Upload & Sell: Off
Glennn, very useful information. You mention in the blog that the rejection of some of your initial submissions was related to your post processing treatments. Can you be more specific regarding what the agency didn't like about your post-processing and what you did to overcome the rejection?
Also, since you do a lot of (excellent) bird photography, I'm curious to know whether your bird photos have been received favorably by the stock agencies.
Yes...the agencies typically like images that contain minimal processing. For example, they would prefer to have an image that is slightly undersharpened rather than one that is oversharpened. They assume that the buyer will sharpen as need depending upon the usage. They seem to be able to detect any aggressive levels or curves adjustments. If there is a single hot pixel or any sensor dust visible, the image will typically be rejected.
I keep my RAW files, so I went back and reprocessed the images using minimal sharpening, reduced the extent of any levels or curves adjustments, minimized saturation and resubmitted them. The resubmitted images were accepted.
Some of the bird images sell occasionally, but they don't tend to sell very often. I don't know if it's because there are so many outstanding bird photographs out there already--or if the demand just isn't as high for those. I find that if I can capture a behavior--that the image is far more likely to sell. For example, an image like the following one might sell for a variety of reasons. Someone might purchase it because they want a photo of Great Blue Herons. But, it could also sell under the keywords of "love", "helping", "together", etc.