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PHOTO: Teacups, etc: Confused about lighting rejections

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Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloads
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:14AM
I'm starting a new thread because my last one was locked. I have read every thing published on submission standards, but it doesn't seem consistent with the rejection responses.

I'm really puzzled about lighting standards. I've had several images rejected for the blanket lighting rejection.

Here's a few:




In every case the files are carefully lit, exact in white balance (I shoot product catalogs), no flare, in short, nothing technically wrong. The above were all rejected for:

-Flat/dull colors
-Direct on-camera flash and/or flash fall-off (bright subject, dark background)
-Harsh lighting with blown-out highlights that lack details and/or distracting shadows
- Distracting lens flares
-Incorrect white balance

But this image was just accepted. When I submitted this I was expecting it to get the boot because it is kinda flat.


My frustration is there's a reason they are not taking the first photos, but it isn't the reason they stated.

I was a magazine art director and uses hundreds of iStock photos and have spent hours in the files, so I know the quality standards are quite variable.Perhaps that's just old stuff still in the system that got in before standards improved, but I'd love to have some meanigfull idea of how to make images acceptable.

Is this a bit of luck of the draw for the reviewer you get? 

Thanks for any help.




(Edited on 2013-01-23 11:10:41 by donald_gruener)
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusive
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:25AM
To get the best from the feedback here, people need to see what the inspectors saw. So you need to post fullsize watermarked images as per the instructions in the "Read This First" thread at the top of this forum.

Having said that,  the first image is a pile of random crockery, an awkward crop, and slightly underexposed. Second image a lot of distracting shadows and highlights, and the cloth background is sort of messy too. Third shot, food looks slightly underexposed, with an awkward, rather uninteresting crop and corners of background cut off.

I think it fair to say that images that are marginal in subject and composition tend to be harder to get accepted here than images having a stronger subject and compostion.

(Edited on 2013-01-23 10:35:06 by Difydave)
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Illustration downloadsExclusiveForum Moderator
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:09AM
In your thread that was locked, Forum Moderator kelvinjay suggested you have a read through the READ THIS FIRST thread which instructs you on how to go about creating an effective critique thread, including first and foremost, placing the full resolution files online and linking us to them so we can see what the Inspector saw. Any feedback you receive based on the thumbnail images may not reveal all levels of the issues.

There's also some stuff in the Read This First about how to title your threads but I'll just fix that for you myself.

At a glance, your lighting doesn't look terrible, but again, let us see the full sized files and we can give you a more reliable analysis - thanks!
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloads
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:58PM
Thanks for helping me understand this.

Here's the full sized images. If as has been sugested these are dim, It's easy enough to reprocess the raw to make them brighter. That's exatly the sort of feedback I'd love to have.

Thanks, Tom

(Edited on 2013-01-23 13:05:06 by kachadurian)

(Edited on 2013-01-23 13:41:17 by kelvinjay)
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto Illustrator
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:12PM
The top one isn't too bad but the crop is a bit awkward, brightening it up slightly would help.

The one of the tea cups, I'd guess the problem is the distracting bright out of focus background which draws the eye away from the in focus darker portion of the image. Istock inspectors, in my experience (which isn't recent as I haven't submitted photos for a while) will almost always reject images with bright out of focus backgrounds and dark foreground shadows unless there is a good artistic reason for it.
The whatever it is in the sieve has the main subject dark-in the thumbnail I really couldn't work out what was in the sieve, although it's clearer in the full size.

To be honest I'm suprised the potatoes in the wheel barrow made it in-a bit dark and shadowy. I would guess pretty much all these are borderline as far as lighting goes and with borderline, one inspector would let it through and another might not

I'd say think a bit bright and shinier, make sure that even at thumb size the subject is clear, and avoid dark shadows unless you intentionally want to go for that look (and in still life of food type subjects you probably don't as food and kitchen photography is still ultra bright and shiny in all the publications I see)
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