Stock Photography Training Manual

3.0 Quality Standards

3.1 What We're Looking For

iStock has millions of images. There are subjects that we always need more variety in, and others that have been picked clean. Search iStock and explore what's been done before in great detail. If you're tackling a common subject, approach it in a different fashion and with your own style. Better yet, look for missing items in the collection and fill them in.

Images that iStock does need:

  • Corporate shots: Illustrate the many sides of modern business.
  • Concepts and Visual Metaphors: Go beyond the literal, and help a designer explain something in a new way.
  • Food and Beverages: Cuisines from around the globe.
  • Groups & Teams: People working together.
  • Holiday & Seasonal Themes: Show all the ways we celebrate. Include more than religious celebrations; let's see local festivals and customs as well.
  • Non-Business Jobs: The word is filled with mechanics, garbage men, baristas, and more.
  • People Interacting: Human interaction is a constant in this world.
  • Religion and Spirituality: The rich tapestry of the world's beliefs.
  • Science and Technology: Accurate and true depictions of the cutting edge of human knowledge.
  • Social Issues: Poignant looks into the issues that impact us.
  • Sports: For fun, for fitness, for glory. We'd love to see more team sports.

Images that iStock does not need:

  • 3D – Simple Renders: Go beyond the easy and obvious presets.
  • 3D – Extruded Text: Simple 3D text is not enough.
  • 3D – Simplistic Modeling: Spend more time with your polygons.
  • Airplane Wings (& out the window shots): Wait until you land to shoot the vacation shots.
  • Flags: 3D or real, give us something more than the basic flags.
  • Light Blurs: Fun for photo clubs, but rarely is it good stock.
  • Nature Snap Shots: Sweeping vistas and insect macros are great – yet another forest floor is not.
  • Photoshop Backgrounds, Fractals: We've all had fun with filters. Designers are looking for images that they can't quickly make themselves with a few button pushes.
  • People Doing Nothing: Get your models doing something!
  • Shadows of People, Headless People: Photograph people or do not. There is no try.
  • Single Apples (or Green Peppers or Oranges) Isolated on White: The day of the single fruit isolated on white has passed.
  • Sunsets, Cloudscapes, Skies: Be sure the sky really is stunning before uploading.
  • Symbols: !$%@ – Whether rendered or photographed, typographic symbols are less interesting than you think.
  • Your Immediate Environment: There's life beyond your front door!

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