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Author Topic: Greetings from a Newbie  (Read 2435 times)

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« on: November 20, 2010, 20:08 »
Hi all.

I am new to stock and as most stock newbies I need all the help I can get. I am with alamy and have actually sold one image through them. I was also accepted by iStock, but I cannot seem to get them anything they like. I've been working at Shutterstock, same story, two attempts rejected.

I do love to make pictures. Whenever the world is trying to overcome me I jump in the truck and make some pictures. I have recently opened my own store online (this is not spam, you don't have to go there.)

I would appreciate the forum's opinion about my experience. Many of the rejections are "soft focus". I shoot with a Canon EOS xsi. I am aware of the limitations. When preparing stock images I use a tripod, ISO 100, I try to keep around f11 and over 1/100 or if I am using telephoto 1/400. It kind of limits my opportunities. I also use Canon L lenses. Is there something within this that I am doing wrong, other than the consumer camera?

I do want to run photos by the experts (you) before I try iStock or Shutterstock again.

I really am thrilled to be with this forum and hope I fit in OK.

Jim Adams

« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2010, 20:26 »

If you're having focus problems at those settings, I'd think that either your gear is faulty or there's something wrong with your technique.  A tripod's of value in two situations: when you're shooting too slow to handhold (rule of thumb is 1/focal length, e.g. slower than 1/70 for a 70mm lens), which it doesn't sound like you are; or when you want to take several photos with the same composition, for example to combine for an HDR image.  I never use a tripod for people and rarely for scenics, and I don't have focus issues if the light is adequate.

Do you examine your photos at 100% resolution?  The reviewers will, so if they look soft to you at 100%, they're more likely to be rejected.  Try applying just a little sharpening (the contradictorily named Unsharp Mask in Photoshop); images straight out of a DSLR are generally a bit soft.  If you shoot people, either select a focus point near your subject's eye or first focus on the eye with the center focus point and then recompose your shot.

Good luck.

« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2010, 21:00 »
Occasionally I have my weak moments, like trying to submit a hand held 1/30 image at iso1600. I just need confirmation that I am not too far off track. I often think with stock agencies you just need to be persistent and they eventually accept you because you have proven you are serious. I'll keep plugging away and continue to be careful. I do need to remember to scrutinize the photos, I usually use 200%, if they pass my eyes at 200, they will pass their 100% hopefully.

I have had opinions from some very knowledgeable pros (took a couple of online courses) that the xsi is on the border and over iso200 you get noise. I just need to make enough to get my dream camera - 5D MkII.

Thanks for the thoughts.



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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2010, 21:25 »
Jim - we really need to see the full size soft rejections to be able to see what the reason is.


« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 21:43 »
I don't know about the softness, but I think you are going to have trouble getting nature photos on any of the sites these days unless they are spectacular. 

I checked out your website, and from what I can see, you have some very nice nature images.  Unfortunately, the subject matter, trees, ponds, sunsets, etc. have been pretty well saturated in micro, and they are very low demand.

Can't imagine your images could possibly be soft at the settings you describe, unless you have some sort of front or back focus issue with your camera or lenses.  Which is entirely possible.  I have had similar problems on a couple of different Canon DSLRs over the years. 

I hate to recommend pixel peeping, but I would spend a bit of time photographing rulers and test patterns if I was you, using your various lenses.  Maybe you will discover a calibration problem that can be fixed at Canon service. 


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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2010, 21:51 »
Welcome to MSG Jim. What were the reasons for the rejection? LCV (Limited Commercial Value) ? "We have enough of these already" "Improper Focus"

You will find that the Micros are ..ummm.. pickier.. than Alamy. Alamy only checks for Technical Correctness of an Image.. Not for the content or composition.

If your rejections was for focus or noise.. we would need to see a full size image (hosted somewhere) or a 100% crop. Reading these forums and aking a few questions helped me get into Shutterstock and Istock on my second try for both.

« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2010, 22:00 »
This is the reason forums are so valuable. I know I don't have to go it alone, there is a bunch of help from you guys.

The images on the JGAdams Photo Gallery (Zenfolio) are actually High res, but a better way will to do as suggested, show the forum the rejections for critique. That will happen. I just signed up for Dreamstime and uploaded five images, we'll see what happens.

A note about Nature and Wildlife, that is my passion, but I completely understand it is not stock fodder. There are a few of my images on the JGA site under other images, but stock is a different animal.

You don't have to go poking around my site, unless of course, you want to. I'm sure I will have plenty of discussions. What I have already received is very valuable.

Thank you all,



« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2010, 05:51 »
welcome here!

as others said, you should check for lens calibration

I had the same problem with the kit lens for my Olympus - worked fine for a while, then became increasingly soft- , which in my case was completely solved by buying a proper lens since it wasn't worth repairing the cheap one
(Yes, I am a happy Olympus user, although in minority here between Canons and Nikons)

meanwhile, to save your existing pictures you may also try to reduce to little more than 4 megapixels - the limit for all major microstock agencies and most minor ones too - before sharpening as suggested: downsampling will reduce perceived softness, and also reduce noise allowing for a bit more sharpening without adverse effects
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 06:07 by microstockphoto.co.uk »


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