Critique the Community

Published Images that Earned You Money

Submit your favorite images that have made you money for your chance to win a free Fstoppers tutorial.
  • Submission Deadline: Fri, 23 Aug 19 03:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

When it comes to maintaining a photography business, the images that make you money are the ones that really matter. For the next episode of Critique the Community, we will be providing feedback to only images that have generated income for you. 

Between now and August 22, 2019 at 11:45 PM EST, we will be accepting submissions that fit the following requirements. The image must have been published and must have generated some sort of income for you. It doesn't matter whether you only made a penny or thousands of dollars from the picture. It had to have been purchased and published by someone else for use on a billboard, ad campaign, magazine, company website, or some some other outlet available to be viewed by others. 

When you submit your image, be sure to scroll through the rest of the submissions and provide your own honest feedback according to the Fstoppers rating scale below. Use your number and keypad to quickly rate each picture and leave comments on ones where you see an area that could use improvement. 

  • Submission Deadline: Fri, 23 Aug 19 03:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 506 people have cast a total of 30,104 votes on 340 submissions from 232 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results


Adriano Brigante's picture

I sell prints that people display on their walls. Is that considered "some other outlet available to be viewed by others"?

Bastian Mannerow's picture


Jerome Brill's picture

I am curious as well. I produced a limited run 2019 BWCA Calendar last year. Sold all copies. Half locally and the rest on Etsy.

Dan Menard's picture


Logan Cressler's picture

"It had to have been purchased and published by someone else for use on a billboard, ad campaign, magazine, company website, or some some other outlet available to be viewed by others."

I think that means that it had to be purchased and published by someone else, other than yourself.

Although I am pretty sure a significant number of the images submitted were never published by someone else.

George Popescu's picture

Yup, many people printed the images and sold prints or calendars or whatnot, which does not match the requirement of the photo being purchased by someone else.

Patrick Hall's picture

I'll chime in here...bought/sold/used by someone other than you. I don't think fine art prints really count because anyone can sell a print. David did sell ONE copy of Atlas but that doesn't count. You should be able to point to a publication online or have a tear sheet of the publication.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

It may be published somewhere in Corporate Dark Web (some call it intranet). And you never know where exactly and when.

Matt Coppage's picture

I'd argue anyone can sell a subpar image as stock or have a company come across it on social media and pay next to nothing to license it for similar purposes. It takes greater skill and effort to sell high quality prints to private buyers.

Jordan Butler's picture

Patrick Hall , Has there been a critique the community on photography websites? I think that could a be cool video that would really help people (and leads on from this CTC) to develop the commercial aspect of their photography.

Thanks once again.

Dan Seefeldt's picture

Didn't David sell his Altas photo?

David Strauss's picture

I did... Should I submit it to the competition? ;)

Matthew Teetshorn's picture

You take a lot of heat for that image, when I actually think it's pretty cool. Not even just what went in to making it, I think it looks cool.

Matthew Teetshorn's picture

Oh no! I got a reply from the man himself and now I'm basking in his shame and disapproval..... <shrug>

Logan Cressler's picture

I swear people just go through and give every image 1 star. I have also noticed a disturbing trend that people will disagree with something that someone said in the discussion and go to their profile and rate every image one star. I have seen it on many peoples images, including my own.

F Stoppers needs to make a system where if you rate too many images 1 star, that they are manually reviewed and if found that you either intentionally abuse the system, or clearly do not understand how to rate, that your ability to do so is revoked.

The image rating system should not be used as a weapon against people you do not agree with, or to make sure that your personal image can be closer to the highest rated image.

Which is why "the fstoppers community is so harsh" which is said every single review.

It is because people are either gaming the system or they cannot separate their personal feelings from professional endeavors, taking out their personal disagreements out on other peoples images.

Either way it is an abuse of the system. The only reason I am even posting this here, is that perhaps, someone at Fstoppers will notice this, as it is not beneficial to the community at all, and thus hurts them directly.

liliumva's picture

There was an author on here that did it to mine lol Their rating system isn't fair, but eh, nothing really can be done.

Logan Cressler's picture

Absolutely something can be done. Since in this community, true one star images are so rare, anyone rating one star images should pop up for review. If they are abusing the system their ability to rate images should be suspended. They either do not understand the system, or they are intentionally gaming the system.

Another option would be to put peoples ratings as public for all to see. Harder to rate images unfairly when everyone can see if you are being honest and professional or just being a troll.

In these, people frequently will give very single image 1 star to better the chances of theirs getting a higher rating.

Makes me want to go through and just give every single one 5 stars.

Its a broken system, because no one monitors it at all.

liliumva's picture

That I can agree with about giving notice as to why it's rated 1*. They should be required to offer info as to why it's a 1* or some CC to help the photographer better understand why it was rated as such. But then you have to think of the whole retaliation thing that comes from it and how someone could just decide to 1* someone's work who had rated them low.

