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Contributors Manual

Please take the time to review our Contributors Manual. It will provide you with discussion around the standard of photographs we are looking for and some technical aspects to consider when planning your submissions to NZstockphotos. Our aim is to create a collection of useful images and visual elements that designers can confidently include in their projects. We wish to ensure every image uploaded on NZstockphotos will:

Reproduce accurately across different digital and print media.

The images do not contain any kind of technical imperfections at full size that will limit their usefulness.

NZstockphotos images contain no unreleased people or property, copyright or trademark elements, that could limit their commercial application under our standard royalty-free license.



Minimum 10MP digital camera. Preferably DSLR with RAW capability

NO scanned images. All images originally shot on a digital camera (10MP or higher)


* You must own the full copyright to any image you upload. This means you must be the original artist (photographer). If you do not have complete rights to the image, do not submit it.

File Format

NZstockphotos accepts RGB JPG files only. TIFs, PNGs and PSDs will be declined. CMYK images will also be declined.

If possible, shoot in RAW format and covert your images to JPEGs using dedicated image processing software. As a result you will have images with more detail, larger JPEG file sizes and fewer compression artifacts. Be sure to set the compression quality to the maximum available before converting to JPEG (e.g. Level 12 in Photoshop).

Image Size

NZstockphotos accepts files 1600 x 1200 pixels or larger. Any file smaller than 1600 x 1200 pixels will be declined. By meeting this minimum requirement NZstockphotos will be able to sell your images in large, medium and small sizes. If you can supply larger sizes (pixel x pixel), then we may be able to sell them as XL images, so it's often in your best interest to provide an image in the largest pixel dimensions possible. NZstockphotos will automatically create all the different size files from the full resolution file that you upload.

NZstockphotos will not accept files that have been up-sampled or "rezzed-up" or upsampled. Supply your largest original image size.

Images NZstockphotos is Looking For

NZstockphotos is building an extensive collection of images. We would love to see our photographers unique perspective on themes and subject matter. Look at our current library of images for gaps in the collection and fill them in.

Images that NZstockphotos needs:

Corporate shots: modern business practices.

Food and Beverages: Iconic New Zealand cuisine.

Groups & Teams: People working and playing together.

Holiday & Seasonal Celebrations: We are looking for religious, seasonal and cultural celebrations; this can include local festivals and customs.

Non-Business Jobs and Industries - farming, horticulture, fisheries, hospitality and tourism etc.

People Interacting with one another, including family relationships and cultural affiliations. Images that display New Zealand's cultural diversity.

Religion and Spirituality

Social Issues

Sports & Outdoor activities- especially team sports and images that convey the active NZ lifestyle

Images that NZstockphotos does not need

3D – Simple Renders, 3D Text or simplistic modeling

Airplane Wings (& out the window shots)

Flags: 3D or real.

Nature Snap Shots

Single Apples (or Green Peppers or Oranges) Isolated on White

Sunsets, Cloudscapes, Skies - only exceptional images.

Symbols: !$%@ – Whether rendered or photographed.


Images need to be useful to designers and end users. An image is suitable when it has a well-defined subject, care has gone into the composition, and it describes or shows an object or concept clearly. Always look at your frame with the whole composition in mind.


Focus issues generally fall into three main categories:

The image is out of focus in general — it appears soft or even blurry.

The camera moved during the exposure.

There is focus, but it's on the wrong place in the image.

Small depth of field (depending on your focal length) needs careful attention.

Manual focus and specialty lenses require a lot of practice to master proper focus.

If you've slightly missed focus, do not selectively sharpen the area. Minor mistakes are tolerable if you have a big image.


Images must be well lit and properly exposed. Flat light, shadows or poor exposure are flaws in an image and will be declined.

When shooting outdoors, be aware of seasonal light levels.  Use colour correction filters, neutral density filters, and polarizers to compensate for certain kinds of light. Consider under or over exposure for variations in weather conditions.

Work with your on-camera flash and its operational functions. If necessary use light diffusers to illuminate your subject gently.

If you have access to studio lighting, explore the many different ways to illuminate your subject.



