Attempt to Venture into Shutterstock

Today I made my first attempt to apply for Shutterstock. Submitted the first 10 photos and waiting for the result. Below is a collage of the 10 photos I submitted:

Submitted - smaller

In truth, even if I get approved for Shutterstock as well, its not likely that I’ll be raking in the money at my rate of only producing one photo in about 3 months… haha. However, I might as well try to get into more platforms so that I will have more chance of selling the photos.

Well, let’s just say its the first challenge to an amatuer such as myself to try to get in to Shutterstock as well as iStockphoto. (According to a forum post*, there are about 35,000 contributors on Shutterstock (April 2013) and about 78,000 contributors in iStockphoto (June 2012)… so if I get in, I can probably call myself part of the 100k microstockers in the world… (albeit the one with the lowest productivity and profit… haha))

Anyway, we’ll probably have the result from Shutterstock in a few days time… I’ll update you guys when I get the result.



Yay! My second photo sale (after a year!)


I’ve finally got my 2nd photo sale (from istockphoto) after over a whole year. Pathetic I know… but I still only have 10 photos in my whole portfolio. Talk about the laziest microstocker ever… haha 🙂

(Of course I’ve sold more times than that if you consider all the partner programs which is run together with iStock, but officially, its the second). Wonder how many years until the third? 🙂

Since the photo was sold just a day before the newest member of the UK royal family was born, I’m sure it was bought for something related. So I have to thank the little one… haha

I don’t think I’ve posted it so far, but my first sale a year ago was being used as some marketing material for an fashion site. Next time I’ll put up a post on it just to brag a bit.

Anyway, hope the person who bought the second photo would put it to good use (and hopefully use it online so that I can find it). 🙂

Some rocks, two walls and a lot of empty space…

Three more photos accepted for microstock. Although I don’t really foresee these selling, but at least it shows that the photos are of the minimum technical standard required. The next step is to take photos that are actually creative so that I can get actual sales. I do find that to get photos approved, you just need to leave a lot of copy space available and it usually suffices (but may not sell). Anyway, here are the photos below:

(BTW, so can you name the locations of the three photos? (*Hint, all are taken in England). At least one of them should be a clear giveaway, right?)

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

The (late) results report

From my last post, I was supposed to report on my submission outcomes and the rejection reasons…. but who likes to report rejects (which explains the more than one month delay in the post)? Anyway, as promised, here are the reasons given out of the five six photos I submitted.

Photo 1

Rejected because of Noise / Artifact. Basically, means that when viewed at full size, can see a lot of coloured speckles where it shouldn’t be or can see pixelating due to compression to JPEG.

Actually, I don’t really see much of this in my photo, but since it was set as “do not resubmit”, so I let go.

Photos 2 & 3
stock-photo-22194558-tiramisu-dessert stock-photo-22194461-gourmet-pasta

Both were rejected due to lighting / exposure problems which was fair since I basically had no properly lighting at the time (just having dinner at a dimly lit restaurant).

Photo 4
Actually this was ACCEPTED! To me honestly, this photo is pretty much the same as the previous two, so I’m not sure why it was accepted whereas the other two weren’t, but I guess it all boils down to different inspectors with slightly different criteria. Nevertheless, I’m happy for anything to get accepted (haha… talk about setting a low standard for oneself) 🙂

Photo 5
My son’s photo didn’t make it though. I guess as a dad, I’ll always end up loving his photo more than anyone else and affects my judgement.

The reason for rejection was Noise / Artifact and also Lighting / Exposure… so this one was pretty much a gone case.

Photo 6
This was also ACCEPTED.

The fact that I didn’t even mention this photo in my initial post was because of two reasons. Firstly, I’m not entirely proud of it. Secondly, since it was taken from my camera phone and I deliberately used a lot of ridiculous effects from phone apps to test the system.

Why would I take and submit such a photo? That’s because iStockphoto added a new category called “MobileStock” which is a collection of photos taken from mobile phones. I wanted to test what is the acceptance criteria for that collection (compared with the normal stock photos taken from DSLRs) and as expected, they accept a much lower quality. Although this is true, I can’t see myself uploading a lot of such photos since from what you see above, I’m no good with phone apps effects so I better stay away from it (I’ve seen people’s Instagram that looks way better than this).

So, the final result is only 2 out of 6 photos accepted from this round of submissions. Not too good since my average is coming down, but hope I can improve the next round.

Hope you learnt from my mistakes. 🙂


From my last post, out of the five photos I submitted, the two which I liked more have already been rejected. Sigh. Once all five results are out, I will post the reason for the rejections.

Could you guess which two I had slightly higher hopes for?

Now, to be honest, since the ones I had slightly higher hopes for have already been rejected, the rest should have no chance. However, if they were to pass, then it means that actually I have no clue what the inspectors are looking for. Haha… oh the dilemma, should I hope for the rest to pass and fail? 🙂

Microstock attempts… will any survive the inspectors review (onslaught)?

Well, to be honest, I personally don’t think I stand much chance, but since I’ve been lazy for so long, I thought I’ll just submit a few that I took recently. Actually these are all just snapshots from dinner outings and one was from the photomarathon I mentioned before where I took a bunch of random photos, so I don’t really have high hopes for them to pass.

Does it look likely that it will pass? What do you think? How many will pass / fail if you were judging based on what YOU think the standard of microstock photography is? Regardless of whether my photos actually pass or fail, this is probably a good gauge of whether YOU are overestimating or underestimating the difficulty of microstock. Try guessing and do let me know your prediction. (Of course, if it fails for technical reasons, then it is another matter since you cannot judge from such a small photo, but I think it will more likely fail for composition / creativity)

Who knows… if you are overestimating the difficulty, then probably it is high time you started stock photography on your own (click on the sign up button on the top right corner once the page loads) 🙂

(P.S. it usually takes max 2 weeks to get to know the results, so do check back to see if your guess is correct)

My second (first photo) sale

Just realised that the same photo which was my “first photo sale” was sold one more time in August. I’m really not keeping up to date with this thing much (because as you can see, the sales are coming in extremely slowly). On another note, until now, I still haven’t tried to upload another photo since my last rejection… so I’m still at 5 photos for my entire portfolio… got to improve on this!!!

Anyone else started microstock work recently and can share their experience with me?