Taking Stock: Why Doesn’t iStockPhoto Like My Shrooms?

I’ve taken and sold stock photos for about six years now, and it’s a great way to build passive income.  Plus, it’s a super cool thing to talk about in job interviews because a surprisingly large number of people have no idea where magazines, book covers, TV shows, frame people and billboards get their photos and I get to be all “Well, let me enlighten you…”  Plus, I don’t know a lot about the financial industry so I can’t talk about sophisticated stuff like stock derivatives or margin calls or otherwise use Wall Street words accurately in a conversation but it makes me sound like I can when I talk about “passive income” and how selling pictures of my kids helps me build it. See?  Win/win.

About a year or two ago, I went exclusive with one agency, iStockPhoto.  Say what you will about how they’ve helped commoditize photography (I think they totally did and I think that’s totally OK), they are the most recognizable brand out there right now.  Their purchase by Getty Images how many ever years ago that was helped legitimize them.  Now, I can tell people I sell photos for a subsidiary of Getty Images.  SUPER COOL and completely accurate.  I had sold at a few other agencies but didn’t see nearly the traffic that I did at iStock.  Plus, going exclusive allowed me a larger percentage of each sale, as well as free Moo cards.  AWESOME!

So anyway, having sold there for so long and having gone exclusive doesn’t exempt one from the rigorous approval process when you submit a new photo for inclusion in your portfolio.  I have tried to have these two photos accepted twice now, and twice now I’ve gotten REJECTED:

mushrooms, shrooms, iStock Photo, rejection, stock photographymushrooms, shrooms, iStock Photo, rejection, stock photography

The first time, it was because the image had artifacting.  Translation:  one too many a pass with Unsharp Mask.  Lesson learned.  Second time?  Too dark.  Huh?  Can’t the designer just lighten it post-purchase?  Ugh.

For a while there I was in quite a state because part of being exclusive is that your acceptance to rejection ratio has to stay above a certain number.  I have no clue what that number is because for a long time, nothing I sent got rejected.  Having been stuffed twice in two tries, I got all paranoid.  Am I still good enough?  Do I really know how to take pictures?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

But then I calmed down and was all “I know what it is…iStockPhoto hates mushrooms.”

Yeah, that’s totally it.




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