Image © Kenneth Linge. Used with Permission


There is a commonly held perception that for images to be accepted into a contributors portfolio at iStock, photoshop work should be kept to a minimum. I have received numerous emails from frustrated contributors who have received several rejections wanting to know how they can get their images accepted. My answer usually comes back to looking at their workflow and suggesting to limit the processing that they are doing to their images.

I want to show an example today that heavily processed images, when done properly, can be accepted into iStockphoto.

Today’s image is one taken by my friend Kenneth Linge (and used here as an example with his permission). Kenneth recently had this image accepted into his portfolio on Since he is neither an exclusive contributor nor one with a lot of sales on the site, it even further helps by showing that there was no (perceived) favoritism helping with the acceptance.

The image of Jamie (which is Killer in my opinion), was heavily processed in photoshop. The key to it being accepted is that the editing work was done completely by hand (no presets or actions) and done with extreme care not to degrade the file in any way. Sharpening was kept to a minimum (and probably done with the “high pass” method), saturation adjustments kept subtle, and skin tones not overly smoothed.

What seeing acceptance has done for me is inspired me to kick up my editing a bit and push the boundaries. I have long talked about how I edit my images yet keep them a bit generic. Maybe it’s time I challenge my 90+% acceptance rate with some more extreme processing.

For a behind-the-scenes in the lighting used for this image, click Here to visit Kenneth’s blog.