Logan Cressler's picture

How about just every time you rate an image, it is show in your own portfolio, a list of your ratings. Be pretty fast to see who is just a troll when you see they have 50 one star ratings in a row. There are so incredibly few true one star images on this site, no one should be giving too many one stars out at all.

Perhaps you should also have to have images in your portfolio to be able to rate any at all, as I suspect many of these come from people that dont have any at all.

liliumva's picture

That is my biggest issue here, the people with no work making comments and rating. Something needs to be done about that too and maybe a block function that prevents trolls from low-rating people's work.

David Doughty's picture

I rarely post images simply because when I have done so, I get a bunch of 1's and 2's (and a few 3's) but no comments. If a person is of the opinion that my work "needs work," I'd gladly accept commentary as to what I can do to improve. Sadly, that is rarely given here.

Of course, with that said, I rarely rate anything a one so hopefully I wouldn't be accused of abusing or trolling the system. ;)

Logan Cressler's picture

I actually think that is a pretty quality idea, expanding on what you said, that if people rate it a 1 or a 2 that they have to comment on it as well, giving feedback.

tabletop's picture

How about just turn off the rating system for contests and just base the win solely on votes? I’m new here but I think that would work better instead. I mean isn’t that how an entry wins anyway ?

Dan Menard's picture

another problem is that a lot of photographers have an unrealistic opinion of their work. There are some legit 1 star images in here and those photographers think they are pretty good otherwise they wouldn't submit them. Then when they get rated as such the game is "rigged against them" Its hard to be objective. If you post an amazing image it will not end up with an average rating below 2.5 if its lower than that, it does need work. 3.7 is the highest average you can really expect because,well, its an average. If you can get some 3 star ratings your images are really really good.

Jeremy Chapline's picture

My personal opinion is that well 1. I totally agree with everything said. 2. I feel like the ambiguity of the rating system holds nobody accountable so it's easy for a troll or someone who wants to boost their ratings to do so. It would be nice to have a hover state or details where you can see who voted what in an open to all kind of format. That way if you go through a bunch of images and see someone who rated everything in the contest a 1 you know what's up. Also adding in a required comment for why you gave something a 1, 2 and maybe even 3 star rating would be really nice. At the end of the day it is really difficult to come up with a "perfect" system since this is art and well, all art is subjective. But if F-Stoppers wants credibility to their platform, it is something that needs to be addressed for sure.

Tony Clark's picture

People can be very petty, perhaps the one star rating will improve their chance of winning. Funny, I just enter an image and got my one star quickly but maybe I should deserved it.

Logan Cressler's picture

Some CC, I would have went with one of your food images in your portfolio, they are far stronger images. The image you submitted, the resolution is very low which doesnt help things a lot, but the verticals are not straight, its very warm, the white robe is yellow not white for instance, and the whole image is leaning to the right. It has some good bones though.

Tony Clark's picture

In hindsight yes but that shot has earned far more in stock. Funny, the stock industry has tanked since that shot was submitted.

Logan Cressler's picture

Not to late to switch it out

Carl Irjala's picture

Ranking photos has always been so difficult. Since it is the question of taste, the taste varies quite a bit between individuals. What I think is a world-class photo maybe classified by others as a snapshot.

But one thing I promise to do in this competition, I will only rate from three stars or higher. Later on, I'll tell you how many photos got my vote. I wish all participants good luck!

g coll's picture

The main issue is that 98% of the readers are not qualified judges. A rating is only worth any value when it is provided by a qualified photography judge.

Here on Fstoppers we have a community rating system so we're going to run into the problems you and others have outlined. It is unavoidable unfortunately.

Logan Cressler's picture

The standards are well laid out. If a photograph has used additional light for instance, it cannot be a 1 star image period.

Perhaps your comment lends credence to the idea of only allowing people with a portfolio of images to rate peoples images, as to be a 3 star image it has to be worthy to put in your portfolio and will get you work.

g coll's picture

Not necessarily. A good photographer doesn't always make for a good judge. It is a skill which requires practice.

George Popescu's picture

I mentioned this in a previous contest, many people just don't know how to "rate" and image, even their own.
The way they choose what images to enter in the contest reflects this as well, so they cannot be trusted to rate other people's images as well.
They don't understand that 1 one is a snapshot, so if the photo was planned with a specific model posing, or additional lighting it must be a 2 at least.
Also they don't understand that a 3 is average, it's not a bad score, and a 4 means the images were published somewhere so by definition most of the images in this contest should be 4s since they were published somewhere sometime.
Alas, here we are in the 2's and 3's zone.

Logan Cressler's picture

There is nothing in the requirement of 4 stars about publishing:

"4 star images are fantastic. In most cases, 4 star images have a certain style to them that links them directly to their creator. 4 star images usually require planning and attention to extreme detail. It's almost impossible to shoot a 4 star image by getting lucky. 4 star images have almost flawless conception, composition, lighting, subject matter, and postproduction. If you have any 4 star images in your portfolio you should be very proud of yourself."

And just because your local newspaper printed an image, doesnt make it 4 stars either, but would qualify for this contest if they paid you something for it.

