Questionable declines

Wording declines

Sometimes I will decline an image if there is a lack of wording however there is wording but it can use more work.
For example, I see a lovely image that has the description of a dog.
Description: “My dog Biscuit on the beach.”
It would be more advisable to write, “A Golden Retriever on the beaches at Watergate Bay, Cornwall. “ – Generalize, people will remember their dog at the beach, not your dog. They will have a personal connection with that moment if you can bring them there.
Avoid using the word “MY” in the description, it means something to you, but it won’t mean anything to the average customer.
Quick examples to avoid– My wife, my dog, my cat, my hands, my feet, my friend. You get the idea.

Blown Sky

Another reason for a confusing decline is a “Blown Sky” when there is no sky in the image. It could be just written as a blown object.
A blown sky is a general term, which normally occurs in the sky. However one of the most common places it occurs is during long exposure photography and to be more specific in running water. Over the course of the long exposure, the running water will dominate the sensor and the colours and come out all white. This will cause a blown effect thus bleaching the colours around the blown area.

Dust Spots

A word about “Dust Spots.” Dust spots can occur on the lens sensor any part of the photography process, which just needs a quick clean and away you go.
But sometimes we can’t determine what the spot is. More times than not we know from experience that the spot is in fact a bird in the distance. The average customer will see the spot and assume is some sort of problem or defect and move to the next image. Look at your image through the eyes of customer. Does it look like it’s perfect? This is why we call it a dust spot, because it is a spot on the image and the customer cannot determine what it is.

Lens Flare

This is the complete opposite with the dust spot. A customer will purchase a canvas, but when the canvas is made, a 10mm sun flare is in the centre of the picture. The customer, never saw the flare and will demand a return/refund or a re-print. Therefore please be very careful with the flares and unless it is 100% visible and part of the picture it can be flagged, refunded or a re-print which causes a waste of time for the customer, photographer (fixing and disappointment) and for us.

Copyright Infringement

Before going deeper into this subject, remember that when you, the member, uploads and image. You tick a box when uploading that says you are bound by the members contract (located here) specifically clause 2, 3 & 4.

Also, please remember that we are not copyright lawyers and the information below may be outdated or incorrect, but we try our best to inform members of the potential minefield that is out there and that the member is responsible for being up to date with copyright laws and intellectual property laws.

The following is based on UK law.
The law in the EU, and many other countries, is generally similar but it should never be assumed to be the same.

There is much confusion about what copyright does and does not cover. As photographers, copyright is vital to the protection of our own rights, and we should clearly be equally respectful to the rights of others: but what, in fact, are these rights?

UK law (based on the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) states that copyright applies to 'original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works'. This includes photographs. Copyright takes effect  automatically when a work is created; there is no need to register copyright in the UK.

*Exceptions and exemptions*
By definition, copyright cannot apply to things such as a human face or a natural landscape. There is also a specific exemption within the Act (Part 62) which makes it clear that the copyright in buildings, and
sculptures on public display, is NOT infringed by photographing it. Many photographers have been faced with claims of copyright infringement for photographing buildings and sculptures, but such claims have no basis in law. (This does not give carte blanche to publish photographs of buildings and sculptures. If photos are taken on private property, rather than from a public right of way, other restrictions may apply, but copyright does not come into it.)

Apart from buildings and sculptures, as outlined above, photographers should avoid making other peoples' creative works the main subject of their images, unless of course they have the permission of the copyright owner. This could apply to paintings, murals and frescoes, and also to graffiti and the work of pavement artists. Copyright law does permit 'incidental inclusion' of such works in a photograph. There's no precise definition of 'incidental', so use common sense but is a large grey area of what can be interpreted by 2 sides.

*Who owns copyright?*
Normally, copyright belongs to the creator of a work, or to their heir(s). A freelance photographer shooting on commission still owns copyright to their images, unless their agreement with the client states otherwise. However, if you are employed as a photographer, or take photos as part of your work, copyright will normally belong to your employer.

*Duration of copyright*
Copyright applies automatically from the day a work is created, for the lifetime of the creator and for 70 years after their death. Copyright in your photographs will pass to your heirs and you might want to think about making specific provision in your will. Photographing other peoples' artistic creation does not infringe copyright if they have been dead more than 70 years. Other restrictions may apply, but if you yourself own an old painting or antique map which is out of copyright, you can copy/photograph it freely.

Further information
There's a good summary of copyright as it affects photographers (and

Private Property

Private property is pretty much anything that isn't public access or a public space. This is not to be confused however with Crown Land - which you still need permission even though it's a public space. - The Crown owns that land.
You must acquire permission of the land holder if you were to take and sell pictures. Failure to do so could land in you some hot water.

For example; If you took a picture of a farmers horse from the public road, then you're OK. But if you went into their field up to the horse, then you're trespassing on private property and the farmer could go after you for doing so.


This leads us into accreditation. Closely linked with copyright. If you are at an event which credentials given out, you must have the accreditation to post. It doesn’t matter if the stadium is empty, you are still on private property and accreds are given out at the clubs/events discretion. Failing to comply can land you in some hot water.
If you do have accreditation, then you do not need a model release.