Rejections Reasons #6

This month’s Rejection Reasons addresses perhaps the most commonly questioned reason of all for submitters:

Limited Commercial Value. We do not need this image at this time.

First, a quick word on the review process: As you can imagine, reviewers inspect hundreds if not thousands of images per day. The reviewers inspect with a careful, professional eye and have been well trained for the job. They are photographers and artists themselves. The review process is subjective ““ but fair. It is important to keep in mind that you should never take a rejection personally.

Limited Commercial Value is not synonymous with NO commercial value. In some ways, Limited Commercial Value is a default, or a stand-in for a combination of reasons. For example, a photo of a bird that is technically and professionally shot is fine. There may even be a market for it. However, if you’ve submitted a handful of such pictures, all but one may be rejected for this reason.

Then why wasn’t my rejection reason Similar Submissions you ask. Excellent question. One of the handful may have been accepted ““ or it may not have. Akin to Similar Submissions, we might have a few dozen other submitters who also submitted similar shots of the bird ““ and not just any bird, but say, for example, the European Starling.

This is not the only reason you may receive this rejection reason, however. You may have a pristine, technically flawless shot of a professional-looking woman wearing a headset. As everyone in the industry knows, that has by now become a stock cliché. Clichés are not your friend!

When dealing with this rejection reason, there are some things you can do, and some things you absolutely should not do.

Examine the rejected image or images. Why might it have been rejected for this reason? Is there any way you can change it to make it marketable? What is the subject? What is the concept? Side note: If you intend to resubmit, be sure to include a note to the reviewer explaining why you’re resubmitting a previously rejected image.

Do not simply crop the image differently or alter the colors. This will not get the image accepted and may lead to a warning.

Remember, stock photography and imagery is a business, not an art. It needs to be sellable as well as creative. If you receive Limited Commercial Value as a rejection reason, revisit what you think would sell, and keep submitting—don’t give up!

Is there a rejection reason you’d like to see addressed in a newsletter? Email