Also, I really dont think people rating images 1 star are doing it out of lack of understanding on how to rate, they are doing it out of malice or trying to game the system so their images gets higher ratings.

I really think that you should check the rules for the rating system, I am not sure you understand them lol.

George Popescu's picture

You lost me at "4 star images are fantastic", if they're fantastic at 4 stars what are they at 5? Bewildering, breathtaking...what other adjectives would fit a 5 star image?
Some of the people are rating images 1 because of malice, but I'd like to think that most of them just don't know how to rate images, or they don't like the subject matter so they give it a 1 if it doesn't appeal to them.

Logan Cressler's picture

Bro, thats not me, thats a direct quote (literally copy pasted thats why its in quotes) of the definition of a 4 star image in this rating system. You are here bitching about people not understanding the rating system, when you clearly have never even read it and are playing by your own rules.

READ THE DAMN RULES. You are just making up your own and complaining that other people dont know how to rate, when clearly you dont either.

George Popescu's picture

Triggered much?

I didn't say people don't know how to rate photos for these contests, I meant people don't know how to rate photos in general, including their own photos as I mentioned in my original post.
Which you clearly just passed over in your self indulging need to "educate" others on the internet.

Give yourself a pat on the back you have achieved your goal, have a cookie too! :)

Logan Cressler's picture

Just so you know, because I doubt you will actually look at the rating system and take the time how to rate in this system, but will instead choose to continue to believe whatever you want to, here is the definition of a 5 star image:

"5 star images are flawless and unforgettable. The amount of time, energy, and talent that goes into the average 5 star image is staggering. In many cases these pictures require a team to produce including a professional retoucher. The concept, lighting, subject, location, and postproduction on these images has to be perfect. In some cases the jump from 4 to 5 stars may be as simple as changing the unknown model in the picture with a celebrity or bringing in a set designer or stylist to make the image slightly better. Although there are always exceptions, most 5 star images take days, if not weeks or months to produce."

Jeff McCollough's picture

My image has been licensed tons of times yet it got two stars here. I know for a fact that most people rating images here are clowns.

Ruth Carll's picture


Dan Grayum's picture

What, are you some kind of clownist? Clowns work hard to make us laugh, that's something the world needs more of.

Chris Sampson's picture

I never pic the photos i submit to these contests. Instead I have others I work with choose the selections to avoid my perception of the work.

Jamie Felton's picture

Maybe if the guys who do the critique combined their score and that counted as half of the final score for prize-winning purposes, it would even things out a bit and prevent some of the low ball scores that are given to game the system. Better yet, just give the tutorials out to two random entries. That would take away a lot of the motivation for cheaters to give undeserved 1-star ratings.

Trevor Kennedy's picture

I'm 100% with you on this. I fought this battle last time. I hate to say it but I think it's useless to even say anything at this point. It's clear they aren't interested in this kind of feedback or improving the community at all. The admins don't even chime in when these comments come up. Part of me thinks they actually like promoting a toxic community - otherwise they might - at the bare minimum - acknowledge the problem even if they have no plans of addressing it. I've wasted my last ounce of energy on this. I'll submit images when I think I have something relevant to the contest, and I'll rate others images fairly based on the absurd 5-star system they've put in place. But I'm done chiming in here unless I see Lee, Patrick, David or any other admins taking this seriously... Good luck with your 2.5 star images everyone!!!

Jeff McCollough's picture

I think the admins are too busy writing anti Trump articles.

Jeff McCollough's picture

My thoughts exactly.

Matthew Teetshorn's picture

I wildly agree with your thoughts on people rating images 1 star all the time, the average in these contests is far lower than on the site in general.

That said, the whole rating system is non-sensical. Given the nature of the site you pretty much have a binary rating system in that 90% of the images are 2s and 3s. Almost no one is submitting anything so poorly thought out as to be a 1 and very few have the technical artistry or ability to even make a 4 star image as described in the rating system. There are images I've rated a 4 star because I really like them, but I can't justify why it's a 4 taken by their strict criteria. 5 is so much down to personal preference as to be meaningless from an objective ratings standpoint.

No real reason to have a 5 point scale where everyone only gets 2 ratings. This is why every video has "I'd give it a 'high 2' or 'low 3' or 'I'm between a 3 and a 4' comment. Subconsciously they're compensating for an inadequate system of rating that doesn't provide meaningful distinction between images.

pdbreske's picture

The ratings system is only a “weapon” if you allow it to be. In other words, if you ignore what ratings you are getting on some silly website, those ratings can’t possibly hurt you. I haven’t looked at my portfolio ratings since the week after I uploaded the photos. And I never will. Because it means nothing.

As for these “contests,” I’m pretty sure this is going to be the last time I enter anything. It’s pointless and when I watch the videos, the reviews are so biased against true art (in favor of commercial appeal) that I rarely agree with what they are suggesting. Plus the fact that they are so openly in favor of fantasy edits and composites that no one knows what the original photo looks like.

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Contest Submissions

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