Before submitting large batches of photos, we highly recommend reading through the following examples of some of the most common mistakes and reasons for removal as our requirements may be different from other sites you are used to.
By following these simple tips, not only should this help you steer clear of any submission complications and wasted time, but also increase your chances of commercial success.
Envato does not currently have an editorial collection, so such content should be avoided completely. Photos where people could potentially recognize themselves in the context (even if the face is not visible) require signed model releases.
Unless a model release is supplied for each person in this photo, it would be rejected.
Think of all the stereotypes that stock photography has produced over the years, from the smiling woman eating salad to the cliché business handshake. Now more than ever, designers are looking for photos that genuinely reflect the world we live in and that their customers can more easily relate to.
Here the isolation is a bit rough/imprecise, and overall it’s very obvious the model was pasted in front of an artificially blurred background, this will get rejected.
Here’s a similar subject but the model was actually shot inside a real building using natural lighting. The result is much more authentic, convincing and useful. View our tips on creating authentic looking content.
When shooting, always keep your target audience in mind, both who may want to use your images and how. And of course, make sure your photos have a proper composition, lighting, and exposure.
While the animal itself may make for a good subject, it’s just a random animal snapshot with a random composition, significantly limiting the commercial utility.
Here, on the other hand, we have nice composition and lighting. This could easily be used to advertise dog food, a veterinarian clinic, a pet store, etc.
Here it’s as if someone randomly took a picture pointed towards the ground. Not only is it uninteresting and poorly executed, but there are very few chances of it ever being used.
The same subject but shot from a different angle, with short depth of field, copy space, stronger composition, and better lighting, could easily be used to advertise lawn maintenance products or services for example.
Noise / Grain / Pixel Discoloration
Camera sensors have improved considerably over the years, but certain circumstances can still introduce undesirable noise in the image. Generally speaking, the ISO setting should be set towards the lower setting (some DSLRs will perform better than others at higher ISO). That, combined with proper lighting and exposure, will always be your safest bet to avoid issues with noise. If your image was underexposed to start with, once you correct the exposure, you are more likely to see noise and artefacts appear.
Always check your image at 100% resolution for any noise or other technical issues before submitting, sometimes a healthy downsize might be required.
This would be rejected. The color noise is simply too visible.
Too much noise reduction was applied here. We'd rather see a nice image with slight grain, than an image ruined by too much noise reduction.
We are really looking for authentic content and for that reason, these types of images should be avoided even if they have their own artistic merit and commercial utility. We’d rather let the customer decide the text they need for their projects.
This second image would be more useful if submitted as an editable graphics template or mock-up in the Graphics category
Photos where text or letters are actually part of the photographed subject (and not artificially added) may be acceptable.
Sometimes a photo may be too blurry due to camera shake or the focus having simply locked on the wrong part of the subject. In these cases, the images are not acceptable.
Here, the face of the model is out of focus. The camera locked the focus on the arm instead of the face. It’s important that before you submit your photos that you check them at 100% view. If the photo is breathtaking but the focus is just slightly soft and that’s the only issue, you might be able to save it by downsizing.
Here the focus is sharp and acceptable.
You can often enhance and bring out the best in your photos with proper adjustments and editing, but it’s important not to overdo it. Images should look as natural as possible (no added sun effects, lens flares, heavy vignetting, retro filters, etc).
When viewed at 100%, we can see this image is over-sharpened. It has introduced jagged lines and also increased the noise, and is not acceptable.
A yellow tint was added along with heavy vignetting, which is not acceptable.
There’s an endless possibility of filters out there, and exploring them can be a lot of fun. That said, it often limits how the photo can be used. It’s easy for customers to add effects if they want to, but removing them is often impossible.
Lighting should always flatter the subject, not be too harsh or too soft. When shooting in natural light it’s very important to choose your timing. Dawn and dusk can provide warm, soft lighting that can be great not only for portraits but also landscapes. The worst time to go out with your camera is on a bright sunny day between 10h00 and 14h00. That’s when the sun is at its highest and creates the harshest shadows that are rarely flattering to any subject.
