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My photo adventures

From the beginning…

So in this section I intend to chart my continued adventures into photography. I’m starting with this post that will bring you up to date as to how I got here. You can see my suggestions in Getting Started in Stock Photography, but this is more of the personal story.

I took some photographs when I was in school, fancied myself a good photographer, submitted them to a local contest, and when I didn’t place I decided I had been wrong and should just give up. So much for my confidence in my abilities!

Flash forward 15 years later and I was that mom that took photos of everything their kids were doing, and folks would ask me to take photos of their kids and send them copies. Before a family trip to Yellowstone in 2008 my kids encouraged me to get a DSLR camera, saying it would be a shame to take a little point and shoot when I took such good photographs, so I purchased a Nikon D40, which seemed an extravagant purchase at the time. Thanks for the support, guys!

Little by little I learned how to use some of the features of my camera. I like the approach I read about in an article once. Just go along until you find that you are frustrated about some issue with your photograph, then look up that issue online and figure out what camera feature will help you fix it, and learn that feature, and so on as you demand more of your photos. That philosophy kept me from becoming overwhelmed and losing confidence. Six years later I know about ISOs, apertures, white balances, etc. It wasn’t the fastest path there, but it has served me well. I also took some online courses, and get lessons through other means, as you can see in Resources for Better Photographs.

In 2009 I took a shot at getting into Shutterstock to help me improve my photos, and with a mind to take photography beyond a hobby. In Stock Photo Submission and Tutorial you can see my progression to the current 13 stock photo sites, though most of my stock photo income comes from Shutterstock, iStockphoto and Dreamstime.

At some point Shutterstock started requiring 4 MegaPixel photos and the D40 was a 6 MegaPixel camera, meaning that I couldn’t crop very much of the photo before it wasn’t eligible, so I was ready to move on to the next camera, my current D7000, which I bought from my local camera shop, Huron Camera in Dexter, MI. The folks there have been very patient and helpful, so I try to buy big items there to help ensure they stay in business.

I recently attended Mike Moats Macro Bootcamp which was tremendous, I learned so much in those three days, I’ve already seen an improvement in my photos:

Matthaei peonies pink between whites

One of my passions is car details

06 2013 Cruise 1957 Chevy flames

I recently submitted a proposal to the University of Michigan Hospital’s Gift of Arts program based on these car details, so we’ll see how that goes.

OK, that pretty much brings you up to speed. I plan to keep regular posts from now on updating my progress.

Best wishes in your own adventures,



About Susan Montgomery

I'm a stock photographer, with focus on editorial, classic cars, travel, and nature.


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