Stocksy is thrilled to announce the re-opening of our highly anticipated Call To Artist page, accepting photographer applications for 2014. As a cooperative dedicated to growing sustainably, Stocksy accepts only 500 photographers each year. This allows us to maintain highly focused curatorial standards, beautiful search results and specialized one on one care with our buyers and photographers.
This year we’re looking for new talent that will continue to grow and expand the collection with originality, new topics and diverse processing techniques. We’re specifically focused on finding photographers outside North America who can expand our range of ethnicities and cultures.
As well, we’re still on the look out for bloggers specializing in DIY craft ideas. Finally, we’re always excited to see the work of fashion, food, sport, fine art and still life, portraiture, animals, lifestyle and documentary photographers.
Our designers and developers focused on updating the process and interface, allowing all interested photographers to easily and instantly begin uploading photos for consideration by our Editor Team.
I follow some industry forums, and the big topic of discussion around Stocksy is always “what kind of images do they want? What should I submit?” There is a general opinion that Stocksy is looking for a particular style, when the reality is that when you look closely at the collection, there is a wide variety of styles from very different photographers.
So, this is my advice to people who are looking to apply.
Note: I’m not on the Editor team and I do not have any official insight. This article is my personal opinion from being part of the co-op since last February.
How to Get Accepted at Stocksy
- Realize it is a mistake to look at the collection and try to figure out what “look” your images need to have to be accepted. Don’t change your style to emulate what you think Stocksy is looking for, show them what you are already good at. Stocksy doesn’t want to add 500 more photographers whose images look exactly like what is already in the collection.
- Similarly, don’t focus on what’s already there, focus on what you think is missing. Look in the collection for the subjects you think Stocksy is low on, and submit relevant images. Stocksy is only a year old, and the collection has holes. Show the Editor team how you can fill them.
- Read the Call to Artists notice carefully and note the needed subjects. Keep them in mind when you are choosing images to submit. I’ve bolded the relevant parts above:
- range of ethnicities and cultures
- DIY craft ideas
- fine art
- still life
- Check Stocksy’s Pinterest feed for ideas of trends and needed topics (but make sure you put your own unique spin on any trends you choose to shoot). They even made a Call to Artists: 2014 Lookbook board.
- Unless you have truly standout, innovative studio work/still life/nature/etc images, my advice is to focus on lifestyle. Pictures of people doing things in natural environments are ALWAYS needed.
(Note: this applies to people who have a wide variety of subjects in their portfolios. Obviously, if you have a specialty, you should go with that. I’m not suggesting nature photographers should go out and shoot a bunch of people images for their Stocksy application.)
- Again, unless you’re doing something new or interesting or edgy with your staged portraits, I would focus on “real life.” For instance, if you are shooting a businessman, shoot him actually working, not looking at the camera with his arms crossed and blurry team members behind him. If you are shooting a female construction worker, show her doing real work in the clothes she would actually wear on a construction site, not posing suggestively with a hammer in a sexy Halloween costume. Et cetera. Be authentic.
- If the internet has made a mockery of a stock photo cliche (think women laughing alone with salad, women struggling to drink water, women resisting delicious cakes and pies, stock photos of reading ruining relationships, etc), maybe consider avoiding those subjects in your application.
- SHOOT WHAT YOU LOVE. Michael Jay makes an amazing case for this on his blog. This is perhaps the most important point. Don’t try to be what you think Stocksy wants. Be yourself and shoot what you love. It’s possible that what you love shooting isn’t what Stocksy is looking for, and that’s okay.
“If you look at [Stocksy’s] images in the right context (in the single photographer’s portfolio), you will see that all of them were shot with passion. They were not produced with the ‘I shoot this because it will sell’ mentality that stock (especially microstock) has put into our minds. It’s ‘I really like this, I have to shoot this’.” – Michael Jay
This is not an official guide or a guarantee. It’s possible your work is just not a fit for Stocksy, or they simply received too many applications for too few spaces. It’s frustrating, but does not mean you are not an amazing photographer. Try again next year!
Here is Stocksy’s Call to Artists page. Good luck!