Although we already summarized our criteria for media quality and composition in our PDF manual "Information for sellers", some sellers still make avoidable mistakes that affect the process of selling their media at Catooh.
This tutorial was created to give you advice, concerning judicial and technical basics, as well as giving you tips for composing your photos and entering your media in our database. We focus on photos only and on the special things that need to be considered when working with them.
Yours, mine, or…? – Legal aspects first
The requirements Catooh has for the legal validation of media are more strict than usual and can, in some points, vary from common legal regulations.
As a general rule, we expect you to upload only media that you yourself created and of which you own the copyrights. It is not allowed to upload photos or images, that you did not create, e.g. photos you downloaded from the internet.
When you picture a person, you need an artistic authorization from that person to be able to sell the photo at Catooh. When you are photographing children, you need an authorization from their legal guardians. Authorizations are also necessary in case of self-portraits or shots of groups or crowds.
Rule of thumb: As soon as there are people on your photos, you need an artist authorization. You need an authorization for each person and each photo.
The necessary form can be downloaded here. You have to print it, have it signed and then upload it with the respective medium as a photo scan.
You also need a permission, when you are picturing the property of others. This can be private residential buildings, motorbikes or pets. Whenever there is an object on your photos that can be identified as the property of someone else, you need a property permission from the owner or another authorized person.
Especially when you are photographing public buildings, landmarks or artwork, there can be special judicial cases.
Rule of thumb: A property permission is necessary, when you are photographing buildings that are not older than 120 years or buildings / works of art whose architect or artist are no longer dead than 70 years.
But even here there are special cases, varying from city to city and country to country. Thus, in case of doubt, better get yourself a permission. You can download the form here.
Beyond that, there are certain image contents that automatically lead to an exclusion from sale. These are trademarks, such as brand names, company names or company logos. We also do not accept pictures that glorify violence, show material of sexual nature or in any other way present illegal or adult content.
The icing on the cake – high quality is a necessity
To become a successfull seller at Catooh, you should always upload your media in the highest quality. This does not mean you necessarily need a pro camera. Even a usual digital camera can shoot good photos, when you make sure that there is enough lighting and take the following tips into account.
The minimum resolution for photos in the 4:3 format is 1600×1200 pixels or 2 megapixels for images in another format. Only upload pictures as JPEG and always upload the highest possible quality.
Remember that the Catooh editors do not re-edit your images. We only create several versions of your pictures in different resolutions, according to the licenses you want to sell.
It is of high importance that your photo is in focus and well exposed. When you are photographing an insect on a flower, the focus should lie on the insect and not somewhere behind the petals. Remember highlighting the main motive of your shot, while adjusting the focus.
Try to avoid using the photoflash in your camera and use additional light sources instead. Visible flashlight on your photo may be disturbing. Also try to adjust the exposure time to the lighting conditions, to avoid image noise.
Bad example: image noise
When you are compressing your images in the postproduction, you should make sure that they do not contain compression artefacts. Compressed JPEG files sometimes appear pixelated or show mosquito noise (fuzzed, blurry transitions; e.g. black branches in front of the white cloudy sky). Your photos will also look pixelated, when you artifically increase image size. Thus pass that on. Such artefacts are reason for a refusal.
Bad example: artificially enlarged image
Further reasons for a refusal are over- or underexposure. In case you are picturing a summery landscape and the sky on your photo looks all white, your photo is overexposed. There is nothing you can do, to change that in the postproduction.
Bad example: overexposure
In general, you should be careful postproducing photos. Avoid to sharpen your photos too much, or they will look artificial. And go easy on working with contrast and colours.
Also do not use too many effects on your photos. Photos that are loaded with needless effects and art filters will definitely be rejected.
But of course there are also things that you should do when postproducing. Make sure to correct the horizon if it is askew and arrange your photo by choosing a picture detail. Check the exposition and adapt the level, if necessary.
The sizzle sells the steak – creative image composition
Quality does not only relate to technical details. A good photo is always more than just the image of something. Try to go beyond simply picturing landscapes, objects or persons. This can be easily explained:
You might just picture your grandmother. Or you picture her, but present her as an allegory for seniority. Only the second version of your image will be useful for others who do not know your grandmother, because it has a deeper meaning. Think about the intention you have and thus use the technical and scenical means accordingly. To achieve that, it is legitimate to work with stereotypes and metaphors to arrange a certain scene which is typical for seniors. Just take the photo beneath as an example:
This example also shows, how to work with framing and visual depth. The branches in the foreground create a frame that leads the viewer's gaze to the seniors in the middleground and thus highlights the main motive. This photo also stands out due to its depth effect. From the branches in the foreground. to the people in the middleground. to the park in the background – the viewer's eyes can rest everywhere and discover something. The image appears interesting and inspires the observer's fantasy.