Here’s a typical kid snapshot where the lighting is too harsh. This could be addressed by shooting earlier or later in the day, using reflectors and/or artificial lighting to help fill in the shadows.
In this example, natural light was also used (the light coming through the window and reflecting on the book) but in a more balanced and flattering manner, and makes good use of the overall environment to naturally enhance the image.
Here we have a beautiful image, but the horizon is just slightly tilted to the left (we rotated it intentionally), resulting in a distracting composition. When shooting landscapes, it’s important to make sure the horizon is level, as the author did with the original version below.
Here the horizon is level resulting in a much better composition.
It’s possible to adjust a photo’s exposure in post-processing, but it’s always better to try to get it right in camera. If you need to make adjustments later on, make sure excessive noise or other artefacts weren’t introduced in the process. Your monitor should also be properly calibrated.
This photo is underexposed. Even the brightest highlights are grey and the image is overall too dark.
This photo is overexposed. Most of the highlights are blown-out and a lot of detail is being lost, and the skin has a yellowish cast.
This photo is properly exposed, detail is preserved, and colors look natural.
Trademark use and real world products
No photos should contain logos, trademarks, or certain objects with IP protected designs as the main subject, such as iPhones (unless they are edited to look generic), iPads, recent cars, recent motorcycles, etc.
In this photo, there’s a Yamaha logo visible on the gas tank. Even if the focus is on the handlebars and the logo is a bit soft, all logos and IP need to be completely and properly removed from the images before they are submitted.
Photos with blurred or poorly removed logos should not be submitted.
Here the logo has been removed properly with no visible evidence or undesirable artifacts remaining, this is acceptable.
Sensor Spots / Dust / Dirt
Sensor spots are often visible on bright areas like skies. They are usually the result of dust on the camera sensor, lens, or both. Dirt can also be present on your subject (a greasy fingerprint or hair on the side of a dish isn’t very appetizing). The effort you put into preparing your subject and executing your photo will save you a lot of time in post-processing.
When viewed at 100%, the sensor spots are clearly visible and should be properly removed.
Travel Snapshot vs. Travel Photography
Most of us love taking pictures while traveling - it’s a great way to remember where we’ve been and what we’ve done, and to share with friends and family. But some of these pictures are better to remain just that - souvenirs.
Here’s a snapshot of a small motel. Poor lighting (direct flash), cluttered and random composition. Overall it’s simply poor quality and has very limited commercial utility.
Here’s a proper example of travel photography. With these kinds of photos the tags and description are also very important, so customers know where it was taken and are able to find the right image for their specific needs. Because this type of photography is more common, we will be extremely selective and only the very best should be submitted.
For more information, you can view our article on travel photography.
Too Similar / Repeated / Spamming
We encourage you to take many pictures when shooting to make sure you get the perfect shots where the lighting, subject, expressions all come together at the right moment. However, please do not simply upload the entire photoshoot and expect us to choose the best ones for you. Customers like to see related images that work well together and variants of a concept, but not dozens of photos taken only seconds apart or with no meaningful difference. Please go through your photoshoots and only upload the most distinctive and very best shots.
There are lots of unique and important moments that can happen in sports, but don’t simply submit your photos from the entire game. Submitting batches of overly similar images will be flagged as spamming and may impact your account status.
Can you spot the difference? These shots were likely taken seconds apart, and uploading more than one of these would not be acceptable.
These two shots are similar, but each has captured a unique moment. This would be acceptable and useful. Make sure to use your best judgement and avoid potential submission spamming.
When shooting photos or isolated objects, avoid cropping out only a tiny portion of the object. Like in this example, the butterfly could easily be integrated into different designs, but because the tip of the wings is missing, it greatly reduces its usability. Images should not contain an excessive amount of negative space either, the subject should fill the frame.
Here you can see the subject is complete, the background is pure white and it’s easy to paste it on any white background without further editing.