Photos, Videos

Meet Our Team: Javier Sánchez, Photo & Video Review Team Lead

Javier Sanchez on orange background

At Envato, we review every single item that ends up on our platforms for quality and commercial demand. And today, we’re talking to one of the people who is responsible for setting and maintaining our high standards. This interview is with Javier Sánchez, our Photo & Video Review Team Lead.

Javier has a background in photography and experience in creating content for a variety of different media and platforms. Read on to learn about his day-to-day work at Envato, what he thinks makes items stand out from the crowd, and his tips for Authors!

Envato wouldn’t be here without the collective effort of Authors and our community.

Javi Sánchez Photo & Video Review Team Lead, Envato


Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’m a visual arts specialist with a background in photography, animation and video production. I’ve been involved in content creation/development for 15+ years. Over this time, I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to all kinds of platforms like entertainment websites, magazines (actual print media!), vlogs, podcasts, news outlets and advertising agencies.

I got my start as a photographer and photoshoot coordinator. That was pretty much my introduction to leading creative teams which turned out to be a whole new career! 

How did you get started with Envato?

My first interaction with Envato was actually through ThemeForest way back in the day.

As a photographer, I wanted to create a photo blog to share my images with the world. A good friend of mine helped me set it up using a theme bought from ThemeForest. Throughout my career, I’ve used Envato to source audio, graphics, stock photos and video countless times.

In late 2022 I was working as a Senior Media Producer for a Publishing company when I was recruited by Envato. Now, I lead the Elements Photo & Video review team.

Please describe your role at Envato. What do you do day to day?

I’m the leader of the Elements Photo and Video review team, which consists of 15 people. I help to manage their day-today workload which includes reviewing items in the queue review, curating items, and providing support to other areas when communicating with Authors or improving processes.

The main objective of my role is making sure the content uploaded to Envato Elements is suitable for our customers’ various needs and aligned with the company goals.

Below: Images from Envato’s ‘Creatives‘ curated collection

Are there any common frustrations someone in your role faces?

The most common one is probably getting hundreds or even thousands of extremely similar items from the same Author.

We do try and get as many items on Elements as possible. However, there’s no way to justify so many photos and videos that look almost identical. In these cases, we accept the ones we think will have the best chance of being sold.

Luckily, our team has been doing this for half a decade, so we’re pretty confident that we’re selecting the right set of photos/videos. We understand that Authors invest significantly to produce their material, so we curate their submissions with this in mind. 

Also, as a team lead, it is a challenge to keep everyone aligned with the company’s guidelines and challenges. However, I do personally enjoy having conversations with my team. I find it gives me a chance to connect and engage with everyone and appreciate their skills. You definitely have to be a people person working at Envato!


What or who inspires you?

I find inspiration in all types of media! I’m interested in both collaborative works like cinema, and solo artistic endeavors like novels. I love watching movies that challenge me, listening to new music and playing videogames.

If I had to pick just one, I’d say that music videos are my favorite thing. Some artists really put a lot of brilliant ideas condensed in a 2-3 minute art piece that is somehow bigger than the sum of its parts.

Artists like Café Tacvba, Peggy Gou, The Chemical Brothers, The Avalanches, Kylie Minogue, Mondo Grosso, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have produced some of my favorite videos ever. Also, pretty much any K-Pop band has top notch videos that inspire me because of the production design.

Above: Images from Envato’s ‘Summer Vibes‘ curated collection

I usually read/listen/watch too many creative people to mention! Basically, I try to follow people that create useful summaries of what’s going on in the media. If something grabs my attention, I’ll deep dive. Sometimes that leads to a rabbit hole I didn’t even know existed.

I have to say, I do have an unfair advantage. My partner is a media buyer, planner and Digital Marketer. I learn a lot just by watching her work. 

Advice to Authors

My take on trends is: don’t get too attached to one single style/trend.

As an Author, you have to keep up with not just a style or subculture, but with the overall cultural discourse. I know this sounds like a tall order, so make sure to add research tools such as generative AI to your toolkit.

What I’ve learned over my career is that mixed media storytelling is capable of delivering really powerful messages. I think that’s why it’s in high demand. In this current always-online global culture things that run across different media types have the best cut through.

You don’t need to know it all, what you need is to know is where to look things up: go ahead and follow artists on IG, fashion designers on TikTok, subscribe to that photo newsletter, support your local artists…and always check our Envato Elements trends page!

You don’t need to know it all. What you need to know is where to look things up!

Javi Sánchez Photo & Video Review Team Lead, Envato

A photo from the 'flat lays' collection, curated by our photo & video review teams. This photo depicts hands chopping mushrooms among fresh produce and a charcuterie board.
Image by LightFieldStudios, sourced from the ‘Flat Lays‘ curated collection.

What advice do you have for photo and video Authors who are new to Envato?

Take some time to research the library before submitting your work. This will allow you to have a clear understanding of what usually gets published and what themes or subjects are crowded. Stay away from those and look for themes that are new or have less competition.

Use your location and resources to your advantage. If you live in a country with beautiful landscapes or a very specific cuisine, use that! Got a friend or family member with a magazine-worthy house that’s just perfect for a portrait shoot? Time to call them up and ask for help 😉

Bonus tip: Keep and eye out for our hand curated collections. As the name suggests, these are hand picked by our seasoned team, hence, a good way to understand what catches their eye. 

We’ve sourced all the images in this article from curated collections, like the selection below, from the ‘Dogs‘ collection.

What makes a photo or video great? How would you differentiate between a good item and a great one?

Besides checking all the boxes on the technical/execution front, a great stock item offers the end user options, it can be cropped, overlaid with text/copy, animated, transformed as part of a composite and used in the most common platforms with no issue. Above all, I personally believe that what differentiates a great item from a good one is originality and authenticity.

Above all, I personally believe that what differentiates a great item from a good one is originality and authenticity.

Javi Sánchez Photo & Video Review Team Lead, Envato

Below: Images from Envato’s ‘Authentic‘ curated collection

How can Authors prevent their items being rejected?

Over-processed and poorly lit or composed items get rejected a lot. To avoid this, make sure that the shot is just right before pressing the button. If in doubt, shoot lots of coverage space so you at least have the chance to reframe in post production.

Another common reason for rejection is submitting too many similar items. Authors should make sure that they’re only submitting the absolute best from each shoot. A few variations is ok, but don’t go overboard.

Finally: paperwork. Remember to include all your releases when necessary.

Check out our guide to handling item rejection for more information.

Anything else you want to tell our Author community?

Whenever you need extra help, please visit the Author Hub. There are some great resources there!

And most importantly, I want to say a big thank you for your continued support! Envato wouldn’t be here without the collective effort of Authors and the community they’ve built.

More from Team Envato

Meet Our Video Specialist: Mark Brodhuber

Check out our interview with Video Content Specialist Mark Brodhuber, one of Envato’s longest-serving employees.

Discover how Mark stays across industry trends and his top tips for Envato Authors!

Image of Mark Brodhuber, Video Quality Team Lead

Meet Tyson Frantz, Motion Graphics Reviewer

We caught up with Senior VideoHive Reviewer Tyson Frantz, about his motion graphics background, his Envato journey, review tips and inspiration.

Check it out!

Do you find this article useful?