iStock - Stock Photography Training Manual

4.0 Quality Standards

4.2 Suitability

In addition to technical quality, iStock judges images on their suitability as stock. Stock images need to be useful to designers. An image is suitable as stock when it has a well-defined subject, care has gone into the composition, and it describes or shows an object or concept clearly. The difference between a stock photograph and a snap shot comes down to the thought and direction that goes in before hand.

Images may come in a variety of concepts or literal representations. They may demonstrate different degrees of technical execution and overall production. However, if an image is just thrown together – a snapshot – then it won't work at all for a designer and is not suitable for iStock.

Before you press the shutter, think about your topic and what you're trying to create. Have a clear idea and try to execute it in the best way possible.

  • Have an idea and plan ahead. Don't snap everything and settle for accidents.
  • Look at what you're shooting and give it some thought. Always ask yourself: What is the best way to approach this subject, and how should I try to show it to get across the idea I want to share?
  • Move around and explore more than your immediate environment. Resist snapping the things laying on your desk or in your garden.
  • Think about more than just the main subject. Stop and look around the viewfinder. What is visible and what shouldn't be? What should be visible that's cut off? Always look at your frame with the whole composition in mind.

Please read this article for more examples of useful stock images and snapshots.

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