This week I made my submission to iStockPhoto to setup an account as a contributing photographer.  The process was fairly straigh forward, you need to create your basic account, the standard username, password, email etc, nothing too exciting. Then they guide you through a pretty comprehensive description of what they consider to be good quality photos.  There are basic guidelines you have to follow for your submissions, you can find details of the quality requirements here and the image types/sizes here

As you go through the enrollment they show you examples of good and bad examples based upon the rules defined in the quality section. The process really does make you think about the entire process and how an external person will view your photography and judge the intricate details of what you’re going to submit.
After you’ve been through the good and bad examples, you’re given a little test to prove that you haven’t just been clicking next on the pages, I passed with flying colours! oh yeah… but that is the easiest part of all…

The final section of the application for becoming a contributor is that you have to submit three images for them to judge you by. That part was pretty nerve wracking, looking through my gallery to find 3 that I felt represented me and were of a high enough quality made me think quite a bit about what they might be looking for in the shots.  Ultimately they don’t have to be ones on their short list of what they would like for stock, it’s primarily to make sure they seperate the wheat from the chaff and I really hope I don’t end up being a big pile of chaff…

I found this nice little section regarding the amount of time it takes to get the submissions reviewed…

Why were the samples I provided with my photographer application subsequently rejected?

The photographer application process is designed to help educate potential photographers about iStockphoto submission process and give us an idea of the overall technical and subjective quality of your work. The samples provided in an application may not be reviewed with the same stringency as photographs submitted for inclusion in the library. (If there is a minor problem with your samples the Inspector who reviews your applications will provide feedback). Also, we have many reviewers, and though they follow a list of guidelines, they each ultimately make there own a decision about photographer upload and photo submissions.

Based upon that, I should hopefully hear within my lifetime… so now the clock is ticking, hopefully I will be successful, although with the statement above, it’s quite subjective, so hopefully it will be someone who likes my style…

One of the main reasons I chose iStockPhoto over all the other stock libraries is that there are a few levels of entry, so you can move up in ranks and also there are routes into Getty Images and that is ultimately where I would like to be.  iStockPhoto is a good starting point though, as I said, as long as I make it in there. Also, for iStockPhoto they have a list of images that they would like to be submitted and do not need.  I guess this ensures you can really focus on the right kind of photos to be noticed and hopefully generate a reasonable income from your stock. I’m currently reviewing the list to see if I can identify some areas of interest… if you want to see the list for yourself, it’s here

If anyone has been successful in creating an iStockPhoto account, I’d love to hear how the process went for you, how long it took and what the feedback was like…

I’ll keep you updated on how the application progresses and if I’m successful I’ll write a few more lines on the other criteria they specify when submitting stock.

Take care, keep shooting (not guns, unless it’s a flash gun)

Paul Stoakes
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