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Operation "decline everything". Anybody else noticed a change?


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Are "bots" used to decide focus/noise/grain issues? Because if they are they are simply not working. By now I should know what a focused subject looks like and whether noise or blurriness is an issue. 

These declines (which today have been 100% of submitted shots) have been made within just a couple of minutes of submission and for both commercial and editorial shots.

I've submitted with different subjects, different times of day and different cameras used - the result always the same - reject

If a human is involved in such a quick timescale then they are clearly declining to order, not by assessment. If its a robot then it's broken.

What the hell is going on ? Why is it so hard to get a human to give a second opinion as perfectly saleable stock is getting overlooked and thousands of hours of contributors time wasted?

If this is a result of the pandemic and Shutterstock are relying on robotic rejections then this is a massive mistake. It's demoralizing

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Hi Dave this has been going on for months general consensus is to keep uploading until they get accepted but I gave up in June after the price dropped to 10 cents. I did try 2 editorial images which are current to the topics in news at the moment and still noise and focus issues and they were fine as were accepted by DT and P5 - my thoughts are 2 things here it is a bot (badly trained IMHO) and or SS just don't want anymore content and are cherry picking? anyway this is just my personal take on it...

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Dave, 

As I recall, the new CEO included in a statement he made to the media, that reviews were now being done by AI.  This was quoted in an earlier thread shortly after the new contributor payment structure was announced.  Sorry, I did not find the thread and can not give you the exact quote. 

As already been suggested, I would resubmit your rejections (after double checking them).  I had a focus stacked image rejected for "FOCUS" which I found amusing.  I resubmitted it and it was accepted.  Obviously, their AI is not very intelligent. 

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13 hours ago, Dave Smith 1965 said:

the result always the same - reject

Dave, criteria have become kind of stricter and the general rate of rejection have increased in the last months, there is a good consensus about that on the forums. I should say that my personal experience is that while on some specific photos there are acceptance problems, I guess due to AI misinterpreting something, or maybe sometimes for legit reasons, my current acceptance rate is extremely high, I would say around 90%, even with photos taken with the mobile phone and edited in the phone itself (by the way I use the snapseed app, would encourage everyone to try it).

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2 hours ago, Ackab Photography said:

even with photos taken with the mobile phone and edited in the phone itself (by the way I use the snapseed app, would encourage everyone to try it).

I use Snapseed for quick edits and posting to social media like instagram and facebook.  But haven't used it for stock yet because I don't see a noise reduction feature. How do manage noise with snapseed?

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As for the topic at hand, I do see some rejections but only a very few of them are unjustified. Mostly, the rejections happen when I'm taking a gamble with a picture that I know is not all there technically. They would have been accepted a few months ago when the reviews were more lenient. So yeah, I think they've become a bit stricter. I have no complaints. There are other sites where they get accepted and sell.

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4 minutes ago, balajisrinivasan said:

I use Snapseed for quick edits and posting to social media like instagram and facebook.  But haven't used it for stock yet because I don't see a noise reduction feature. How do manage noise with snapseed?

I don't, I have an Huawei p30 and the photos are good enough not to require any noise reduction. Especially in decent light.

stock-photo-rome-italy-november-lime-sco

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Images from my original SE were accepted until this year, now they are rejected for noise and grain. Could be the others slipped past or the computer doing the reviews has been updated to a high standard.

I take the photos off the phone and put them on a desktop full size, then edit, so unless the auto edit on the phone is better than Photoshop, I'd voting for, the standards have been tightened. Why not, my phone isn't as good as the current models? I'll keep snapping when I'm someplace and don't have a real camera.

That image is nice and sharp and good color @Ackab Photography what phone is it?

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7 hours ago, Ackab Photography said:

Huawei p30

DOH I misread your message the first time to say "I don't have a Huawei p30" damn Seniors, first the ears, then the eyes, and now I can't read? 😉

Nice sharp image and great color.

40 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/1.7", PDAF, Laser AF
8 MP, f/2.4, 80mm (telephoto), 1/4.0", PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
16 MP, f/2.2, 17mm (ultrawide), PDAF, Laser AF

Looks like good fun.

 

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I was also rejected many times, actualy all photos from last month were rejected. Same reason, noise and focus, default. 

