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Common reasons for rejection

Find out why content gets rejected from the Adobe Stock collection so you’ll have a better chance of success with your own submissions. 

All files submitted to Adobe Stock go through a review process to ensure that they meet our quality standards. Our goal is to help you become a successful Adobe Stock Contributor, so if your content is rejected, the moderation team will give you a reason why. (There may be more than one reason, but due to time constraints the moderators will only share one.)

If you receive a rejection, use it as an opportunity to carefully review your file and decide if it’s worth adjusting so you can submit it again. Make sure your changes address the reason the file was rejected before you resubmit.

Here are the top reasons files are rejected:

Lack of aesthetic or commercial appeal

Being as objective as possible, ask yourself: “If I were the customer, why would I buy this image?” If you can’t think of a good answer, try changing your approach to the content you create and submit — and be sure to pay attention to the details. For example, if you create a photo of a great-looking family enjoying a barbecue but the grill is covered in rust, the photo just won’t have commercial value. 

Also, note that common subjects like flowers, pets, sunsets, and food are already heavily represented on Adobe Stock, so if you submit content for these categories, make sure they’re unique.

In the following examples, the image on the left lacks commercial appeal, but the image on the right would be accepted:

Files may be considered noncompliant due to watermarks, inappropriate or irrelevant keywords or titles, or questionable or defamatory content. Also, if you get a reminder to provide or resolve a problem with a release and you resubmit the file without addressing the issue, we’ll reject it as noncompliant. 

If your files contain content protected by intellectual property laws, we can’t accept them. This rule is in place to protect you as well as our customers and Adobe Stock. For more information, review the Legal guidelines section of this Contributor guide.

Content protected by IP laws may appear in the image, description, title, and/or keywords. Here are some examples:

  • Products and objects 
    If they're identifiable and distinctive in visual appearance, like in their shape or color, commercial products should never be in focus and/or be the main subject of your content. This includes toys, fashion accessories, electronic devices, designer furniture, and more. Learn more
  • Trademark, trade dress, and intellectual property 
    We can't accept content that includes logos, trademarks, or company or brand names. This includes identifiable packaging or other product dress. Learn more
  • Locations, venues, monuments, and landmarks 
    Ticketed locations with paid admission often have photography restrictions. Images require property releases when they depict unique locations with distinctive features in an identifiable manner, including identifiable enclosures, installations, animals, and more. We also can’t accept content that depicts certain landmarks and monuments. It's your responsibility to find out if any photography restrictions apply. Learn more
  • Architecture and buildings 
    Modern architecture with unique building structures requires a release when it's the main focus of the image. However, depending on the specific situation, city vistas, skylines, or close-ups may be fine. Learn more
  • Copyrighted objects 
    Images depicting or originating from artworks, sculptures, street art, drawings, illustrations, literature, fonts, and graphic elements are not acceptable if you didn’t create them yourself. Learn more

Quality or technical issues

For content to have commercial value, it needs to be high-quality and technically flawless. Images and videos should be in-focus and well-lit with no signs of artifacts. Vectors should be organized, and filled shape paths should be closed. 

Below are common quality issues that can cause submissions to be rejected: 

Out of focus  

  • Always inspect your content at 100% size before submitting to be sure it’s in focus.

  • When you use motion blur, ensure that the main subject is sharp and in focus.

  • Make sure that depth of field choices are intentional and effective. If you shoot with a wide aperture, depth of field should enhance the photo. With shallow depth of field, important elements shouldn’t be out of focus. If the image is in focus but lacks sharpness, ensure that any post-production sharpening doesn’t introduce artifacts.

  • For sharper images, use a tripod or monopod when possible. Faster shutter speeds certainly help. It’s important to note that one way to increase your shutter speed is to increase your aperture, which in turn increases the depth of field. Find the right balance to ensure maximum quality. You can also increase your shutter speed by increasing the ISO, but if you set it too high, it can introduce noise or artifacts.

  • Know your camera’s limits. Don’t be afraid to push your work to the edge of those limits, but be careful not to go (too far) over them.

