First Uploads at iStockphoto

I have taken my first baby steps into microstock photography!

I have been thinking about getting into microstock photography for a while. I like to think the idea originated from an interest to grow as a photographer, but to be honest I think my main motivation from the beginning was trying to find a way to make money from my shots the odd time I managed to capture something of interest to other people. I registered an account with Shutterstock over a year ago, but when I went through my old shots I didn’t see that much with commercial value and didn’t want to risk taking a blow to my confidence if they were not accepted. In the end I never submitted the batch of 10 photos in order to get accepted as an contributor and I decided that stock photography was not for me without even trying.

During the last year I feel I have grown as a photographer and thought that maybe I should give microstock a go anyway. This time, my motivation was actually more to learn to be more creative and pay more attention to details when taking photos than an illusion that I would make a lot of money of it. I still felt I had the same problem as last year that I didn’t really have 10 photos with clear commercial value, but since iStockphoto only required 3 shots for the application it seemed it would be easier to be accepted there.

I chose a stitched panorama of Mont Blanc, a macro of a bee on a flower and a couple of drink glasses on a table.

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc, stitched panorama of a lot of shots 🙂

A Bee

A Bee. I was quite happy with how this image turned out, but I don’t think macros of small critters are a good subject for the application shots.

Dinner Drink

Dinner Drinks. The background is way too cluttered and if it would be cleaner I think the composition is a bit off. This one I just threw in as a last photo and should have picked something else.

I was quite happy with the shots above (and still am) but I didn’t really think about what iStockphoto would like to see in my application and of course it was rejected.

Given that the reason I decide to never apply at Shutterstock a year ago was the fear of getting rejected you would think that I took this actual rejection pretty hard, but instead I felt really inspired. I knew I hadn’t approached this the way a normally do for an application and felt I could do much better when sending in the next batch of photos.

iStockphoto have a 3 day waiting period before applying for the second time so I started to think what I would include in the next application. For the first batch I didn’t understand that for the application shots no model releases are needed and copyright problems are not considered so I could have chosen better photos I rejected for those reasons, so from my existing photos I decided to use shot of powder skiing in Chamonix and a friend standing in a beautiful landscape on Achill Island, Ireland.


Powder skiing in Chamonix. Taken with Canon EOS 50D and Tamron 28-75 f/2.8.

Walking on Achill Island, Ireland. Taken with Panasonic GF3 and 14mm f/2.5.

For the third shot I intended to shot something completely new specifically for stock photography and decided to use an old radio I own. Instead of just shooting the radio as an object I thought about concepts that could include a radio and came up with a simple idea to have a hand turning one of the knobs to illustrate tuning in to a radio station.

Tuning in radio station

This shot is now also accepted as a regular upload.

I looked carefully at the photos to be sure they didn’t contain too much noise or other technical imperfections and then sent the application again.

The second application was accepted and I’m now a contributor on iStockphoto! Right now in the process of uploading my first batch of images. I’m not at all sure they will be accepted, but I feel this will be a great way to learn more and evolve as a photographer. In best case I can even make a few dollars form it 🙂


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