I know what it’s like to get an image rejected: it’s terrible and if you put effort into your image you feel bitter.
But iStockphoto.com is the leading stock agency today and with the various increase in prices last year it is important for them to ensure that customers get the quality they pay for. That’s good for the buyer, it’s good for iStockphoto and it’s good for you. That of course means, that we contributors have to go through a more rigurous acceptance process.
This blog is mainly about glamour and studio photography and I want to share with you 8 tricks which work well for me. If you follow them chances are you will reduce your rejection rate considerably.
Reducing your rejection rate requires the highest quality at all 3 stages:
- -During shooting preparation
- -During the photo shooting itself
- -During the post-processing
Tip 1: Avoid all possible logos
Logos and brand names are a no-go for stock photography. When buying the clothes ensure there are no logos. If there are logos, identify them all before the shoot. It will help you choose angles and lighting. If you work with a stylist make sure they are aware of this requirement.
Tip 2: Pay a lot of attention to exposure
Many rejections arise directly or indirectly because of bad exposure. Bad exposure has various problems: blown-out highlights, pitch black shadows, dull images. On top of that, when you post-process your images, badly exposed images will cause you to brighten them up or make them darker increasing your chances of creating artifacts. Your exposure has to always be perfect!
Double or tripple check your histogram while you are shooting and/or verify your images on the computer often during the photo session.
Tip 3: Keep an eye on the model’s hair
When photographing in studio hair is difficult to control but if you do not pay special attention to your model’s hair then you are increasing the chances that you will have to post-process the images to improve the appearance of the hair. This post-processing is complicated and increases your images of making mistakes and getting the images rejected.
Typical problems are that small hairs arise wildly in all directions. Or that the hair falls or moves in an unaesthetic way. Speak to your hair stylist about this and have them keep an eye on the hair while you are shooting.
Tip 4: Keep an eye on the model’s clothes
Keep your eye attentive to the model’s clothes. You have the same situation as with the hair. When the model moves you might have creases in the clothes or the clothes might appear unfavorable to the model in certain areas. Maybe the bra or the underwear suddenly become visible. This might cause you to you Photoshop to correct the clothing problems increasing your chances of making mistakes and getting your images rejected.
Speak to your stylist and/or speak to the model, and tell them to pay careful attention to such things. And of course, you too!
Tip 5: Produce sharp images
Images have to be sharp! They do not have to sharp all over, but they have to be dead sharp where it counts. And they have to be sharp straight out of the camera. If you are working with studio strobes then choose a shutter spead between 1/160 and 1/200. If your camera can synchronize with higher speeds, then use even faster shutter speeds.
Make sure you use your best lenses. If you don’t have one then buy or rent one. It is worth the investment
Tip 6: Fill out your model releases very carefully
Every model release must be filled out with extreme care. Make sure that the dates on the release match the dates in your photo’s EXIF file. Make sure the model fills out all fields correctly. Make sure you have a correct and clear description of the shooting. Rejections because of model release problems are frustrating because you cannot always get the model to fill a new one.
And of course you should have one model release for EVERYBODY in the image, no matter how little one can see them.
Tip 7: Only select the very best images for processing
Selecting your best images after your photo session is time consuming but essential. Only choose your very best images. Not only the best ones from a creative point of view, but also the best ones from a technical point of view. They should be dead sharp and have no serious problems with them.
I know how difficult it is when one of your favorite pictures is slightly unsharp. Well, be hard with yourself! And reject that image straight away before you invest time in it and get it rejected by an iStockphoto inspector.
Tip 8: Post-process with care
Photoshop is a marvelous piece of software but can also be the source of lots of rejections. Pay special attention to not creating artefacts when saturating, when brightening or darkenning and image. If you decide to blur the background of your picture do not forget to add 0,1 noise to remove the banding. Speak to other photographers and ask them for photoshop advice.
For the type of photography I do, these are the most essential tips I can give you. Have I forgotten anything for studio and glamour photography? Do you have any questions?
How do you minimize your rejection rates!?
Follow me on twitter, everybody else does