Technical Requirements for Images and Illustrations

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All photographic images must be in JPEG format and RGB colour mode. JPEGs should be at least 6.3 Megapixels (3000 x 2100 pixels) in size and have a resolution of 300 dpi. Processed files should be saved at the maximum JPEG quality setting.

Image quality
On a basic level, images must be in focus, properly color and contrast balanced, and free from blemishes such as lens flare, color fringing, sensor dust, jpeg artifacts, excessive noise and so on.

See below for further guidelines on our technical standards.
Image size
Size matters! Although we accept images as small as 6.3 Megapixels, images stand a much better chance of being accepted if they are of higher resolution. 12 megapixels or higher is preferred.

Higher resolution images have a much wider range of applications and consequently better chances of becoming bestsellers. For pictures that are to be reproduced in print for example, a 6MP file (3000 x 2000 pixels) can be reproduced in a magazine up to a maximum size of 10x6.7" (about 25x17cm) without loss of quality at the typical offset print resolution of 300ppi. A 12MP (approximately 36 mb uncompressed) file could be printed up to 15x9.5" (about 38x24cm) with no loss of quality and a 20MP (approximately 60 mb uncompressed) file up to 18.7x12" (about 47.4x30cm)!

Never scale images up beyond the native camera resolution, as interpolated images will be rejected. For example, if your camera shoots an image at 2784 x 1856 pixels in size, do not resize the image to exceed these dimensions in order to bypass the minimum requirements of 6.3 megapixels.

Megapixels are calculated by multiplying height and width in pixels, then dividing by a million. For example, in the scenario above, an image with dimensions of 2784 x 1856 pixels has a total of 5167104 pixels (or 5.17 Megapixels).

The output resolution recommended for stock images is 300 dpi. Please check your camera and software settings to ensure that 300 dpi is being output wherever possible. We recommend using Adobe RGB color profiles.
JPEG compression
Always use the highest resolution setting available on your camera, We strongly recommend shooting in RAW format. If shooting JPEG images (rather than RAW) use the highest quality selection (least compression). The more compressed an image is, the more of the data captured by the sensor is being lost when the file is processed and saved to the memory card.

Note that the JPEG format is a 'lossy' compression format, meaning that every time you open, adjust and re-save a JPEG, a bit more detail gets lost, gradually degrading the quality and detail resolution of the image. If you are planning to open and adjust an image more than once, save it in an uncompressed file format such as TIFF while working on the image and save a copy of your final file in JPEG format at the highest quality setting.

We will have to reject images where the quality has been visibly degraded through excessive JPEG compression.
Interpolation (or up-sampling)
Scaling up (interpolating) images to a higher resolution than the original capture resolution is no substitute for using a high resolution when capturing images. We do not recommend scaling up images in post production since this does nothing to improve image quality and detail resolution.

For this reason we will reject images that have been interpolated or that otherwise don't have the resolution and detail expected from the file size. We recommend submitting images at the highest resolution your digital camera is capable of capturing – nothing less and nothing more.

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Image rotation
All submitted images must have the correct rotation. In other words they should appear the right way around, with what is up in the image facing up on screen. If you organize your photos with an application that rotates the previews of your photos without altering the original, you might have to rotate vertical format photos prior to submission.
Date imprints and watermarks
We cannot accept any photos that have a date imprint, signature or watermark embedded in the image area. We will also reject images that have titles or captions added to the image area, unless the words are an integral part of your photo/illustration/design.
Retouching and image manipulation
Sometimes creative post-processing and retouching can result in a stronger image or a different image altogether. We will accept any strong, creative image of good technical quality, but please note that any images which display visible retouching or unsuccessful manipulation will be rejected. (For example: visible clone tool tracks or brush marks in blended areas.)

Only use 'creative' filters and effects if they really add something to your image – not to 'rescue' an otherwise bland photo. Overly manipulated images will be rejected.
Buy the best equipment you can afford
It's often said in the stock industry that megapixel count is not everything. The images from a 10MP pocket compact camera cannot rival the quality of an 10MP or even 8MP DSLR in terms of detail and resolution. For this reason we recommend using a digital SLR with a good quality lens.
We do accept scanned images, under the same quality guidelines as digital camera images.
Note that many consumer scanners are of too low quality to produce high quality scans, particularly if you are scanning from negatives or slides. A dedicated film scanner will always produce better results than a flatbed scanner with a transparency adapter, even if the resolution is identical 'on paper'.

Scan at the highest physical (optical) resolution available on your scanner (unless you own a scanner capable of very high resolutions). Do not use higher 'software interpolated' resolutions – they are beyond the actual detail that your scanner is capable of capturing. A resolution of between 2000 and 4000ppi would be suitable for a 35mm slide or negative.

Zoom in on your scans and check them carefully for scratches and dust marks. It is very hard to scan slides and negatives without getting any dust marks. Use a dust-removal setting such as Digital ICE if your scanner has one.

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Vector art

Vector art can be submitted either in .EPS (Encapsulated Post Script) or .AI (Adobe Illustrator) format. We recommend saving your artwork in Illustrator 8 or 10 format to maximize compatibility. As with photographs, we check all submitted vector images to ensure that they are of good technical quality.

You will need to upload a separate jpeg (.JPG) version of the illustration with your vector file. The vector and jpeg files must have identical names (with different file extensions) in order to be merged by the upload system into one image entry. The system will extract any embedded metadata (title, description or keywords) from the jpeg file.

You may zip individual vector files in order to reduce the upload size. Keep the jpeg file separate and ensure the zip and jpeg filenames match.

Please do not upload zips containing multiple vector files or alternative versions of the same illustration – each zip should contain one file only.

Ensure there are no bitmap image elements (jpegs, tiffs, psd etc) within your vector files before uploading. Only true vector artwork, with all elements scalable and editable, should be submitted as a vector illustration. Bitmap illustrations can be uploaded in jpeg format like regular photos.

Vector art comes in a range of formats that offer a variety of features not found in jpeg files, meaning they are not as cross-compatible as jpeg files. We therefore strongly recommend that you add an informative description of your artwork in the 'description' field when uploading the file. This could be anything that is not apparent from the low resolution preview and that can make it easier for potential customers to judge if your artwork is suitable for their needs.

Keep in mind that the image will be for sale both in vector and jpeg formats. This should be clear to the buyer. Here's an example of a possible description:

"Abstract graphic wallpaper. Also available as a Vector in Adobe illustrator EPS format, compressed in a zip file. The different graphics are all on separate layers so they can easily be moved or edited individually. The text has been converted to paths, so no fonts are required. The document is set up at A4 size, but the vector version be scaled to any size without loss of quality."

(Please note that this is only a sample of what you could write. Please customize this information for your files.)

Important: The companion jpeg is used to create both preview images and jpeg files for download. The minimum size is 6.3 Megapixels (3080 x 2050 pixels) but you can make your illustration available for purchase in a wider range of sizes by uploading a larger jpeg. Make it 12 Megapixels (4000 x 3000 pixels) or larger, and it will be available up to XXL size. The colour mode of the jpeg image must be RGB, preferably with an Adobe 1998 RGB profile.

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