Isolating a subject against a solid background can make a great image. There are some important considerations while doing it:

Shoot the entire subject: A cropped isolation is often less useful than a whole subject.

Lighting and reflections: A subject that looks like it was cut out of its original context is often less useful than an isolation that looks like it was intentionally shot as an isolation.

Depth of field: An isolated subject that has its edges in focus may be more useful than an isolation with a narrower depth of field.

Finally, consider whether an isolation is the best way to show the subject or convey the concept.

Negative Space

Extra empty space for copy and text is really helpful in a stock image.

Useful copy space allows a designer add text without having to alter the image – shallow depth of field and out of focus areas, in a well-composed ratio of subject to background.

In general, crop tightly. Do not add simple colours just to achieve pseudo-copy space. Particularly for isolated objects pasted onto a colour canvas.

Noise Reduction

In low light conditions, photographers increase the ISO to capture more light. By increasing the ISO, electricity through your camera's sensor increases, allowing it to see more light, however this extra electricity heats up the sensor and can introduce pixel discoloration, or noise. These discoloured pixels appear speckled throughout darker areas of the image. The higher the ISO, the warmer the sensor, and the more noise that can appear.

It is better to use a higher ISO and get a proper exposure than to try and fix the exposure later with image editing software.

Use low ISO settings if possible.

If you need to raise your ISO, be sure to get the proper exposure.

Underexposed images will most likely introduce some visible noise after editing, especially when bringing up detail in darker areas.

If you do end up with visible noise, there are applications and programs to help remove it. Always use these carefully and sparingly. Noise reduction programs can be very hard on image detail and if you aren't familiar with the software you can quickly destroy an image. A little visible noise is preferable to a damaged de-noised image.

When you have too much visible noise, start the reduction process carefully. Chrominance noise reduction will generally give you a more pleasant, "grainy" look. This is better than Luminance de-noising, which destroys detailed in a particular polished looking way. Generally, some grain is fine.

You may end up using both methods. Proceed carefully, apply small amounts at a time, and observe your detail structure along the way.

Downsizing may improve the overall appearance – you don't always have to work with your camera's maximum native output pixel size. A good looking downsized 8 MP image is better than a over-edited 20 MP image.


Compression, and 'Compression artifact', refer to visual distortion which occurs in an image when information is lost. This happens in 2 main ways:

JPEG file formatting compresses an image to reduce the file size during saving. This compression method loses some information in order to shrink the file. When too much information is lost it can have a visible impact on the image.

This can also happen during the image editing stage. A lot of compression is a result of excessive image editing. Certain filters or processing techniques will cause information to become lost and introduce compression damage into the file.

Some examples of compression damage include: curved edges in detailed areas take on a jagged stair-case like appearance. Checkerboard style blocks appear. Color gradients become 'banded', meaning that instead of a smooth transition between colors, there are instead abrupt changes from one color to another making visible bands across the image. This often happens in large areas of subtle color change, like a clear blue sky in a landscape.

Use a DSLR and not a compact digital camera with a smaller sensor.

Shoot RAW. Edit your files with care, always observing changes in the detail quality at 100% all around the frame.

Watch out when selectively correcting exposure, adjusting curves, or boosting saturation – these can all introduce compression.

Do not sharpen too much.


"Over-filtering” is a broad term for issues encountered as a result of over editing photos. Namely - over-sharpening, excessive combinations of sharpening and de-noise applications, and selective blurring to try and solve compression issues. Selective blurring of people's faces (often done to try and avoid model releases), and editing of logos and banners can also lead to over-filtering.

Shoot RAW. Edit your original files with care, watch for possible issues and try to correct them properly instead of trying to hide them.

Avoid specialty filters and plugins as they generally lack detail quality.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberrations, or purple (or blue/cyan/red/yellow) fringing occurs when not all the wavelengths of light hitting your lens are focused properly on the sensor. This usually causes a coloured fringe or halo around the edges of your subject outlines. It needs to be removed or it will show in print production, especially if the appearance is severe and visible on important parts of the image.

Close down your lens if possible.

