Let’s begin with a bit of background. I’m a computer programmer by trade, Purdue Class of ’96 in Computer Science and I’m currently unemployed. Not the “OMG, if I don’t find a job soon I’m going to be homeless” sort of unemployed but more along the lines of, “I’m unemployed, maybe it’s time to reinvent myself and choose a whole new way of making a living” sort of unemployed. I realize that this is a massive luxury that most people don’t have so hold your boos of derision for the end. I get it that I’m among the 2% if not the 1%.
Since I was let go I’ve pondered rather fitfully the eternal question of “what to do next?” I’m endlessly amused by the written word so the idea of writing… something… occurs repeatedly but I’m absolutely clueless how to break into that vocation or anything related to it. I also tend to go out and photograph things (see, “things”… just the sort of wonderfully specific word that a writer would use. You can tell I’m the next Henry James can’t you?) and since photography is reasonably in demand I dipped my proverbial toe into the proverbial water of stock photography. The initial result of which is to verify that I don’t know a damn thing about stock photography.
I chose as my first point of submission Shutterstock which, after more careful perusal, appears to be a royal pain to get into. They require an initial portfolio of ten photos with detailed descriptions and to qualify you must have 7 of 10 photos “accepted” based on some rather nebulous set of criteria. Below find my ten submissions and Shutterstock’s response to them. As well as my own thoughts after having been rejected.
This is the one photo they did find acceptable. It’s a fish-eye view of fall foliage from above and below in a Lafayette park. Personally I like it but it has a rather other-world quality that creeps me about a bit. I don’t consider it my best work but people seem to like it. I don’t claim to understand exactly why but it’s probably that lack of understanding that makes this at least a somewhat doomed prospect.
This was rejected for “Poor framing, cropping, and/or overall image composition” just as all the images except for #10 were. Again, personally, I like this shot. It has an interesting perspective, the name tag is in the lower left but just as ghostly presence, lots of contrasting colors. The only thing that bugs me is the appearance of the trees on the right but they do offer an interesting counterpoint. Not quite seeing the argument against I suppose unless it’s just so damn cliche.
Really this one is a demonstration of texture. Nothing magical really but the color here is just off the scale. I could be argued that this is junk but on the surface it seems a reasonable example.
OK, I accept that this one is probably in the “holiday snaps” category. You had to be there. But Crater Lake is just so COOL! *shrug* I accept this rejection.
Alright, well I don’t care what anyone says, I like this picture, though maybe it’s one of those “you had to be there” shots too.
I could see plenty of arguments against this one too, I suppose…
A bit cliche too perhaps. Basically just another #2 honestly.
I like this shot too but perhaps it’s too hard to tell what exactly is going on?
I can understand if this is rejected as it is just terribly depressing but it still manages to move me. Probably because it is just so idiotically depressing to think about it.
And this last was rejected due to poor focus. I’m not sure I see that but I allow that it’s possible. The tree bits in the foreground aren’t happy, looking at it in retrospect.
So there you have it in a nutshell. At the least it’s clear that I have no idea how to chose what will sell in the realm of stock photos. It would seem this needs some detailed analysis that I just haven’t done yet. I’m trying to do something artistic while they just want… marketing. Ah well.