Artifacts 

  • The most common problem is excessive noise, which causes the image to look grainy. Artifacts are often caused by a high ISO setting for images captured in low-light situations. Many cameras are excessively noisy at ISO 1600, and some at lower settings. 

  • Artifacts can be caused by invasive post-processing. Always save your original file. If you get a rejection based on artifacts, compare the image you submitted with the original to see where the artifacts came in.  

  • Artifacts can also be caused by sensor dust. You can remove dust spots in post-processing, but it’s easier to keep your sensor clean. Check with your local camera store for cleaning options and advice.

     

    The image on the left includes too many artifacts, but the image on the right would be accepted:

Lighting issues

  • Too much light (overexposure) or not enough (underexposure) can diminish photo quality. Check your histogram or look at the image onscreen while shooting to ensure that you’re exposing your images properly.

  • Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are the three main things that determine exposure. Whether you’re using ambient light or studio light, learn to adjust the exposure of your images to best capture the scene.

  • In some cases, exposure may be dictated by the scene you’re capturing, but natural exposure may not always be ideal for stock. 

Image quality 

Common technical issues with photos and videos: 

  • White balance: The white balance may be too warm or too cool. When you shoot in raw formats, you have a lot of flexibility to adjust the white balance in post-processing.

  • Contrast: There may be too much or not enough contrast.

  • Saturation: Oversaturation can create an unnatural look, but under-saturated or spot color may not look good, either. If you’re using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, you may want to try the Vibrance slider instead of Saturation.

  • Selections: Editing should be inconspicuous. Selecting objects to remove them from their backgrounds and composite them into new images requires time, patience, and care. Don’t submit images that have been poorly selected or look like they include content that’s not a natural part of the scene.

  • Chromatic aberration: There may be color fringing around objects in the image.

  • General composition: Is your horizon straight? Have you cropped the image too much? Consider leaving a designer room to add their own text or objects. 

Additional technical issues with videos: 

  • Visual stability: Use appropriate camera support and image stabilization. If shakiness is part of your video’s aesthetic, we’ll review with that in mind. Post-production stabilization is fine if it doesn’t detract from the video’s quality.

  • Audio: Remove any unusable sound, like over-modulated audio or anything that could be trademarked. If your clip includes people’s voices, you’ll need to submit a model release for each one. Feel free to submit clips without audio.

  • Rolling shutter artifacts: Clips containing minor rolling shutter artifacts will be accepted or declined based on the moderation team’s judgement. Clips containing skew artifacts will be judged on how obvious, disruptive, or distracting they are to the beauty or effectiveness of the image. We won’t accept clips that contain flash banding or wobble (i.e., “jello” artifacting).

  • Logarithmic gamma (log) footage: Footage shot in log should have simple color grading applied — we recommend a basic Rec 709 LUT.

  • Up-res footage: Don’t up-res footage — for example, from HD to 4K. Submit footage as shot or in lower-res, if necessary. Shoot in 4K whenever possible.  

Common technical issues with vectors:

  • Open paths: All filled shape paths need to be closed.

  • Raster images: Don’t embed pixel-based images (JPEGs) into your vector files.

  • Autotrace: Don’t use autotrace on complex images like photos, because they make the resulting vectors too hard for customers to edit.

  • Artboard size: Your artboard should be at least 15MP for you to upload it to the Contributor portal.

Common technical issues with templates:

  • Non-Adobe fonts: Replace non-Adobe fonts by going to the Adobe Fonts site and searching by style to find something visually similar.

  • Non-generic text: Avoid using real names and references to identifiable people, companies, and locations in your templates. Instead, use fictitious and generic names.

  • Usability issues: We’ll reject template files that are incomplete, corrupt, disorganized, or unclear. Check out the app-specific guidelines on the Design template requirements page for best practices.

  • Non-standard sizes: See our standard paper and screen sizes list for the most up-to-date formats we accept, and then revise your content to match.

Every file you submit needs to offer something unique. Submitting multiple copies of identical or similar content can be perceived as spamming. Our moderation team will reject similar content, and spamming can lead to your account being blocked or permanently closed. 

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