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Why do images get rejected?

If you’re marketing your images then hopefully all over the world art directors and graphic designers are looking at them and deciding whether to use them or not. Often the reason an image gets rejected is not something you may think of as photographer who’s taken care the image is sharp, well exposed and wonderfully composed.

Here are three common reasons. Firstly, within the image there is not enough ‘neutral’ space where copy can be inserted. Although an image with a large chunk of nothingness may not do well in a picture critique it is definitely something graphic designers look for.

A second reason is that the subject is difficult to cut-out. Frequently designers need to be able to cut something out from the background, so tight crops and busy backgrounds will make it difficult for them.

Thirdly, if you want to get an image on the front cover of a magazine or brochure it usually needs to be shot in portrait format. Landscape format limits useability, so it’s best to shoot both formats if you can.

Your images should be pristine in terms of the removal of blemishes like white spots, dust bunnies etc. If it had been mine I would have cloned the cone out. Never assume anything. The caveat though is really heavily manipulated images, seriously oversaturated, levels and curves pushed to the limit and sharpening should not be done by the photographer.

One other thing when you hand your image over that's it. I've had several badly cropped by designers or flipped to fit in with the design. No sense in being precious about it. This is also something to bear in mind when critiquing other photographers published work. Unfortunately we don't control the way our images are presented.

The most basic rule when submitting work to magazines, or other media, is to find out what the client requires - exactly.

However in my experience it also depends on who you talk to at the client's and sometimes a designer may try to get you do part of their job. Where do you draw the line? Just send them a tiff or jpeg or do you get it print ready so they can just drop it in. Remember time is money so where exactly the boundary is between your job as a photographer and the designers job is something that needs to be clarified with the particular client. Don't give in too easily but also of course don't upset the client.

I love negotiating and sometimes you'd be surprised what you can achieve.


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