But last night, I submited 6 photos, made with my Samsung A71 with night mode and the light was not so good (living room in the evening) and all 6 was accepted within a few minutes.

I was suprised, very.

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Well I wish there was a way to explain that fireflies at night, in the trees are supposed to look like dots of light? Does the AI computer or the people in India know what a firefly is?

Exposure: Content is underexposed, overexposed, or is inconsistently exposed.

It's a single frame, time exposure, yeah the trees are under exposed to get the dots of lightning bugs. Checked, uploaded again...

Post-Production Technique: Content has quality issues due to post-production techniques such as cloning or compositing.

Why would I clone a single image? I didn't compose anything, it's the full frame of the shot.

Two times is enough, and it's not a world beater anyway. But honestly, at least make up a realistic rejection reason.

Another one:

Noise / Film Grain : Content contains chrominance noise, luminance noise, sharpening noise, or film grain that detracts from the main subject.

checked, downsized

Focus: The main subject is out of focus or is not in focus due to camera shake, motion blur, overuse of noise reduction, or technical limitations of the equipment used (e.g. autofocus searching, camera sensor quality, etc).

BLAAAAA!

bullshit-1.gif

I'll just add this, maybe people will see the update and maybe not. It isn't important. The last commented image, I selected, then hit the sky with more Gaussian Blur, then I refined the edges of the structure portion to make better as in sharper edges. Approved. The problem wasn't focus or grain or noise actually, but edge sharpness between the background and the foreground subject. Done, that was educational. I don't often have rejections like that.

(there was a photo here, which is gone now)

No... lightning bugs in trees at night is just going into the "other" section. Not enough time or potential to keep trying with that one. Moving on.

 

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Hi Dave:

First, You have a nice portfolio.  You are likely correct that something is changing.  I would suggest you keep submitting photos, maybe wait until the storm passes, and I can give one good reason to keep on keeping on:  Shutterstock is in an excellent position to be sold to someone else and things would then improve for contributors as well as for reviewers..

Best of luck whatever happens.

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On 12/5/2020 at 9:06 PM, Theodore Trimmer said:

Hi Dave:

First, You have a nice portfolio.  You are likely correct that something is changing.  I would suggest you keep submitting photos, maybe wait until the storm passes, and I can give one good reason to keep on keeping on:  Shutterstock is in an excellent position to be sold to someone else and things would then improve for contributors as well as for reviewers..

Best of luck whatever happens.

Thanks Theodore

Must admit I am getting thoroughly demoralized. I've been experimenting with uploading perfectly good shots from the same events I'd had accepted before. It doesn't matter what camera is used it seems they just seem to find focusing issues that aren't there and noise and grain that simply doesn't exist. I wouldn't mind somebody from SS commenting here about what the hell we are meant to do to get some consistency in acceptance and to explain why the AI reviews are so erratic. Bring back humans for goodness sake !

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19 hours ago, Dave Smith 1965 said:

Thanks Theodore

Must admit I am getting thoroughly demoralized. I've been experimenting with uploading perfectly good shots from the same events I'd had accepted before. It doesn't matter what camera is used it seems they just seem to find focusing issues that aren't there and noise and grain that simply doesn't exist. I wouldn't mind somebody from SS commenting here about what the hell we are meant to do to get some consistency in acceptance and to explain why the AI reviews are so erratic. Bring back humans for goodness sake !

Computer analysis is the problem and you certainly haven't lost your eye or your mind. Yes it is demoralizing and discouraging. If the cut in pay wasn't enough, now we have the rejection game going on. Too bad, but I figure, they want things this way and they make the rules, so I can either keep trying or just figure, if they don't want the images, someplace else will. 😎

Don't let a computer reviewer get the best of you. 👍

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I dont think theres any form of human reviewing going on now.  The reasons are just non-sensical.

Its either terribly bad AI or a semi-deliberate random system to keep the number of new submissions down.

Some of the rejections look like AI gone wild (one here was a rocket launch rejected for obscene content, another a model release missing for a cloud etc) but on the other hand its inconsistent.  9 times out of 10 if you reupload content 2-3 times max with no changes at all it'll get accepted - you'd expect AI to be more consistent than that.

