MicrostockGroup Sponsors

Author Topic: What are the sites to start with when first uploading your photos...  (Read 7792 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: April 05, 2011, 22:21 »
I've only done stock illustrations, but my intention all along was to upload photos.  I would like to start submitting some to see if they are up to par.

Is there a list anywhere of the top 2 or 3 sites that it's the easiest to get into at first with photos?

I don't suck, but my camera isn't a DSLR, (it's a Canon Powershot SX1 IS) so I don't want to start out with SS or IS obviously - are there any sites that would even look at my stuff?  Oh - and unfortunately a lot of my subjects are nature - SO IT SHOULD BE EASY, RIGHT!  ;D

I am willing to with models if I have to, but I do have lots of old architecture shots, and some cool macros as well.  Plus, I have a small home studio set up.

Is it okay to post a link to my flickr here, or not - to show you guys (mostly nature because I set it up to send tourists there for info on local nature attractions)

« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 23:09 »
Try Canstock, they've got one of the most lenient inspection systems among the major agencies. The rule-of-thumb is that the lower down the list on the right of this post that you go, the easier it is to get acceptances. The trouble is, their sales aren't great.

« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011, 23:10 »
Alamy, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime.  If you don't mind the very low commission percentages, then Fotolia and iStockphoto too.

Do not base your decision based on who will accept you, but instead on who will sell your work.  If the large agencies will not accept you, then you aren't going to get sales anywhere no matter who accepts you, and you will need to raise your image quality.

I also suggest uploading to smaller sites (who probably will accept you) which have a fair commission percentage.  These are companies which we should be supporting.  Definitely GraphicLeftovers.  I don't have the time to upload to another site right now, but I would probably give Cutcaster a shot if I did have the time.

« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 23:43 »
Those are not what I was thinking - interesting.  I was thinking FT and DT.  I already know Alamy wont accept them because my camera's on their banned list - they only want DSLR's - thought I don't know how that automatically makes a good photo though...

Shutterstock really wants perfect focus front to back, no? - I keep seeing that said on the forums.

I may have some noise and some fringing - but only visible at 100 to 150%.  I'm okay at mostly fixing that in Photoshop, but I'm no pro at it.  I think I have an okay eye for subject and composition, and I do have access to many cool subjects, it's mainly the quality of my cam that's the biggest issue - though of course I only consider myself an amateur.

I'm already on Cutcaster, and GL, but I didn't realize that GL takes regular shots - I thought illustration only, and just recently - people shots.

No, I don`t really want my images on sites that will not sell them, so perhaps I should stay to the middle tier at the lowest?

Can I post the link to my flickr (it's the only site some of my shots are on) - or is that not okay here...?  I'm asking because I see people post their own website links, but I don't want to break the forum rules. 

(If you guys think my pics suck then that's an indication I have a lot more work to do before even thinking of submitting...)

« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 01:52 »
feel free to post a flickr link.

I agree with Dan.  I would try Dreamstime and Shutterstock.  If you can't get your images approved by Dreamstime or for example Fotolia you need to up your quality.  There is no sense wasting your time only submitting to the 'low earnings' because your images aren't accepted at the higher ranked agencies.  If that was the case, you would be better offer working overtime at your regular job to afford a better camera or spending more time learning photography.

« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2011, 02:06 »
Exactly.  You have to treat this as a business.  Part of your business plan has to be having the right equipment.  I know there are microstock contributors getting by with point and shoot cameras, but if you want to get serious you really need to have a DSLR.  I shoot with a Canon 5D and a series of high quality lenses.  I have serious 5D-II envy.

I went a little cheaper with the lighting taking a strobist approach.  A Midwest Photo flash package cost me several hundred dollars.  I'm not set up to do portraits, but I really don't enjoy that style of work.


« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011, 06:29 »
The big 4 are the big four indeed. You need to submit to ALL of them to have a decent return, however difficult to get in.

The middle tiers are a nice addition, absolutely worth it.

The low earners may seem useless at present, but sales at some are improving and they are an insurance against risks coming from some of the big ones' behaviour. Lightburner makes it a bit easier to submit to them as well now.

So everything you do is useful in the long run.

Equipment makes your life easier but it's not the most important factor: I would suggest that you try to get the most you can from your p&s, and use your first earnings to buy a dSLR (and proper lenses).
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 06:31 by microstockphoto.co.uk »


  • I love Tom and Jerry music

« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2011, 09:46 »
I think Dreamstime is the right place to start with. An amateur stock site perfect for beginners.
For some more serious stuff Shutterstock and finally istock on the top of the pyramid.

« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2011, 09:52 »
I would say FT.. You can upload all you want without looking at approval ratio or other, upload hard :P

« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2011, 16:40 »
Thank you everyone.  I will try DT and FT first.  I wanted to sell this camera, because it actually cost the same as a basic DSLR, but it's already over a year old and no one would want it.  So I am looking into getting a used DSLR - on Adorama or somewhere. 