Watch the angle of your light source and where you point your lens.

Good quality lenses will be less prone to this problem. Old lenses without proper coating, or cheap lenses, will fringe easily. They also are generally less sharp and will produce poor quality detail.

You can manually remove fringing in your preferred image editing program.

Sensor Spots & Hot Pixels

Sensor spots occur when particles of dirt and dust enter the camera body and find their way to the sensor. If you change your lenses frequently or work in dusty environments, manual sensor cleaning is important. We don't want to see any dust spots on the images you submit.

Clean dust off your sensor regularly.

Be very careful if you are cleaning your sensor yourself.

Review your images carefully at 100% corner to corner, especially with big depth of field shots. Dust spots and hot pixels are easy to find and remove.

For long exposures, try your camera's 'long exposure' or 'dark frame subtraction' noise reduction. This should remove almost all noise with no reduction in quality. The downside is it will double your exposure time.

Image Hygiene

Take some time before you shoot to look over small details and make sure that everything is clean and in order. Designers do not want to spend time removing bits of hair, spots of dust and dirt from images.

Watch for dust and finger prints.

Examine clothing before and during a photography session for dust, falling hair, etc.

Keep an eye on fingernail hygiene in any close-ups of hands: handshakes, typing, writing, etc.

While editing, carefully review the image at 100% from corner to corner for anything you may have missed. Watch for sensor dust spots as well.

Borders & Rotation

Borders: we do not accept images with strokes, borders or border effects applied to them. The subject or background of the image must extend to the edges of the file.

Rotation: the files that you submit must be rotated to the correct orientation so that the subject appears in the proper position.

Duplicates & Series

While we encourage contributors to explore a subject beyond obvious approaches, we cannot accept endless series of images on the same subject. If you submit multiple images of one subject, ensure that each image is significantly different from the others in the series.

By "significant differences” we mean images must go beyond simple changes in orientation, color, zoom, or angle. The images in a series should have different compositions, moods, meanings, or actions.



The decision to accept or reject an image containing nudity will be made at the sole discretion of NZstockphotos. Never submit ‘glamour’ photos or explicit material. Partial nudity in context may be acceptable. Submissions must not contain violence, x-rated content, or any illegal content. We reserve the right to decline files if the subject and composition is considered pornographic, obscene, or otherwise unsuitable for the NZstockphotos collection.


Title, Description & Keywords

Image Titles

Titles should be a succinct but descriptive explanation of the file. You want your titles to be brief, accurate, and descriptive.

Good naming practices include:

Accuracy and precision eg. "Golden Delicious Apples on a Table”

Include the image's main subject in general terms eg. "Building”, "Woman”, "Apple”

Some examples of the things we cannot accept in image titles are:

Default camera naming eg. "IMG_6621.jpg”

Repeated words eg. "Apples, Apples, and More Apples!”

Personal naming conventions eg. "Apple 21”

Leading characters intended to appear first in an alphabetical sort eg. "01 Apple”, "AA Apple”

Model's names or other identifications eg. "Sarah Eating an Apple”

Characters from a non-Western alphabet eg. "Синтия Рестораны Apple”


Your images' description should provide the client with information not already provided by the title and keywords. The description must be in English and include information about the image content. You may include information about where, when, and how the image was created. In some cases you must also include additional information describing the content and its copyright-free status.

If you'd like to provide your description in another language in addition to English, you are welcome to do so, provided it appears in English as well.

The description field may not include the following: Model's names or other identifications. A list of keywords. Email or website links


Keywords are how customers find your images. Make sure your keywords relate directly to your image and try to think like a customer - what words would you use to search for the image? Where applicable include the key items/objects, actions, colours, location, shapes, feelings, gender, age, weather, season, time, concept. Use single words:  avoid hyphenated words and do not use sentences or strings of words. Submissions that have poor keywords or spam keywording (including keywords that only have a tenuous connection to the subject) are likely to be rejected.


"Spamming” means deliberately including incorrect terms that have no bearing or only a tenuous connection to the content. Spamming is bad for your files, bad for the collection, and can ultimately result in having you and your portfolio removed from the site.