Im noting you get good batches or bad batches.  Quite often to get 90% killed for noise/focus in a whole batch whilst the next one containing the same images will get 90% acceptance and so on.

Today ive had 2 good batches in a row, all accepted.  Yesterday identical media (literally) was noise/focus rejected en masse.

This 100% is NOT a case of "higher standards" at all.  The rejections generally have no connection at all to the technical quality of the content.  You'll get good stuff rejected and awful stuff accepted.

 

In the 10.5 years i've been submitting to SS they've gone through periods of tough but fair reviews (certainly until about 2015 or so).  There were short periods of crazy strict (but legit, just very very picky) but those usually fixed themselves.

Then about 2017 onwards they adopted the accept absolutely everything policy where anything was accepted, all the time, no matter how terrible.  This went on several years and massively swelled their library size (which may have been the goal).

Since then its gone the opposite where they're randomly rejecting, seemingly with no pattern or justification some content and accepting it unchanged later one.  It looks like some attempt to keep the review queue size down.  It looks like very very few reviews are actually human conducted now.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Occurs to me that if humans are no longer reviewing then costs must have come down for SS.

And yet they have hit contributors with a massive cut in payments.

Another reason reinforcing my decision to leave SS behind months ago.

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12 hours ago, Tony ALS said:

Occurs to me that if humans are no longer reviewing then costs must have come down for SS.

And yet they have hit contributors with a massive cut in payments.

Another reason reinforcing my decision to leave SS behind months ago.

You still don't seem to understand. This isn't about us, and never was. Stock holders, owners, investors, corporate officers, that's why the company exists. To make a profit. Without buyers, there's no business. The company cares about buyers.

But with 300 Million images, what makes you or me or any one of us so important and irreplaceable. I'd like to know how my photos, if they were a sack of potatoes, are different from any other sack of potatoes. So different that I should get paid more than anyone else growing similar potatoes? Many people here, do exceptional work and deserve more, but that's not the problem, there is no fairness for high quality vs average.

The problem for contributors is, we are producing a commodity that is over abundant, and fairly easy to create. There's no shortage, there's no reason to pay us what we used to get. The market is flooded and soft for producers. Please go read any basic economics book, or the first chapter. Or any book on how to create a successful and profitable business.

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1 hour ago, HodagMedia said:

You still don't seem to understand. This isn't about us, and never was. Stock holders, owners, investors, corporate officers, that's why the company exists. To make a profit. Without buyers, there's no business. The company cares about buyers.

But with 300 Million images, what makes you or me or any one of us so important and irreplaceable. I'd like to know how my photos, if they were a sack of potatoes, are different from any other sack of potatoes. So different that I should get paid more than anyone else growing similar potatoes? Many people here, do exceptional work and deserve more, but that's not the problem, there is no fairness for high quality vs average.

The problem for contributors is, we are producing a commodity that is over abundant, and fairly easy to create. There's no shortage, there's no reason to pay us what we used to get. The market is flooded and soft for producers. Please go read any basic economics book, or the first chapter. Or any book on how to create a successful and profitable business.

Pete, I do understand having run my own business for over 30 years. I also understand the value of goodwill and long term planning. If SS are lining themselves up to be sold then it follows that they will not care about anything but hiking the price as high as they can. The motivations behind any business always change when greed takes over as I have seen many times. The progression of small companies who look after their employees until they become large enough to lose touch completely with the people who helped build the business in the first place repeats itself again and again.

The market for stock photography is oversaturated as we know. Luckily for me this is not anything I ever expect to make anything decent from, I just like the challenge of putting creative work out there for sale and I'm always surprised and happy to see something get published. But $0.10 is an insult for the many talented contributors who spend money on equipment, models, time processing images, etc. If there is nothing to earn for those who treat this as a profession then professionalism and talent will move on and find something else, leaving behind sometimes still good looking images due to the technology improving so massively each year. Really good imagery exists on here which the majority are not capable of producing which is why they deserve better. Average imagery is already available at no cost via websites such as Unsplash amongst others, and giving away images for free is undermining the whole business. I don't have any answers to the problems of trying to make a living from stock imagery, but feel for those contributors around the world who are trying to feed their families during these difficult times. Very tough when the rug is pulled from under your feet with next to no notice. 

