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Author Topic: start again?  (Read 27200 times)

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« on: February 10, 2009, 18:24 »
I don't mean to beat a dead horse and I apologize if this question has been asked a thousand times. I got accepted to IS a long time ago. At that point, I was only on DT but had decided to try to venture out to other sites. IS was my first choice but when I started to upload absolutely everything was getting rejected. On top of that, it is just so much work to get any image up there because it has the absolute worst system of upload imho. I got three images (I think) accepted (no sales yet, but thats expected) and just got fed up with it. I have since been uploading at SS and StockXpert fairly regularly and FT once in a while since I have less acceptance there as well. I guess my question is: should I bother to try again at IS? I know that of the people who are on there, it is up there as their top seller. But I hear its even getting more difficult there lately for non exclusives. I don't make much money at this...I try to shoot for getting a few images up a week on each site. I am by no means making tons of cash at this, but I'd like to try to make a bit more. Should I stick with what I'm doing or make another go at IS?

PS I realize this might be hard to answer if you cannot see my current sites and what I'm doing there as far as photography goes. But I choose to remain anonymous here for my own reasons. So please do your best if you have suggestions for me. Thanks a lot in advance everybody!


« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 18:34 »
This may sound strange, but if I were you I would do my upmost to become an exclusive on iStock.


« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2009, 18:36 »
so, let me get this straight...you want people with experience to answer your question(s) with zero data, zero examples of your work, and without knowing who you are. given that approach, I wouldn't bother trying for IS again. stick with whatever is working for you and if none of them are working, I would reevaluate and probably modify your approach to stock photography in general....good luck

« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2009, 18:45 »
I would say try again over time you might have improved as a photographer and taken better images so you may get more acceptances. No harm giving it a try

« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2009, 18:47 »
Uhm. Yes?

I don't think its a big deal if people dont know "who" I am. Looking at my online portfolios wouldn't even really tell you how much money I take in. It would just satisfy peoples nosy side and really get them no where in regards to helping me out. I am looking to see what other peoples experiences are in this instance regarding IS. I'm looking for generic advice and experience, not so much personalized services...in other words, I dont need someone to look at my photos and make assumptions as to whether they would sell or not. With that said - heres more information that might make this post more relevant for some people.

At DT, I have a folio of about 360 something images and make around $15-$30 a month. Not much at all.
SS I just started with and have made about $50 with 90 some odd images in a few months. I make just about the same amount at SS as DT.
StockXpert was third and I've got about 40 images and have only really made around $7. Haha. Ive only been uploading a month or two. I guess compared to some people thats pretty pitiful, but its better than nothing.


« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2009, 18:55 »
well, approaching IS as a non-exclusive doesn't cost you anything, nor will it require you to remove images elsewhere. I would try to upload some files again. if you continue to receive rejections, take them as constructive criticism and try to analyse what else you need to do in order to improve.

I DO think it would be helpful if you posted a few full sized images that typically represent your style. perhaps some istockers can comment on reasons for rejection and ways to improve. you should welcome that kind of critiquing. I did and it helped me immensely.

« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2009, 18:59 »
Well granted when I first started at IS, I uploaded a bunch of junk that deserved the rejections. But later on I tried to upload things that were accepted at 2-3 other sites before even bothering.

I honestly don't really have a style. I don't shoot many people shots which I think IS loves as well as most other sites. My best sellers seem to be grungy backgrounds and things like that even though I don't take them as seriously as photography. My work is really mismashed. I shoot a lot of random stuff, so I wouldn't even know which images to show here. Maybe someone could say what IS likes? Some sites prefer people, others abstracts. I have no idea what IS likes.



« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2009, 19:03 »
iStock likes good images. grunge backgrounds seem to do very well. as do people shots, concepts, food, isolated objects. the full gamut of stock is represented on IS. things that will not get through:

- overfiltering
- artefacting
- noise
- compression
- overprocessing

as close as you can keep your file to RAW the better. files should only be saved as jpeg once. processing should not be excessive. lighting is a key factor in getting accepted. I personally had tons of trouble in lighting. I finally took advice, and learned everything I could about lighting. and I am still learning. I marvel at the lighting some of the best contributors achieve.

what do you shoot with? and what is your processing workflow?

« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2009, 19:04 »
Hey jmich,
We're in about the same boat.  I do the micro stock thing as much as possible but I much more enjoy shooting nice artistic pictures.  I do always keep stock in mind when shooting but rarely shoot with that as my sole reason.  Long story short, I have found IS to be rather productive but I as well gave up on uploading to them a little while ago as the process is a pain in the butt and they reject about 60% of what I send them (mostly for "bad" keywords).  The whole best match debacle also discouraged me as well.  Deep meta is a program that somewhat streamlines the upload process but in no way makes it a breeze.  Give it a try, it's an open source program.  If you're going to resume uploading make sure that keywords are 110% relevant to the photo and it's free of any chromatic aberration or noise, well composed and perfectly focused.  

Other than that keep on truckin'.  There are many on here who see photogs like us as a drain on their income and I certainly sympathize with them.  However this is a free and open market and competition only drives the overall quality upwards.


« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2009, 19:10 »
Deep Meta is a terrific tool and it streamlines uploading for me entirely. I do batch uploads regularly. as an exclusive my keywords cannot result in my files being rejected, but for non-exclusives this can result in a rejection. so be careful with your keywording.

I personally really like IS's stringent acceptance standards. this is one of the areas in which I feel they excel (despite all the areas in which I feel they suck lately). images on iStock (generally speaking) are very high quality. duds squeeze through, like anywhere else....but overall if you are getting accepted on IS, you can be somewhat confident that you are producing good work.

as for art vs. stock...this too was a lesson I learned the hard way. my rejection rate was 50% in the beginning. I also shot tons of landscapes, black and white, sepia and very artsy stuff. I learned that this was not going to work in stock. I still shoot the artsy stuff, because I just have to.....but I produce almost pure stock now for IS and when I started doing that, my sales took off.

and I am not nearly as good as many of the more established contributors.

the thing to remember is that like anything else, to do well takes work and patience. there is no quick road to success on IS.

« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2009, 19:13 »
I shoot with a d80 as of about a year ago - lots of my old images were taken with a d70 though. I dont have any real/professional lighting, so I dont usually do a lot of set up shots that would require it. But my little set up with natural lighting has worked well for me so far when it comes to still objects. If I do shoot people, I often do it outdoors and sometimes use a fill if needed.

I like to think I dont overprocess and I definitely do not have compression/overfiltering/artifacting issues. I'm kind of anal about quality and noise, which is probably one reason I dont upload a whole lot. If its not close to perfect, I dont bother anymore. (Most of the images I've tried to upload in the past were probably not close to perfect... ;) ) I shoot raw and process in PS - recently got CS4 - so Im just starting with that. if I shoot specifically for stock, I likely shoot at 100 or 200 iso only - 400 the highest.


« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2009, 19:16 »
I wouldn't shoot at anything over ISO 200 on the D80 for IS. I didn't think you could shoot at 100 on the D80. natural light is good, are you using reflectors? they can be a great stand in for more expensive lighting until you can get some.

my husband shoots with a D80, I shoot with a D300. he gets beautiful shots with the D80. more importantly, what kinds of lens(es) are you using?

what have you received as rejection notices?

« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2009, 19:39 »
I wouldn't shoot at anything over ISO 200 on the D80 for IS. I didn't think you could shoot at 100 on the D80.

I agree about ISO 200 on the D80 for IS, but D80 can shoot ISO 100 for IS.


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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2009, 20:18 »
Without really seeing what specific rejections you're getting it's kind of hard to say. My suggestion would be to dump the D80 for something newer/better and give it another try.

I had a D80 and liked it but not for stock.Needed too much post processing.


« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2009, 20:58 »
that's good, I didn't remember the D80 going as low as ISO 100.......in any case, Paulie I have to disagree...my husband is making quite  bit of money using his D80 for iStock. he is also exclusive to iStock. and I shot with the D80 for over a year before earning my way into a D300....but I do this full-time along with writing. my husband still has a 'real' job too.....lol

until you improve your income and figure out what is working for you, I wouldn't start buying new equipment. but that's just me. though arguably new equipment can improve your income.


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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2009, 21:12 »
Stacy, I made quite a bit of money with my D80 too. I also spent a lot of time post processing out all of the things that Istock wouldn't accept. I still ended up with a 80% acceptance rate with the D80. I'm guessing this is part of the OP's problem.

I now have a D300 and while I haven't uploaded a ton of images with it yet I've had zero rejections and don't spend even a fraction the amount of time on post processing.

So back to the OP who is struggling with his/her D80 at Istock. I disagree with Stacy. Get a different camera.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2009, 21:35 by PaulieWalnuts »


« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2009, 21:57 »
Paulie, I don't really care to argue with you about it - I have but a meager 80% acceptance rate with my D300.....I doubt yours is 100. and before suggesting a $2,500 upgrade to someone who is making a couple hundred bucks a month on stock, I would suggest he/she figures out what the problem is first.

but to the OP - if you are willing to take the jump, I'd never say anything bad about the D300. if you're willing to spend that kind of money, go one further and get the D700 at this point. best of luck with your decisions. feel free to send a link to some images via sitemail. I'd be happy to have a look.


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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2009, 23:22 »
As I mentioned I haven't uploaded a ton of images from the D300 but the couple dozen or so that I have uploaded have been accepted. I'd say that's a pretty good indicator of good progress. As far as you doubting this I really don't care.

This reminds me why I don't bother to post advice here much anymore. The newbies can take advice from the struggling ametuers if they choose to.


« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2009, 01:05 »
Paulie, take a step back. no need to throw out insults. I'm not an amateur, far from, but I can see you want to pick a fight and I'm not sure why because I don't even know you. so, I suggest we just leave it since it doesn't really matter.

to the OP, the offer stands, feel free to sitemail a link. stick with your camera for now and work on technique. also, still curious what the rejection notices included...lighting, not suitable as stock? let us know.


« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2009, 02:01 »
Too funny, I could have made this exact post. I've started and stopped at IStock probably like 10 times. I think to myself, I'll give it another try, but then the upload process and senseless rejections based on a double standard of whether you are exclusive or not stops me dead in my tracks.....rinse and repeat. Needless to say I have about 100 on Istock and 7000 on the others.


« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2009, 02:29 »
If any part of your photos are tack sharp and well exposed there is certainly no need to fear the inspection process at istockphoto.
It's your choice where you showcase your work but i would certainly want to be involved with istockphoto looking outwards rather than being on the outside looking in at contributors making cool amounts of money from their work!

« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2009, 02:31 »
This reminds me why I don't bother to post advice here much anymore. The newbies can take advice from the struggling ametuers if they choose to.

Why? I liked your posts.


« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2009, 09:04 »
I think it is important to pass IS acceptance. as in doing so it will improve your images for all sites you submit to.

And IS are a good earner for most people.

And a D80 if used correctly is perfectly capable of taking images that will get accepted and sell well on IS.

« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2009, 09:27 »
I am non-exclusive...

January was excellent but this month is disaster for my portfolio on IS

Here is  percentage graph  of my agencies...

Blue is all time, red is this month...

« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2009, 09:42 »
I can assure you that there are plenty of us making 'cool amounts of money' by the very fact that we aren't exclusive to IS, because we are making good money from IS along with several other agencies.  To me the only reason that I would ever go exclusive to any one agency is because I haven't got the time to upload to multiple sites and I can't see that ever happening.   People often say that the time spent uploading to multiple sites is time that could be used to take more photos but in my case the time of day that I do my uploading would never be used to take photos.

If any part of your photos are tack sharp and well exposed there is certainly no need to fear the inspection process at istockphoto.
It's your choice where you showcase your work but i would certainly want to be involved with istockphoto looking outwards rather than being on the outside looking in at contributors making cool amounts of money from their work!


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