Wednesday, August 23, 2006

welcome to not only gives away sells your pictures for a buck a piece but they take a whopping 80% cut for doing it. You need to sell 5 pictures before you make your first dollar. Nonetheless, people are so desperate to feed them pictures, Istockphoto can afford to be very picky about the pictures they will accept. It took me 4 applications to get throught their initial screening process which consists in asking that you submit 3 images and screening them with the same criteria they use to accept any image. Here are the rejected pictures, with Istockphoto's reasons, and 100% crop views when the issue is artefacts or noise.

Attempt 1

Tea + Airport: Composition of your lighting could be better. Please show us something else.
Hmmm... The airport has large burnt out zones and large very dark zones. Only the bridge is properly exposed. I kind of like it that way but I guess I see where they're coming from. As for the tea, it's fine by me.
Temple door: is ok

*** Please delete the samples that were not OK from the uploads page and re-upload (2) replacement samples so we may continue to review your application. Thank You. ***
Ok'ed pics at the end of the post.

Attempt 2
• We could not find a clear center focal point and found this image to be out of focus. Try using a tripod at slower shutter speeds, even intentional blurs or shallow DOF (depth of field) should have a point of focus. For more information about focus, please see:
Lots of hot tips there but how about the center of the fan as a center focal point? Looks pretty damn sharp to me.

Arc: Nice composition
• Unfortunately this image contained unacceptable amounts of jpeg compression artifacts. Artifacts are most commonly caused by over-compression but may be a result of other factors. Be sure your camera is at its highest quality setting and remember to also save your JPEGs at the highest possible quality (level 12). For more information about over-compression or artifacting, please see:
That was pretty diplomatic. But it's not JPEG compression this pic is suffering from, it's from having been taken at 400 ASA with a compact Sony DSC-P200. I tried to reduce the noise in Photoshop but didn't do a very good job. There's so much of it! Now that I carry a tripod I shoot everything at 100 ASA.

Attempt 3
Temple door: is ok
Tennis ball: is ok
- Unfortunately this image contains undue artifacts when viewed at full size. Artifacts are most commonly caused by over-compression but may be a result of other factors. Be sure your camera is at its highest quality setting and remember to also save your JPEGs at the highest possible quality (level 12).
This image was shot at 100 ISO but underexposed. Raising the levels brought out the noise lurking in the shadows. This pic might be still be saved though with noise reduction or by resubmiting it at a smaller size. The best size to submit a pic on Istockphoto is 2560x1920 but the smallest acceptable size is 1600x1200 pixels. That means if your pic is rejected for questions of noise, or for a slight sharpness problem, you can make it smaller and see if that fixes the problem. You might miss out on some juicier deals but it's better than nothing. Large format downloads cost 5$ (which means $1 for you) but but also tend to be less frequent than the $1 800x600 websized download. 1600x1200 is $3. There's also XL size (4200x2800,$10) and XXL size (4900x3300,$20-40) but these would require stitching or VERY expensive cameras/digital backs.

Attempt 3
Welcome to, the designer's dirty little secret. Congratulations, the iStockphoto administrators have determined that your images are commercially and technically ready for Please begin uploading at your convenience. There is currently a limit of 20 uploads per 168 hour period.

Have fun and welcome aboard.

Temple door: is ok
Tennis ball: is ok
Food: ok

Thank you for your time and effort.

Best Regards,

But who would pay a dollar for a temple door, a tennis ball, or a basket of vegetables?


Blogger schuey said...

this story was not only interesting but also damn hilarious !

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Mathieu said...

I don't get it, the temple door and the food shot are blurry... or is that from downsizing them? Can you post some 100% crops from them so we can really see the difference with the rejects?

8:03 PM  
Blogger gregoire said...


The food has short depth of field and overall lack of sharpness from being shot wide open with a crap lens. Then again, same thing could be said for the fan.

The temple door is an 8MP (about) scan of a medium 645 negative. I think I could even rescan it for an "XL" sized pic, especially considering scanning yields real pixels, not Bayer interpolated ones. With a drum scan, you could get 22MP out of it!

The tennis ball is sharp despite some playing around with levels and curves. Shooting it at f/14 helps.

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Mathieu said...

Thank you!

2:08 AM  
Blogger woman wandering said...

Nice work ... you had me smiling through out.

2:50 AM  

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