I submitted an image to iStockphoto a few weeks ago that I thought would possibly be a good seller. Sad to say, it got rejected. I've shown the image to a few people and generally people wondered why it would get rejected. When you look at the image at around 25% there's not a lot wrong with it. At least not from the layman's perspective.
Reviewers look at images a 100% though. Unfortunately if there are any issues they will be glaringly obvious at 100%. The first item they mention is artifacting. In the case of my image it was from digital noise. I believe I shot the image a 1600 ISO. If you click on the image below you can see that there is a fair bit of noise.
The other issue they had was with focus. I had to disagree a little with this one but once again when I viewed the image at 100% I could see that my focus was not on the candy or even the fingers but rather on the upper part of the hand. That being said, I recall that the writing on the candy itself was blurry which might explain why the reviewer thought the image was out of focus. Regardless of whether it was because of being out of focus or bad printing by the candy maker the bottom line is that the part that needed to be sharp was blurry.
The last issue was with the "overall composition" of the image. That I couldn't disagree with. Their explanation went more with the shadows and the overall exposure. I have to admit that while it wasn't bad it certainly wasn't great. I also think that the background, while not distracting also wasn't useful in most applications. It had a definite color cast to it (pumpkin orange - yuck) and there was some odd shadows in the background that limited the image's usefulness. I also had my subject just below dead center in the image.
So naturally there is a lesson to be learned here. Simply stated I need to start thinking like a reviewer. Now in hindsight, I personally thought this was just an okay image and nothing more. I did however get a few hits for this image on my Flickr stream from Google searches which was a big reason I decided to upload it. While it conceptually it was good, though, the execution was suffering. All in all however it was a good image to learn from.