The posting is up for my upcoming Stock Photography talk at the Ann Arbor District Library!
Getting Started in Stock Photography
Wednesday October 16, 2019: 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room
Description: Have you ever wondered if you could make money from your photography? Are you ready for a new challenge, or just want to experience the thrill of seeing your photograph in national publications? Local photographer Susan Montgomery will explain what stock photography is, share her journey with photography, and walk you through the steps to help you get started in stock photography using examples from her own work. Susan Montgomery is a stock, nature and travel photographer. Susan has ten years of experience in stock photography and has had an article on stock photography published by Digital Photography School. You can see her stock photos at http://www.shutterstock.com/g/smontgom and many other stock photo sites. Check out her blog about stock photography at SusanMontgomeryPhotos.com! https://aadl.org/node/396049
I listed the draft of what my talk will include here.
The Ann Arbor District Library accepted my proposal to give a presentation on “Getting started in stock photography” ! It’ll be on Wednesday October 16, 7:30 – 9 pm in the downtown library. So excited to share what I have learned with others… :) The current outline is below. I’d appreciate any questions you might ask at such a presentation or anything obvious you see missing so I can make sure I’m covering all the bases. Submit them and any other suggestions in the comments section, thanks!
What is stock photography? With visual examples
Editorial vs. non-editorial
Royalty-free vs. Rights managed
Examples e.g. Shutterstock, Alamy, Dreamstime
DLSR camera (or really good smartphone)
Access to editing software – Photoshop, Lightroom
Requirements for good stock photography – would show examples, walk-through
Perfect focus at full size (100%)
Cleaned up photo
No logos or copyrights if not editorial
Credentials if needed for events
Title, caption, keywords, categories
Model and property releases
But first have to be accepted by a stock photo website – requirements
Use Shutterstock as example
Exclusive or non-exclusive?
Branding – optional
“Doing business as” license
Protecting your own photographs
Event and travel photography suggestions
Suggestions to get started
Determine your goal
Become a better photographer (Shutter speed, apertures, ISO)
A tearsheet is named after the torn pages from magazines you would have had in the past to showcase your work. I learned the value of actual pages or screenshots when I went back to my old “Sightings of my photos” page and realized that some of the links to some of my coolest sightings went to dead pages, so sad…
I then searched for the best examples of my work in the most noteworthy publications I could find. I performed Google image searches of my most popular photos, as well as word searches such as ‘ “Susan Montgomery” Shutterstock -www.shutterstock.com .’ I created the tearsheet using the best references, included brief citations in the “title” sections so they’d show up in the slideshows. I then also realized I wanted my tearsheet to be a “page” on the top of my blog, rather than a post, so it’s more permanent and easier to access. I created a “Page” and copied the content from my post to the page.
I am happy to announce that I have created a SmugMug gallery! I did a lot of research and a SmugMug gallery together with this blog seemed like the best solution for me. In this entry I am sharing what I did to help others who might be considering starting one.
I intend to use my SmugMug gallery to:
Showcase my photos to friends and photo editors that I might contact in the future so they can see samples.
Make event photos available for download for groups. These will mostly be photos of events that I am making available for free to the event organizers.
Maybe even sell a photo or two…
Selecting a Format
I looked for a “clean” format, chose one named Dina, and adapted it just a bit to have a “White Duotone” background to have a slightly different color in the menu portion on the left. It was very easy to add sections to the menu:
Uploading photos was very easy, and I could place them in “galleries” that can be organized into “folders:”
I just uploaded them from my laptop, but you also have the option to upload from other sources, e.g. Lightroom. Arranging folders and galleries was very intuitive. I have reorganized the galleries and folders easily, e.g. I had a “photojournalism” folder for “events,” then decided to move “events” to the top layer, nothing to it, just scoot galleries around like you would folders on your computer.
Displaying the photos within a gallery
There are many ways to display the photos. I went with Collage Landscape, but there are many other ways, and it would be trivial to change that if I were to change my mind, either for individual galleries or globally. You can also determine whether to include a slideshow, and many other features:
Help features very useful
SmugMug has a very helpful support center that walks you through the whole process, a search for help lands you on very relevant and useful articles:
Photo security options
SmugMug gives you many options to secure your photos. After much research I decided to take three steps:
Set a small image size for the displayed image, so if someone downloads an image it’s not of great quality, not suitable for framing, etc. I might decide to go even smaller in the future, we’ll see
Add a watermark to the photos – SmugMug makes this trivially easy, you can save a watermark image, or create on within SmugMug, which I did, then when you create a gallery you can tell it to add a watermark to all photos in the “Photo Protection” section. So the watermark shows up on the screen and downloaded photos, but not in ordered ones.
I realize none of these are totally foolproof, they can take a screenshot, etc. but I’ve done what I can, I’ll leave it at that.
Selecting a subscription
I also had to decide which subscription to get. The current options are:
As a professional photographer the plan is to have some sales, so I went with the Portfolio option. I originally selected the Pro option, then I realized that was overdoing it for my purposes so I changed it to Portfolio and they updated it right away and gave me a credit, didn’t have to wait until renewal time, which I very much appreciated.
As for prices for sales, I decided to just go with the SmugMug presets, we’ll see how it goes.
If you have any other questions about setting up a SmugMug website let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them. In the meantime, if you decide to proceed yourself, you can get 20% off your first year subscription if you use this link , or the one at the top of the page, to get started. Full disclosure, I also get 20% off your subscription price toward my next update, thanks!
Best wishes on YOUR photography (and SmugMug!) adventures!
June 4th, 2019 was the fifth anniversary of this blog, how time flies! I haven’t mastered the art of finding the bandwidth to post during the school year, but glad to still be making progress in my photography at least. With over 11,000 hits I seem to be reaching some people who I hope are getting useful suggestions on becoming better photographers and on the stock photography business. I plan to catch up on some Shooting Stock Photos entries this week, so if anyone has any questions they’d like me to address happy to take suggestions for blog entries.
In the meantime, best wishes on YOUR photography adventures,
In the spirit of “can’t hurt to give it a shot,” I submitted my story to Shutterstock Presents, cross your fingers that they decide to feature me… Here’s what I submitted:
My professional photography career started when my kids insisted I get a “real” camera before a 2004 trip to the Grand Canyon. Since then I have enjoyed a growing photography career, learning through workshops and online courses, and sharing what I am learning with others. I focus on nature, travel, and editorial stock photography.
I would be an interesting photographer to feature because not only do I use stock photography to support growth in my area and for social justice, I also educate others to give photography, specifically stock photography, a shot. I share my story and giving aspiring photographers step by step recommendations on how to get started through my blog at SusanMontgomeryPhotos.com . I am also unique in that in my day job during the school year I am a Chemical Engineering faculty member, a lecturer at the University of Michigan. Through sharing my photography story I aim to encourage others who might not think of themselves as “artists” to explore that side of their lives.