Sunday, March 16, 2008

Microstock: Poor Composition

Photography is an art. It is just another way of saying photography is subjective. Different people may have vastly different views on the same photograph. Unfortunately, in microstock, you always have to pass the reviewers, before your photo is accepted and put up for sale.

Reviewers are supposed to be experienced photographers and have enough experience in the microstock industry. However, they are still humans. They have their likes and dislikes, they have their own bias. One photo accepted in one stock site does not guarantee the acceptance at another.

For example, this photo of part of the dome in Florence, Italy, is accepted by Shutterstock, but has been rejected by Dreamstime for poor composition. In general, the reviewers are right. In this case, even though the photo was accepted by Shutterstock, the sales numbers are really small, so probably the Dreamstime reviewer is right.

1 comment:

  1. I'm picking on a detail, but I wouldn't say the Dreamstime reviewer was "right" to reject this photo. As you say, it's subjective, so there's no right, wrong, good or bad. That's why the rejections use the word 'poor composition' in place of 'bad composition' or 'wrong composition'.

    If the sales this image achieved at Shutterstock are, as you say, "low" rather than 'no sales', then you could argue the Shutterstock reviewer's decision was more commercially sound, as the image has earned commercial value by appealing to a buyer enough for them to download it.

    There are many photos that are considered masterpieces by the art world which fail all the guidelines of 'good' or 'right' composition. Such images probably wouldn't sell well in the microstock market as their commercial value is so much lower than their artistic value.

    I'd like to know how to tell what makes a photo artistically brilliant, but I'm finding it much easier to tell which photos are commercially appealing. Hopefully the inspectors can tell what's commercial too.