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why doesn´t shutterstock know what it wants - aka reviewer need better training

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this is about digital altered, painted images etc.


it really happens ALL THE TIME and i am getting a bit sick of it:

day 1: i upload an image and submit is as illustration.... i get the rejection message i can not submit it as illustration.

day 2: i upload the same image and do not check "illustration"... i get the message i must submit it as illustration.

day 3: i upload the same image and submit is as illustration.. i get the rejection message i can not submit it as illustration.


ad nauseam


when this happens i always give a notice to the reviewer that it was "previously submited contend".
so if the reviewer had checked, he would see that i was asked to upload with "illustration" unchecked (or vice versa),

this goes on for several times.
even when i upload the images TWICE at the same time, one time as illustration one time not as illustration, guess what.... they get rejected.

i would not complain if this happens rarely. but it happens ALL THE TIME.

i think i wrote about this issue in the past already....but nothing changed to the better. :(

i want to add something related to this topic.

the most frustrating aspect of SS is the review process.

we contributors have clear rules.... yet the reviewers (or review artificial intelligence) often does not follow these rules.
i could give plenty examples of other nonsensical review decisions. then you upload the image again and it is accepted.
it nevertheless is frustrating and time-consuming.

and why in the world can a reviewer not check an image as "illustration" himself when a contributor forgot to do it?
i mean it is just ticking a checkbox, not much effort when reviewing the image, right? sure faster than reviewing the same image again.

at least give us the way to edit an uploaded image after it was rejected for description / keyword issues.
it would be much faster for everbody when the contributor does not have to upload the image again.

why the need to upload the images again from scratch?












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Hi Lightboxx had the same problem so many times it makes me so angry as it is time wasting and very unprofessional ... in fact am so cheesed off with endless rejections for images i e keywords not in English now which were acceptable a couple of months ago...inconsistent or what! don't feel like uploading anything anymore even after SS sending me an email encouraging me to upload as not heard from me for a while...just wanted to say so understand your pain :(

Edited by Matylda Laurence
sorry mispelt your name...
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1 hour ago, Emily Veinglory said:

It's hard for me to see in the thumbnails--but which is it. are they photos or are they illustrations?

it is an illustration (after SS own rules. and while it has nothing to do with the rejections ... yes i also provide a reference image).

i know the rules... yet SS reviewers seem to be confused all the time.






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hi again Lightboxx this a copy of an expert's answer which I esculated upwards as it had become a merry go round for me too...to quote...

"I’m sorry that Directly sent you an automatic response which did not answer your query, you’ve now come through to a real person and I’ll do my best! Shutterstock do permit reviewers a measure of interpretation of the rules (personally I don’t think they should but this is their policy). This means that sometimes two reviewers will differ in their opinions and this issue of ‘photograph or illustration’ is a regular problem.From your description it does sound like it may be an illustration to me but I should choose which you think it is and then you need to describe it in some detail in the title as whichever you choose. The reviewers look at hundreds of images in a session and often make snap judgements and the easier we can make their job by ‘telling’ them what they are looking at then the more likely they are to accept the picture." So in the end didn't get a difinitive answer, seems like nobody knows even though I did what was asked each time I uploaded and eventually gave up ;)

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thing is matylda i am at 8 microstock websites. SS is the ONLY one with such grave reviewing issues.

these nonsensical rejections are a constant reason for contributor complains. not only in this forum, on facebook groups too.
and it is not getting better....it seems to be getting worse.

the NOTICE you can give reviewers seems to be ignored too.

for example in one facbook group someone wrote he uploaded dozend of images with the notice "Digital illustrations created without a reference image".
because they were created from scratch without any reference images. all are rejected because the reviewer wanted a reference image.

last time (now the fourth time) i uploaded the same images twice one time as illustration and one time not als illustration, this happend:






i feel like someone is messing with me.

again these are illustrations after SS own rules " Filters added to photographs giving them the appearance of an illustration ".
they are made to look like digital paintings on canvas.
you may not see it on the small thumbs but all similiar images in my portfolio and in other portfolios are marked as illustration.

if this happend only once or twice in 50 uploads i would not bother to complain.
but it happens so often that i basically feel bad uploading such stuff to SS. but some of the images make me good money.


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  • 1 year later...

I'm not a professional neither I have a high level pro camera, just a Nikon D3200 with a 18-55mm default lens. So, my images are usually noisy and I got a lot of rejections due to this. Even though I'm a big photography enthusiast and I enjoy building a portfolio and learning at the same time. In any case, I think the review process doesn't have a clear line for YES/NO. I have images uploaded and accepted with way more noise than others very similar that have been rejected (for the noise reason only) with a much more acceptable noise level. On the other hand the similar image detection algorithm needs a lot of tuning to improve the effectiveness I have been uploading a batch of 5-10 pictures of different orchids flowers and 1 or two got rejected for been "similar" thy colors and the type of the flower were very different. 

The best example I think is this image I uploaded first and was accepted and the next day because of an error I uploaded again and in this case was rejected for the noise reason. 


anyway, I think it was someway comforting seeing that there are others facing these little "details" with the review process. I think uploading the same image several times is a good tip I will follow.  

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All I'm getting at the moment is "invalid model release".  Same release, same day and similar content eg "woman wearing scarf".  SS rejected the release so I reuploaded the same release with a different name - accepted.  Then the accepted release was rejected for a different shot for "invalid model release"  Content is literally a woman wearing a scarf but one smiling, one with glasses one looking sad.

SS are in my experience the most ridiculous agency to work with - getting impossible to be honest. 








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