flavor (i.e. agency) of the month/year.

So keep on plugging away and keep on shooting.  Don't let I-stock rain on your parade.   ;D 

BTW... since you are a newbie like me... if you would like to drop me a note from time to time that would be great, as I think it would be interesting to see how things are progressing for either of us in this biz a year from now.  :D


« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2007, 05:57 »
I enjoy doing this and hope to be in it for the long haul, which is my main worry. I'm concerned at my reputation more than anything, my images may be getting accepted at some sites but being new I don't know much about any of them, I presume the ones that are accepting will accept pretty much anything and I will just end up with a lot of poor quality work published on microstock sites. LO seems to be the exception of the sites that have accepted some images, they were picky in a good way, their rejections came with reasons I could see and understand and hopefully improve upon. It would be nice to know errors were purely down to my inexperience and I wasn't hampered by the camera up-rezzing.

I just need to decide now whether I should stop uploading for now or send down-sized work until I sort a new camera.

Oh well, if this game was easy everyone would be doing it  :P

« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2007, 11:33 »
Cricket... I am not sure it's a sound advice, honestly. If as you say IS sales are incredible, then they maybe doing something right. If their standard is one of the highest in the industry, then making itwill ensure the quality of your images. Why would you want to settle on less and hope that buyers won't care. If anything, competition is going to increase.

IMO, don't take it personally. Don't let rejections get to you. When you submit right images with right level of quality, in most cases you get accepted. Rejection is either (most often) reflection of your errors -learn from those, or (less often) reflection of reviewer being only human and making mistakes - shrug about those, re-submit if you strongly believe in the image or just let it go.

Oh, and btw, this is not a theory, I know what I am talking about. I got rejected by IStock twice, realized that limitation of my camera made it incredibly difficult for me to match their quality requirements, waited till new one was in cards, submitted new batch when got it and was accepted right away. Now, here is a thing to think about: those images IStock rejected earlier were accepted at some other agencies... do you think they sell? Nope.

« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2007, 11:56 »
... those images IStock rejected earlier were accepted at some other agencies... do you think they sell? Nope.
Not necessarily true. Each site has, to some extent, unique clientele, and an image that sells well at one site may not sell at all on another. It's a fair bet to make that everyone's top 20 sellers from site to site are not that consistant. Just because IS rejects an image does not mean it won't sell elsewhere.

Yes, IS is incredibly fussy about what they accept. But the potential income justifies the perseverence you'll need to get your images listed there.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2007, 11:58 by sharply_done »

« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2007, 12:47 »
Each site has, to some extent, unique clientele, and an image that sells well at one site may not sell at all on another. It's a fair bet to make that everyone's top 20 sellers from site to site are not that consistant. Just because IS rejects an image does not mean it won't sell elsewhere.

Oh, of course. What you say is true for an established photographer who sells for a while at the different agencies and got a hand on this. His photos are usually at par and occasional rejections here and there reflect "statistical variations" rather than the quality of his work.

However in case of a beginner who is still trying to get in, the probability is high that images that do not get him in certain agency will not likely be nice sellers elsewhere.

« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2007, 13:22 »
... and occasional rejections here and there reflect "statistical variations" rather than the quality of his work.
I wish this was the case for me at IS, but it isn't - my rejection rate there is much higher than everywhere else. It's so bad that at times I rue the days I upload to them.

« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2007, 21:38 »

I agree with you 100%. 

I think that each agency appeals to a different clientele/photo buyer. 

And I expect as Microstock grows & matures this differentiation will continue.  I also expect at some point that there may even be microstock agencies that will start to specialize in certain subjects.

I mean look at macrostock.  There is a stock agency that specializes for example in plants/botany.  I also know of two macrostock agencies that specialize in images of Alaska and Ohio (my homestate).  And I am sure there are many others who specialize!

pr2is:   I think I-stock's sucess is due mainly to the fact that they were one of the firsts to get into this business. 

If one looks at macrostock and sees all the sucessful agencies that are out there, one can see that there is plenty of  room for all kinds of images!!

One does not have to produce images that are overly saturated, overly processed, and unnaturally perfect (i.e. digitally manipulated to the nth degree in photoshop) ...   which are the types of images wanted by an Istock, a Getty, or a Corbis. 

Again using macrostock as a guide... if those were the only kinds of images photobuyers wanted... there wouldn't be 300+ macrostock agencies... there would only be two... Getty and Corbis.   :D


« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2007, 10:26 »
Well it turns out I'm an idiot. My camera does up-rezz, it up-rezzes the original 9mp to over 17mp. I can't take the credit for realizing it though, PhotoStorage told me in a rejection yesterday. So I owe PS a thanks and a spot on my christmas list for not sending automated rejections.


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