Welcome to NativeFoto! This tutorial is your first step on the way to becoming a NativeFoto contributor. We encourage our contributors to be as imaginative as possible and submit their most creative work. At the same time, we have very specific requirements designed to maintain the quality of our collection. There will be a short quiz at the end of this tutorial, so please read it carefully.

What We Need From You

NativeFoto is in the business of selling images to customers who need them. The more marketable your images, the more money you will make.

We are looking for images with the following qualities:

  • Appropriate, interesting and creative subject matter.
  • Strong technical quality.
  • Compliance with our legal requirements, including copyrights and model releases.
  • Appropriate keywords to help customers find your images.

We'll cover each of these topics in detail below.

Subject Matter

Choose Appropriate Subjects

You will have the greatest success at NativeFoto if you submit images that are eye-catching, creative and have broad usage appeal. Think about what a designer would need for an online or publishing project.

The best images often focus on on a single, interesting subject. Consider subjects, concepts or places that are hard to shoot. Avoid submitting shots with parts of the subject cut off. Customers sometimes prefer images with space for text.

Do not submit lifeless, mundane, snapshot-quality images. Stay away from images with no particular subject, or that feature subjects of low interest.

Please spend some time browsing our collection and studying the shots that achieve the most downloads. At the same time, avoid submitting work that other NativeFoto contributors have already covered thoroughly. Generally speaking, we don't need more images of flowers, cats, mountains and other common, easy-to-shoot subjects.

Clipping Paths? Yes!

Clipping paths are used to isolate the subject of a photo. They are often used in photographs of a subject against a solid-color background. Create and save a clipping path with your image if you can. Clipping paths are not required, but customers appreciate them. Including them will boost your chances of selling your images.

Partial Nudity Only

NativeFoto will generally allow partial nudity in submitted photographs. We will reject images containing fully exposed buttocks, genitals, fully exposed female breasts or female nipples.

Technical Quality

The stock photography marketplace demands increasingly better-looking, higher-quality images. Your images should be appealing to the eye and professionally composed, properly exposed, and colorful.

Making adjustments in Adobe Photoshop to boost color and adjust light levels is appropriate, but try not to over-do it.

During the image approval process, you will get feedback if your images are not what we are looking for. Please don't be discouraged or offended. We are trying to give you pointed feedback to help you understand what will make your images a better fit for our collection.

Some common reasons for rejection include underexposed images, images with hard flash shadows, and badly focused, blurry or overly grainy images.

We'll show you some examples of acceptable and unacceptable images on page 2 of this tutorial.

Legal Requirements

Please read this next section carefully. Photographers who repeatedly upload images that violate our legal requirements will have their accounts closed and may forfeit any balance they have accumulated.


1. You must be the photographer of the photo or the artist who created the artwork.

No exceptions. If you are NOT the photographer, chances are you cannot legally upload the photo or resell it. The sole exception would be an old family photo, where the estate of the original photographer passed it to you as the legal heir.

Photographers or artists who upload photos that are not their own will have their accounts closed and will lose any account balance.

2. You cannot upload a retouched version of an image someone else created.

Consider this an extension of rule 1. Under no circumstances can you upload an image that was obtained from any other source, even if you've altered it heavily.

3. Except for Editorial Use Images, your pictures may not contain logos, characters, advertisements, images, or graphics that are copyrighted or trademarked.

Please look closely at your photos for logos, graphics or other possibly copyrighted work before uploading them. We cannot accept any photo with a recognizable logo. You may digitally obscure a logo to make it unreadable as long as the photo still looks good.

Photos from places that contain recognizable characters (such as Mickey Mouse at a Disney theme park) also not acceptable.

Works of art created after 1923, including sculptures, are likely to be copyrighted. Do not submit photographs that include modern works of art.

An exception to this rule is Editorial Use Images (explained below), which may contain trademarked material.

Model Releases

If your photos include recognizable people, you must upload model releases for each person in the photo. The only exceptions are images designated as Editorial Use Images (explained below).

Any photo with recognizable people in it must have an accompanying adult model release, available here: Adult Model Release or minor model release, available here: Minor Model Release. This includes photos of people taken in public places and photos of crowds in which individual people are recognizable.

A legal guardian must sign a model release for minors under the age of 18 and any other people unable to sign for themselves.

If you are uploading a series of photos of one model, only one model release per photo session is needed. However, you still must upload that release with each photo that you upload. In other words, EVERY photo of a recognizable person needs a release, and every person in the photo must have a release.

Please remember It is a crime to forge a model release.

You upload releases to your Release Manager, which is separate from your image uploading area. Assign your releases to your images after you've uploaded them. You should assign several releases to an image that includes several people.

Property Releases

Photos of showing the interior of a private building, such as a business, or taken on the owner's property should have an accompanying property release, available here: Property Release signed by the owner.

We will sometimes approve images without property releases and label the image so the buyer knows the image is not released. However, getting a property release provides extra protection and an extra incentive for a customer to buy your image.

Taking photos of buildings or homes from outside in a public street is generally OK, as long as the pictures don't show anything private such as people seen through windows.

Vehicle registration or license plate numbers

For privacy reasons, you should obscure any vehicle license plates or other registration numbers on images you are uploading for commercial use. Editorial Use Images (explained below) may contain visible vehicle license numbers.

About Editorial Use Images

Some images at NativeFoto are designated for Editorial Use only. These photographs are intended for use with articles that comment on the subject of the picture. Common examples include pictures of celebrities, street scenes, news events, and sports and entertainment events at which photography is allowed.

Editorial Use Images often feature recognizable people who are newsworthy for some reason and who have not signed model releases.

All Editorial Use Images must be submitted with a caption that includes:

  • A clear description of the image. (Who is in it? What's happening?)
  • The date the image was taken.
  • The place the image was taken.

An image of a subject with a commercial logo, such as a FedEx truck, is not acceptable for commercial use, but may be acceptable as an Editorial Use Image since it contains a subject which someone might want to comment on.

If you lose a model release for a studio shoot, you cannot upload that photograph as Editorial Use. Images of non-newsworthy events or non-commentary worthy subject matter will not be approved if submitted for editorial use.


You are responsible for writing the keywords that help customers find and download your pictures. Good keywording is critical to good sales. Follow these steps to make sure your images have the best keywords possible.

1.) Begin by asking questions about your images:

  • WHAT is it?
  • WHAT's it doing?
  • HOW does it feel?
  • WHERE is it?
  • What COLOR is it?
  • WHY is it this way?
  • WHO interacts with it?
  • WHO is it?
  • WHAT do you DO with it?

2.) Enter as many pertinent keywords as possible.

Think about whether a keyword will help someone find the right image. For example, conceptual photos not necessarily about a specific place should not include the name of the city in which they were shot. On the other hand, a photo of an English pub or the Tube in London are both examples of photos that SHOULD have the keywords "london, UK, england" because they could be useful to a customer looking for photos of London.

Use commas and spaces like this: "dog, puppy, hound, barking, pet, canine" and so on.

3.) Never include irrelevant keywords.

If you include keywords that fail to describe your image, we will reject your submission. Our editors do their best to add keywords we think are missing, but it's your job to try to give us the best keywords you can.

4.) Don't forget variations of words like "smile" and "smiling."

Adding "s" or "es" to words is not necessary, since our search engine will do that automatically. Adding "ing" or "ly" when appropriate is a good idea.

Only one of each word is allowed in your keywords, so you do not need to enter "red fruit, red apple, red delicious apple". Simply entering "red, delicious, fruit, apple" will be fine. Entering multi-word phrases is not necessary, since they will be reduced to single words when you submit them.