Post-processing for stock photo submission

Tyroop

EOS 80D
Jun 30, 2013
124
12
I'm trying my hand at some stock photography again. My experience with Fotolia wasn't very successful and I'm hoping Adobe Stock will be better. I think I have just made my first mistake. I spent some time today post-processing 20 images and concentrating on keywords. No matter how good a photo is, if no one can find it there won't be any sales, hence the importance of keywords. This evening I looked at some of my competition. That was the mistake - I should have looked first before post-processing and uploading my own images.

Admittedly, the stock images I have looked at are quite catching, but - without exception - they are all saturated to hell. There are blue skies, seas and foliage, the colour of which you never see naturally. The images look like picture postcards, not normal photos. To get the same effect I would have to set my saturation level to 80% plus, in addition to winding up other settings. My post-processing technique has always been to recreate a fairly natural look, but at a quick glance, my natural-looking images look quite dull compared to the massively oversaturated versions.

Any suggestions? Virtually every stock image I have seen is enormously oversaturated, so it looks like the thing to do. Should I just forget trying to achieve a natural look? I can probably replicate the other images, but to me it seems a very unnatural thing to do. Presumably, they are processed this way purely to catch a viewer's attention quickly (so they sell) and looking natural isn't the point. Any general tips for PP for stock? I have very little experience.
 

Labdoc

EOS 80D
Mar 23, 2016
132
26
60
USA
Yes, they like oversaturation and sharpness especially the eyes. Look at most pics on the net, that's what people like and that's where a lot of these photos are used. I push the vibrance up in LR and keep the saturation at near normal. You get what they want without totally ruining everything. JMO
 
  • Like
Reactions: stevelee

Tyroop

EOS 80D
Jun 30, 2013
124
12
Labdoc, thanks for a quick reply. It reminds me of listening to audio systems years ago. The shops played demo systems with tone controls turned up to the max. The sound was impressive in the shop, but very fatiguing if you listened that way all the time. These oversaturated images look catchy at first, but the effect soon wears off. But still, if you are trying to sell something and this is what people want, that's what you have to do. I'm wondering now how many of my images will be rejected. If so, I may have to turn the saturation way up and submit them again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Labdoc

Labdoc

EOS 80D
Mar 23, 2016
132
26
60
USA
Labdoc, thanks for a quick reply. It reminds me of listening to audio systems years ago. The shops played demo systems with tone controls turned up to the max. The sound was impressive in the shop, but very fatiguing if you listened that way all the time. These oversaturated images look catchy at first, but the effect soon wears off. But still, if you are trying to sell something and this is what people want, that's what you have to do. I'm wondering now how many of my images will be rejected. If so, I may have to turn the saturation way up and submit them again.
They mostly reject some of mine because of lack of sharpness, what they call processing artifacts and "have no commercial value". Of the stock sites I use adobestock is the most picky.
 

Tyroop

EOS 80D
Jun 30, 2013
124
12
The images I uploaded were noise-free and sharp (but not massively saturated). "Commercial value" is highly subjective. The editor of an in-flight magazine contacted me earlier this year requesting a specific image from my website for an article they were writing. It was one of my poorest photos (taken with a 10D years ago) and I would have considered that it had no commercial value at all, but someone was willing to pay me for it. The bottom line with stock sites is that you are at the mercy of whoever who is reviewing the images.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Labdoc

Tyroop

EOS 80D
Jun 30, 2013
124
12
Quick update for anyone interested. Out of 20 images submitted, 10 were accepted, 9 rejected, and waiting for a decision on 1 more. Three rejected for intellectual property violations - a person, a building and a mural. Three for lack of aesthetic or commercial appeal - fair enough. Two for grain/noise, although they look OK to me. One out of focus - it was a panned shot of a cyclist taken at 1/15s!

I'm quite enjoying the experience so far. Seeing what gets accepted and rejected gives insights into the stock photography business and the high standards will make me concentrate more on my photography. In addition, now that I have a few images in my portfolio there's a chance that I might actually make a little money.
 

cayenne

EOR R
Mar 28, 2012
2,032
164
For submitting to Adobe stock, do you have to also be a CC subscriber/member?