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Wednesday
Jan272010

Istockphoto Diary #4: Kitchen Shots, One From Five

It's been months and months since I tried to upload any images to Istockphoto or Bigstockphoto, but inspired by an impromptu photo-shoot in the kitchen, I thought I'd dip my toes into the world of micro-stock photography once more.

So, the other day (on one of my rare days off), my wife was preparing a salad in the kitchen. I grabbed my Canon Eos 350d / Digital Rebel XT, snapped the 50mm EF f/1.8 lens on the front, then started shooting. I tried natural light, and some flash, and got some so-so photographs. I then had a look round the kitchen and took some images of some potatoes in a basket(!) and some bananas on a plate.

I decided to upload five images to the two stock sites I'm a member of, then it was just a matter of waiting. A couple of days later the emails started coming through.

First, the bad news. All five had been rejected by Bigstockphoto, for the following reason:

"We have enough of this subject already...sorry. More unique images will help your images stand out from the crowd."

Ah well. I didn't hold much hope for Istockphoto accepting any of the shots either, as they're often pickier than Bigstock, but a few days later I got an email saying that one did, the photo of the potatoes in a basket:

Potatoes In Basket


I took this with natural light coming in through the window to the left, with the 50mm set to f/2, at an ISO of 200, which gave a shutter speed of 1/80th of a second, right on the edge of what I can hand-hold before camera-shake becomes an issue. I kept post-processing to the bare minimum, just keeping everything looking as natural as possible.

With hindsight I could have shifted the potatoes around a bit to show them at their best - there's quite a few "eyes" and nobbly bits on display, not exactly perfect potatoes!

Next lets look at the rejects and Istockphotos reasons, to see what we can learn.

Bananas On White Plate


The bananas were rejected, for the following reasons:

-Flat/dull colors
-Direct on-camera flash and/or flash fall-off (bright subject, dark background)
-Harsh lighting with blown-out highlights that lack details and/or distracting shadows
-Distracting lens flares
-Incorrect white balance

Hmmm. Not sure I agree with all of those, but you can make your own mind up. I agree that the lighting could be better, so next time I think I'll play around with some kind of diffuser, perhaps some netting over the window to soften up the light.

Slicing Cucumbers


The Cucumber photo was rejected because:

-Flat/dull colors
-Direct on-camera flash and/or flash fall-off (bright subject, dark background)
-Harsh lighting with blown-out highlights that lack details and/or distracting shadows
-Distracting lens flares
-Incorrect white balance

I'd have to agree on this one. The skin tones are way off, and its all a little flat.

Chopped And Diced Red Onions


This is a bit of a naff photo, but the reasons given were:

-Flat/dull colors
-Direct on-camera flash and/or flash fall-off (bright subject, dark background)
-Harsh lighting with blown-out highlights that lack details and/or distracting shadows
-Distracting lens flares
-Incorrect white balance

Chopping Tomatoes


Rejection reasons:

"This file contains artifacting when viewed at full size. This technical issue is commonly created by the quality settings in-camera, in post-processing, in RAW settings or scanner settings. Artifacting can also be introduced into an image from the result of other factors such as excessive level adjustments."

Not surprising really, as I shot this at ISO 800, then used Noise Ninja to try and clean up the image.

Don't think that all is bad news when you get a rejection, Istockphoto always include some advice, and links to help and articles on their website.

Istock noise standards.

iStock lighting standards.

Lighting and Shadows.

Setting up your own home studio.

Custom White Balance.

Decent Exposure.

Few! So there we have it. Lots of articles to read, I know that I need to do some more research into what my expectation of what a "stock" photo should look like, and plenty of inspiration to keep trying and submitting!

Cheers, Rob.


Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for sharing these tips. Never thought about this myself. I enjoy your passion for photography. Inspiring.

February 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob v Elven

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