Legal Requirements

Certain subjects are not suitable for royalty-free images. Our clients license images to use them in all kinds of commercial and advertising applications. Because of this, our images cannot contain subjects which are subject to any kind of copyright or trademark protection.



Identifiable packaging, modern toys, and brand name products cannot be included in images where they are the main subject and in some cases cannot appear regardless of the context.


NZstockphotos does not accept images of cars with visible brand names, model names or logos. NZstockphotos also declines images where the car is the main subject and the brand or model is identifiable. NZstockphotos does accept partial shots of cars, and images of cars as the main subject at certain angles or in certain contexts, where the brand and model is unidentifiable. NZstockphotos also accepts street shots containing several cars.


Modern maps, newspapers, books, computer screens (interfaces and icons), and other forms of text are subject to copyright. Hence images with text that is more than partially visible are not acceptable. NZstockphotos also rejects any images featuring elements which would clearly identify a specific publication e.g. artwork, photographs, book titles, newspaper names, logos, etc. These would need to be removed to make an image acceptable. Images which include a portion of non-identifiable text are OK.

Playing Cards

The majority of cards found in a deck of playing cards fall into public domain and are considered "safe" for royalty free usage, however there are artwork elements in each deck of playing cards that distinguishes the deck back to its respective manufacturer. This artwork is typically displayed on the Ace of Spades, the Joker, the card backing, and the tuck box. These designs may not be included in the composition of photography submitted as p[art of a Royalty-Free collection.

Logos, Trademarks & Intellectual Property

Logos & Trademarks

Logos, trademarks, company names, and product names are not acceptable and must be removed from all images uploaded to NZstockphotos.

An exception may be made when trademarks, logos, etc are incidental to the subject, and the trademarks, logos etc are not a prominent feature. Images where trademarks, logos, etc are an integral part of the composition or images containing prominent trademarks, logos, etc are not acceptable.


Derived Content

Illustrations, artwork, or 3D renders based on either photographs, artwork, or illustrations for which you do not own the original copyright and are not the artist (creator) are not acceptable.


Electronic Devices

Screen interfaces are identifiable to their respective manufacturers and must be removed from all images uploaded to NZstockphotos.


Architecture, Art & Performances


Cityscapes and close-ups of generic-looking structures may be okay, depending on the situation. Unique or identifiable buildings/structures are not acceptable as the main focus of an image, regardless of context. Museums, sporting and entertainment venues (both interior and exterior) are not acceptable without a release. As a general rule, places that charge admission fees usually require special permission and fees for commercial photography, which makes them problematic for Royalty Free licensing.


Art (Paintings, Statues, Sculptures, etc.)

Any artwork – main focus or not – for which you are not the artist (creator) cannot appear in an image at NZstockphotos unless a property release from the artist (not the current owner) is included. Artwork located on public properties are not exempt from this rule.

Performances, Shows & Plays

Commercial images of plays, ballets, operas, theatre, concerts, fashion shows, and similar performances may be prohibited or restricted. NZstockphotos can only accept generic images of performances of this kind, and requires property releases from the venue owners, the show creator(s) and model releases from the performers.



We do not accept images of professional athletes, from any sporting events, such as games, races, practices, or promotional functions. Athletes that are identifiable or can be identified by apparel or team number are also not permitted. Teams wearing trademarks (e.g. All Blacks) are not permitted. Any identifiable athlete must complete a model release form.

Models wearing generic clothing playing sports may be acceptable.


Places, Locations & Venues

Monuments & Landmarks

Some monuments and landmarks are not in the public domain and cannot be the subject of royalty free images. Explore any restrictions prior to uploading. When you do upload an image of a landmark or monument, include as much background information as possible.


Zoological Locations & theme or Amusement Parks

Images taken at Zoos, Theme and Amusement parks, including but not limited to identifiable enclosures, installations and animals cannot be uploaded to NZstockphotos. Most places that charge entrance fees have restrictions or prohibit filming and photography on their properties for commercial purposes.