I've read that the kit lenses that come with the basic rebels, for example, are crapola - is that correct, or would they still do better shots than my p&s?
Oh - my cam may be okay for something- it does take hd video - maybe I should try taking some - though I realize there is a steep learning curve to get those to be stock-worthy as well.

Okay, so here's my tiny, nature-oriented only at this time, flickr account -


Go nuts guys - I value your opinions.  And, I'll get over it in several years if you tell me I totally suck!  ;D

« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2011, 22:16 »
Anyone interested in giving me some critiques I welcome it - though I know it's not much to go on - plus some of that work was done with an even worse camera.

But, perhaps I should be asking for critiques in the Critique Forum?   :-\

« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2011, 22:28 »
I can see a lot of lovely wildlife pictures, dont know well the market of them but I would give it a try :)

are they nice at 100%? upload them to agencies!

« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2011, 22:41 »
You have some great nature shots. A good eye for framing. On your initial uploads, pick the best at 100% with no artifacts or fringing. Also, on you initial uploads, I may hold off on the sepias and a couple of others that you may have adjusted to pale or BW. Good luck.

« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2011, 23:12 »
beware that DT penalizes you for having a low acceptance ratio. That doesn't mean don't send them anything, but don't send them a lot of stuff until you start to get a feel for what they will accept or refuse.
You get penalized by getting less upload slots per week, and also with a poorer place in searches (how much poorer, nobody really knows, but search results there do tend to clump by contributor).

You might as well send 10 to SS if you weren't planning on sending an application in for a month anyway (as you have to wait a month if they fail - I think, better check that before submitting to make sure). the key is to sign up as my referral (hah).  I would downsize the first 10 to 4 MP - that will help with noise and focus.

If you are at all serious about selling photos you will want to get a DSLR. I don't know where you are located, but often used ones can be had for only a few hundred bucks. When I look back at my first pictures (taken with a Canon A80 and S3 IS) I cringe at the noise. (but some are still lovely pics and some of my best sellers that continue to sell).

Also, keyword your images in the image file - iptc data. This will save you a lot of grief later when uploading to new sites.

I wrote up about getting started in microstock for a friend... this was a while ago so some is a bit outdated, but in general it holds true.


good luck, and remember that rejections will happen. Learn from them if you can, otherwise shrug them off.

« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2011, 00:29 »
Hi all, I'm already approved on SS, and 7 other sites, but only with illustrations, not photos.  I have steady sales on SS, and just this month my images started selling on FT and 123RF in miniscule amounts - but my port is tiny - only 40 or so images, and under 10 at FT, and DT because of their constant rejections.  So yes, I'm a total noob.  I'm glad that a few of you that had a look at my flickr didn't think I'm off my rocker.

Before even considering stock as a possibility, I did months of research into stock photography and gathered lots of general info on how to get your stuff ready for stock.  I've been taking shots for 15 years now.  I did a menu shoot for a local bakery - big deal - and learned how NOT TO GET PAID - good first lesson in the photo business.  Also done several wedding shoots for friends - you know how it is, and only asked to get paid for the film - back in those days.  But, I know any experience is worth little in the stock business if you don't what sells, how to shoot it well, and how to prepare those images for stock.

Actually it was when I started to shoot wildlife that I realized how little I knew.  Trying to shoot birds especially has helped me to learn on my feet.  My endeavor now is to get the technical quality down and always to continue improving on composition, subject matter and finding that illusive perfect light.

When I started to realize how hard it is to meet SS's criteria for photos, I decided to go back to my previous love - drawing, and I started to upload illustrations instead, where I was able to control all the variables due to having good programs to work with and a little drawing talent.

I am not stupid though, I know that a nice shot is just that - doesn't mean that it will sell at all.  And obviously I'm come across the wise counsel that nature shots are way overdone and usually not welcome - hence my hesitation at uploading those to start with.  I think with DT I'm going to do 1 or 2 at a time because my approval ratio is like 15% there right now. ::)

« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2011, 01:40 »
If you are already on SS, I would definitely send your stuff there. It might not get accepted, but if it does, it is more likely to sell than anywhere else. As far as I know rejections there only hurt your ego. I used sales there to help motivate me to produce more images, then I sent them to lots of places. At first the sales were almost all at SS, but over time the sales come at other places too.

At least some of the Flickr pics look like they would be acceptable (at least as far as composition and light go). The noise, CA,  distorted pixel, etc rejections could still happen. It is true that landscape and wildlife are pretty hard markets on microstock though. That doesn't mean that an image can't be accepted and sell well though.

« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2011, 04:29 »
You have a great eye for composition. I'm not sure if a lot of your nature shots would sell on a lot of the agencies though.

This might work http://www.flickr.com/photos/windseed/3658073609/in/set-72157620230326416#/ the quality is good, except there is a vertical streak in the sky, I almost didn't notice it at first. This would work too, http://www.flickr.com/photos/windseed/3714972431/in/set-72157620230326416#/ but there is something wrong with the pixels. I'm no expert so I don't know what it is, maybe over sharpened. This may or may not be stocky  http://www.flickr.com/photos/windseed/5037793175/in/photostream/#/ but it is a clean pic. so worth sending.