Happy new year to anyone reading this and I await the eventual recovery from this mess we are all in at the moment with an emphasis on staying healthy and taking this virus seriously. Anyone who still believes ridiculous conspiracy theories needs to get help.

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15 hours ago, Tony ALS said:

Pete, I do understand having run my own business for over 30 years. I also understand the value of goodwill and long term planning. If SS are lining themselves up to be sold then it follows that they will not care about anything but hiking the price as high as they can. The motivations behind any business always change when greed takes over as I have seen many times. The progression of small companies who look after their employees until they become large enough to lose touch completely with the people who helped build the business in the first place repeats itself again and again.

The market for stock photography is oversaturated as we know. Luckily for me this is not anything I ever expect to make anything decent from, I just like the challenge of putting creative work out there for sale and I'm always surprised and happy to see something get published. But $0.10 is an insult for the many talented contributors who spend money on equipment, models, time processing images, etc. If there is nothing to earn for those who treat this as a profession then professionalism and talent will move on and find something else, leaving behind sometimes still good looking images due to the technology improving so massively each year. Really good imagery exists on here which the majority are not capable of producing which is why they deserve better. Average imagery is already available at no cost via websites such as Unsplash amongst others, and giving away images for free is undermining the whole business. I don't have any answers to the problems of trying to make a living from stock imagery, but feel for those contributors around the world who are trying to feed their families during these difficult times. Very tough when the rug is pulled from under your feet with next to no notice. 

Happy new year to anyone reading this and I await the eventual recovery from this mess we are all in at the moment with an emphasis on staying healthy and taking this virus seriously. Anyone who still believes ridiculous conspiracy theories needs to get help.

Good point if your idea that this is setting up for selling the company. To whom? 🧐 There has to be future value for a buyer to want to buy a business. Artificially pumped up, assumes that buyer is so stupid that they can't see that the profit came from cutting expenses, like our pay or eliminating human reviews? What SS needs more than good numbers, is diversity and expansion. If they stay nothing but a stock company, the real growth will stop and then, investment, interest, the stock price and everything will go flat.

True 10c is a pittance. It's only an insult for those who don't wish to take that amount, which means they can decide to leave. Anyone else, has decided on their own, to accept that small pay. There are people who do good work and make money, in other ways. Contributors to Microstock have no power or effective way to demand better or suitable returns for their work. (there is nothing about fair in this) Over Saturated, a commodity, you know, I know, that's reality. High supply, low demand, value will go down.

Please leave the parts of people making a living or dependent on this income or the short notice. That is all irrelevant to any business argument. Would things be better if SS had said, starting in three months, you'll get 10 cents? Nothing changes, except now we get our heads cut off in three months instead of days! And as for the reset, that was seven months but people who left and quit, can't stop coming back to express their outrage and disappointment. How long until you give up the crusade of words and concerns for the rest of us, since you aren't a contributor here anymore? Others express their concern for the company? Why? They don't own SS and they removed their works. Why should they be concerned about SS, or my welfare or anything else here. You left, they left, what's your interest?

Yeah to the virus, we're on the way back, but it's a long uphill road. This isn't over now just because there are some vaccines that have been developed. The one part that hasn't changed from the start is, scientists and agencies, still don't know much about transmission or protection. We've been fed a steady flow of guesses and BS. Small wonder, some people have started to question what's true and ask for some solid facts. Which we don't have. What I mean is, after the vaccine, the only proven way to avoid transmission or getting infected is social distancing. (or a pocket full of posies, incense, herbs, spices... masks and visors?)

Social Distancing is important and effective. The world has changed and the best I can say now, is I hope we continue to develop and recover from the pandemic. Blaming others does nothing to work towards the solutions. Denial is hopefully limited to loud people, not the majority of people.

Sometimes the people who make the most noise and complain the most, don't represent the general situation accurately.

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I, to, have noticed an uptick in declines due to "noise." Interestingly, these same photos are being accepted--without exception--by my two other agencies (Alamy and Adobe), both of which pay a lot more than Shutterstock does. Because of Shutterstock's pathetically low pay rate, I never bother resubmitting the declined photo to them.

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