Problematic Subjects & Practices

Military property

Photography of military property may present a security risk.  At present, NZstockphotos requires a Property Release for all military property including RNZAF aircraft, RNZN vessels, NZ Army vehicles, and all military bases and buildings.


Due to counterfeit concerns we cannot accept images of bank notes where the currency appears flat, shot straight on, and shows more than 30% of the note, with or without borders visible. Series that could be combined to create a complete bill are also not acceptable. Angled, curved, or partially visible flat close ups, with 30% or less of the note showing may be acceptable.

Any images of currency, including coins, where the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II is visible, regardless of the country of origin, or the angle, size or context, are not acceptable. This also applies to stamps.

Identifiable Information

Names, phone numbers, ID numbers, license plates, and any other information which may or may not relate to a company, a person, or a private entity must be removed from your images.

Embedded Copyright Notices

We do not accept images with copyright notices added, regardless of the colour, size, or position on the image.


Do not embed your own watermark, copyright or other notice: We protect your images with our NZstockphotos watermark which is applied when your image is accepted.

Model Releases

All images containing recognizable people require a model release. There are no exceptions. Look at the image and ask yourself "Could any of these people depicted recognize themselves in this picture?" If so, you will need a model release. Sometimes the context of an image is enough to make a person recognizable, even if their face isn't visible.

The most important things to remember are:

If the main subject of the image is a person – even if the person's face is not visible – it will require a model release. Images of people photographed from behind or without their permission or awareness will generally not be acceptable.

If the photograph is of a minor (a child under the age of 18), a model release must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.

A complete model release must be uploaded with each file that requires one. If you're uploading successive shots of the same model, the model release must be included with each image.

A model release must include the date the shoot took place.

A valid witness signature must appear on the model release. It must be from a third part – someone other than the photographer or the model/parent.

If the photo is of the photographer (a self portrait), a model release is still required. A model release for self portraits does not expire; you can have an unlimited date range on your self-portrait model release.

NZstockphotos does not accept digitally created or digitally signed model releases. This includes using script fonts as signatures, e-signatures, or scanning signatures and then pasting them into the release.

To upload release forms, login to your account and click through to My Media or Pending Media. Under each thumbnail image, on the left is an Edit (notepad) icon. By clicking this you will be taken to a Edit Media Details box, from this page you will be able to upload your completed release forms.

Property Releases

Photography law relating to property in NZ has quite a few grey areas. If you’re on public property you can theoretically photograph any property you can see – public or private. However for images of private property, and particularly for private property that can be closely associated with specific people, it is better to get a Property Release.

NZstockphotos requires a Property Release for images of private property that might sensibly lead to the identification of the owner. The theory behind this is that images of a person’s property could be used to defame the owner by association. Remember that property isn’t necessarily restricted to buildings but could include pets and cars for example.

Note: if you need to step onto private property to photograph a subject then you will definitely need permission of the property owner otherwise you’re trespassing!

A NZstockphotos Property Release form is available for download from the Site or you may use an alternative. A Property Release needs to be signed by the legal owner of the property or their authorised agent.  It is your responsibility to obtain a valid and binding Property Release to permit the uses described under the NZstockphotos Content Licence Agreement. During the upload process you will be asked to confirm whether you have obtained a Property Release. If you falsely declare that you have obtained a Property Release then you may be suspended.

Many of the same formalities apply as for Model Releases.

To upload release forms, login to your account and click through to My Media or Pending Media. Under each thumbnail image, on the left is an Edit (notepad) icon. By clicking this you will be taken to a Edit Media Details box, from this page you will be able to upload your completed release forms.


These guidelines may change at any time. Please re-read them each time you consider uploading to NZstockphotos.

Uploading images that belong to somebody else (copyright or otherwise), or uploading images with obscene, violent or otherwise unsuitable content will result in your suspension and in some cases may have legal consequences.

Your Photographer Account Profile must be complete and accurate including your full first and last names, email address and physical address. Anyone uploading false details will be banned immediately.

Any Model/Property Releases you obtain should be saved forever and should be linked in some way with the photographs to which they relate. You may be asked to produce them at any time, and you will need them if you ever have to defend yourself in Court.




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