Stock Photo Critique/Review Service

I’m excited to launch a comprehensive brutally honest stock-photo review/critique service. Details at the end of this article on how you may win a complementary review!

The idea behind this service came from the positive feedback I received from the dozens of reviews I provided as part of the offer when purchasing a copy of the Brutally Honest Guide. Many readers have requested further reviews!

I’ve also benefited greatly from having my own images critiqued. Sometimes we get so lost in our own work that we fail to see to see the wood for the trees.

Pine trees (shot by Alan Brentnall) (1)

What does the review service include:

  • Comprehensive review of commercial/editorial subject matter, always with the stock photography market in mind. This will include which agencies are best to target and why – some images may be better placed outside of Microstock;
  • Comprehensive review of key technicals, including: composition, lighting, focus, noise, etc;
  • Comprehensive review of existing caption & keywords, if any, and suggest accurate keywords to include so your images can rank higher and be seen by potential buyers. Since I’m not a keywording expert, I’ve teamed up with a professional keyworder, Clemency Wright, who has agreed to collaborate with me on this project.

Last but certainly not least, I will post-process the image(s) in accordance with how I feel would achieve the goal of being seen by buyers on those thumbnails and licensed regularly.

How much does the service cost?

The comprehensive review service costs:

  • $18 for 3 images ($6 per image)
  • $25 for 5 images ($5 per image)
  • $40 for 10 images ($4 per image)

General Terms:

  • Payment is via PayPal (
  • Delivery of work within 3 consecutive days of receipt
  • Full money back guarantee if you’re not happy with the service

Getting Started

If you’re interested in getting started, please send me an email to:

and include your high-definition images (since I’ll be post-processing them). If they’re too large, please use the free WeTransfer.

An Example of a Critique

The following is one of the reviews I provided to Mirco Vacca, but I plan to go into even more detail in the paid service:

Pancake stand
Pancake stand


Ok, since this an editorial, technicals don’t need to be as high as for commercial since the scene is more spontaneous sand there’s less flexibility in post-processing (editorial rules). However, you obviously have a powerful camera so I would suggest to crop much tighter here (see my example). Not many other changes other than a bit brighter and more contrasty.  

An important general lesson is that getting really close to the subject should help you better tell your story, which should translate into more sales. 

The fact that your subject is on her phone and not eating is a bit of missed opportunity…perhaps you have other shots of her or other people eating there, or can even return to the location. There is a disconnect between her busy on the phone and the food truck behind.

Editorial value:

Not much unfortunately because of the disconnect (stated above), but if I were you I’d still submit it as depending on your keywording, it may compete. Perhaps a buyer will want to search for that specific brand of food truck or that shopping centre.

Generally, these type of street shots may do quite well on Alamy as long as it’s captioned/keyworded accurately. Also generally, a newspaper may pick up on this image to illustrate a story about the prevalence of food trucks or perhaps something to do with about mobile phone addiction.

It’s a relatively versatile image. You may even go in the extreme and clone the woman out completely, as well as logos and make it a generic food truck parked on the street, then license it commercially. This would be a lot of work (because of distractions) and probably not worth the time – I wrote about turning editorial to commercial on my blog. A quick search on shutterstock suggests that there are few other commercial shots of a food truck and it appears to be a strong trend. 


Suggest to include the following keywords / phrases:


Woman using her phone and waiting for her order by a Nalesniki pancake vehicle stand in front of a shopping mall on August 2017 in Poznan, Poland


Nalesniki, polish poland, pancake, food truck, foodtruck healthy, nature, vegetable, organic, editorial, fresh, ripe, outdoors, vegetarian, salad, nutella, one person only, produce, diet, woman using her phone, 25-30 woman, ponytail, Poznan, fast food, lunch outside”

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images. I’m determined not to waste my life away as a corporate drone and have devoted five years to making it as a travel photographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others before it’s too late.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography


  1. Many thanks, Alex. That’s been great feedback both on how to take a more interesting/standout photo and also on the post processing side, really appreciate the work you’ve put it in. Looking forward to trying to implement your suggestions now!! Ed

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will probably take you up on this service in the near future. I’m one year into my stock portfolio creation, and although I think I’m doing okay ($1000+ in sales), I’m certain I can do much better. I have some limitations that I’m working on (i.e. buying a DSLR), but hopefully by Christmas I can purchase one. I mostly struggle with how to capture my subject and finding my niche (currently I’m all over the place). Thanks for all your insight! I’m halfway through your book and it’s been a great read for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Antwon,

      I’m happy to take a quick look at your port if you want and offer you some tips. No problem about being all over the place but sooner or later you’ll have to find your niche and become an expert at it!

      Thanks for the kind words in regards to my book 🙂

      All the best


      • Gee Alex! That’s super kind of you. I must admit that I’m a little timid, as I’ve never shared my portfolio links with anyone and received any kind of feedback. I really need it though and I suppose I’ll experience plenty more critique in the future. I’m often affected by many of the forum comments I read from veteran stock producers who complain of “all the junk images” that plague stock photography nowadays. Please keep in mind that all of my images/footage are produced on a smartphone and I’m an amateur. It’s all that I have for the time being. Thanks for taking the time to connect with me and offer a sample of your brutally honest service. Here are my links to Shutterstock:

        Looking forward!

        Liked by 1 person

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