Images can be just as fascinating, when they present topics in a way that goes beyond the obvious. You can either picture a tree or photograph it in a way, that catches the typical autumn atmosphere. Make the atmosphere accessible to those watching your photograph and make it the central theme of your picture.
Always try to create pictures, that easily open up to the viewer. Motives that seem to be obvious for you, due to your relatedness, can stay mysterious for others. So try to keep your photos documental or clearly point out your intention to offer the observer an interpretive view on the topic.
A special perspective can make photos more interesting. Just photographing palm trees or the beach, will probably create pretty arbitrary photos. Snapshots may be a great reminder for those who made them, but for others, they stay meaningless.
If you kneel down instead (worm's-eye view) or shoot with a stand from a higher position (bird's-eye view), your photos will be much more interesting. But always think about the influence that such an extreme perspective can have on the perception of the motive, since the drama is intensified.
That is why you should aways shoot portraits at eye level. Sooner than you think, you can turn a nice person into a menacing figure, when you photograph her from below. And a face can suddenly appear unattractive, when it is not photographed at eye level, because the facial features are distorted.
Please note: in case you are not yet familiar with the different photographic techniques, you should stick to shooting your photos at eye level with a normal exposure time and a normal focal length.
Make sure to take care of a well-balanced art work and try to orientate on the Rule of thirds that refers to the „golden ratio“ and helps to achieve a picture composition with optimal proportions. The image is imaginary divided into nine parts of equal size by two vertical and two horizontal lines. The image's horizon is then either placed on the higher or lower horizontal line, so that a ratio of 2/3 or 1/3 originates, as the following pictures show:
Picture 1: sky 1/3, ocean 2/3
Picture 2: sky 2/3, ocean 1/3
This imaginary picture division also helps to adjust picture elements and thus to arrange the placement of the main motive in order to the intersections of the virtual vertical and horizontal lines. By not being placed in the middle of the photo, the motive can unfold its full potential, as shown in the picture below.
Picture 3: sky 2/3, meadow 1/3, tree placed at the intersection of the lower horizontal and the right vertical line
Of course, breaking this rule can lead to very interesting photos, too. Thus arrange your pictures in order to the motive and your intention.
Upload and Metadata
Unfortunately, we happen to be refusing media, which does not accord to our quality criteria, quite often. You, as a seller at Catooh, can spare yourself and our editors a lot of work, if you evaluate your photos critically and only upload perfect pictures.
Some sellers upload too many similar versions of one motive, instead of only uploading three good shots out of various perspectives or with different image details (e.g. close-ups, long shots). If this happens, most of the time, only one of the pictures is accepted and the rest is refused due to a lack of composition. This is extremely time consuming for our editors and a disappointing experience for the sellers.
Try to sort out insufficient shots before uploading. Over- or underexposed photos are improper for sale, just as shots with people accidentally running through the image or such shots that have been taken right before or after the critical moment.
After uploading, you should enter exact metadata, to make sure that potential buyers can easily find your media. Make sure to enter correct keywords and sort your photos into matching categories. If your photos are highlighted due to a certain pespective or field sizes, feel free to add the respective term to the keywords (e.g. worms eye, close-up etc.). Try to think of the keywords you would enter to find your photo. In case your picture contains a certain symbolism (love, joy, sadness) or matches another superior topic, adapt your keywords respecitvely.
Now you are almost done. The last thing you have to do, is publish your media. To do so, mark all the completed media files in your „Upload list“ and click on „Publish“ to enable them for sale.
Our editors will now check your media and, if all criteria are achieved, activate them for our media catalog. You can identify the published media files by their green mark in the „Upload list“. In case your media is not accepted, you receive an e-mail with the reason for refusal. If it has been rejected due to incomplete Metadata, your medium will be marked red in the Upload list and you will be able to re-edit it.
We hope that the tips in this tutorial were helpful and wish you a lot of success, selling your media at Catooh!