Excellent work though and a pleasure looking through ur port. I've added u on flickr.

edit: one more, this is very stocky but the quality and focus is out. Right idea though. http://www.flickr.com/photos/windseed/5059317398/in/photostream/#/
« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 04:35 by Komar »


  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2011, 04:40 »
FWIW,  I really like your Purple Martin pic and the good news is that there are very few PMs on iStock, and some that turn up on the search aren't PMs. However, iStock is very weird about natural light, and they might not like the dark chin and belly of the bird (but you can never tell, it depends which inspector you get). If you were going to submit it, I'd try to lighten these areas if you can do it without introducing artifacts. Go back to your original out-of-the-camera image, of course.
I agree with what the others say about a DSLR though: make like much easier on yourself.
You're right about Alamy. I accidentally sent up an image taken on a non-approved camera and it was instantly 'partally rejected', meaning it was auto-rejected (presumably) but the rest went through OK.


« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2011, 06:08 »
I've read that the kit lenses that come with the basic rebels, for example, are crapola - is that correct, or would they still do better shots than my p&s?

I used the kit lenses on my Olympus dSLR for one year in the beginning - I think they are usable in good lighting conditions, although a bit softer than professional lenses; in difficult lighting, you will get some purple fringe and noise.

« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2011, 07:08 »
Thanks everyone for your continued critiques - they are very encouraging - and I can see all the stuff you've noticed as well in the mentioned shots.  Clean shots is a major goal of mine now especially with wanting to submit to stock.

Is cross-processing ever accepted at Istock or Shutterstock - or would any of these "filtered" images be refused right off the bat because designers can probably do a better job at it if they wanted to?  Or, are some sites actually looking for "more artsy" stuff like that?

example:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/windseed/3741663650/#
« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 07:10 by lola »

« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2011, 10:13 »
Cutcaster.com is friendly to new submitters!  We would love to see your work there!

« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2011, 12:26 »
Lola, where are you?  I see lots of shots from Winnipeg.  I'm in Birds Hill.

« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2011, 15:34 »
I have 1100 wildlife images in my port; I sell a 200-400 microstock images a month so wildlife/nature does sell.  Birds sell less; my big and medium mammals outsell my birds 5:1 or better.

« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2011, 17:11 »
Hey pixart - I'm in Wpg :), and do tons of car trips all around MB for the nature shots.  We've found many amazing little areas that astound me at the wildlife and wildflowers - I always await spring with eagerness, so that we can get back out there.  Soon we'll be taking a trip to Nopaming park where I'm hoping to see lots of cool things - since it's more wild and less touristy, with not that much traffic through it.

There are times I wish I lived in Hawaii or Tahiti, of course, but there is so much to see here that we continue to love our little outings.  Before it gets hot we're also planning another trip to Spruce Woods for the sand dunes and cactus.  Where else can you have wild polar bears and sand dunes in the same province/state?

thinking to self.........I really should keep uploading my stuff to flickr, I've sort of stopped since starting stock, but it's a good place to refer people to in the meantime, and I have lots of other and better shots.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 07:03 by lola »

« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2011, 00:11 »
Cool.  We'll have to try to hook up some time.  (I hope you don't live by the Red this time of year.)  You have some really nice stuff in your Flickr gallery - and you took those with a point & shoot?  Wow!  I think our paths must have crossed at some point looking at your photo locations :)

« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2011, 07:10 »
No, not by the river, but I am worried for those who are.  You have a whole business set up online and a physical studio from the looks of it - cool.  How do you find time for stock with your business - or are some of your clients also models?  That would be very convenient. :)

I bet we've crossed paths :D

« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2011, 12:42 »
Well, I don't find time for stock and that is a huge regret.  I get pretty burnt out from eaking out a living and being a full time mom.  If I could go back 5 years I would have put more effort into the stock portfolio and less on the sports photography.   I didn't even intend to be a sports photographer, I prefer baby sessions but somehow I did one basketball team and it snowballed into leagues and schools and.... I've been lucky, but I should have been less short sighted.  You just see me here (MSG) all the time because everyone is so nice, have common interest, and this is my watercooler when I need a break. 

Sorry you had to see my website... 5 years old... It is not relevant at all and has been on the top of my to do list for 4 years now... 

I think you mentioned buying a Canon, but if you want to try out Nikon gear let me know and we could have a walkabout some day with some lenses and I just got a D7K body.

« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2011, 23:43 »
Cutcaster.com is friendly to new submitters!  We would love to see your work there!

Sorry for OT. Is Cutcuster as friendly with sales? I like your model, but removed my portfolio because of zero outcome.....


Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
2 Replies
Last post October 13, 2015, 23:21
by anathaya
34 Replies
Last post March 01, 2018, 01:50
by increasingdifficulty
7 Replies
Last post July 21, 2018, 00:27
by SuperPhoto
14 Replies
Last post December 11, 2018, 10:44
by Uncle Pete
11 Replies
Last post January 02, 2020, 01:59
by rinderart


Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results


3100 Posing Cards Bundle