Stock Photography talk at local library is all set up!

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.

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Proposal to give a talk on stock photography accepted!

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!

  1. Introduction
  2. What is stock photography? With visual examples
    1. General definition
    2. Editorial vs. non-editorial
    3. Royalty-free vs. Rights managed
    4. Examples e.g. Shutterstock, Alamy, Dreamstime
  3. Equipment needed
    1. DLSR camera (or really good smartphone)
    2. Tripod
    3. Access to editing software – Photoshop, Lightroom
  4. Requirements for good stock photography – would show examples, walk-through
    1. Perfect focus at full size (100%)
    2. No noise
    3. No watermarks
    4. Good composition
    5. Cleaned up photo
    6. Right size
    7. No logos or copyrights if not editorial
    8. Credentials if needed for events
    9. Title, caption, keywords, categories
    10. Model and property releases
  5. But first have to be accepted by a stock photo website – requirements
    1. Use Shutterstock as example
    2. Exclusive or non-exclusive?
  6. Branding – optional
    1. Photogallery
    2. Website
    3. Business cards
    4. Artist statement
    5. Tearsheet
  7. Legal considerations
    1. “Doing business as” license
    2. Protecting your own photographs
  8. Event and travel photography suggestions
  9. Suggestions to get started
    1. Determine your goal
    2. Become a better photographer (Shutter speed, apertures, ISO)
    3. Invest in a good camera
    4. Take a lot of photos
    5. Read stock photography blogs
    6. Set up home studio (optional)
    7. Network
      1. Ann Arbor Women Artists – http://www.annarborwomenartists.org
      2. The Arts Alliance – a3arts.org
    8. Watch for impostor syndrome
  10. Acknowledgements

Setting up a SmugMug gallery

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

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 “right-click message,” also in the “Photo Protection” section when you create the gallery. The idea is when someone right-clicks to download your photo they instead get a message that you can personalize. Mine reads: “All photos are © Susan Montgomery. Look for the buy button to buy a print for yourself. Thanks!”
  • 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.

Next steps

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!

Susan

Milestone – Fifth Anniversary of this blog!

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,

Susan

Fine Art America – First Sale

I became a member of Fine Art America as a way to provide framed versions of my photos. Not much happened for a while, but I finally did get my first sale on it recently!

That’s very encouraging, and makes me want to update my stock of photos on that site and do more with it this summer. On the summer to-do list it goes!

Shutterstock Presents story submission

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 first applied to Shutterstock as a challenge to improve as a photographer and to explore alternative sources of income as a single mother. I then realized that it was a great avenue to highlight my lovely home state of Michigan (https://www.shutterstock.com/g/smontgom?searchterm=michigan ).  I love taking stock photos during “photo days” in various towns in the area, such as Detroit (https://www.shutterstock.com/g/smontgom?searchterm=detroit) and Ann Arbor ( https://www.shutterstock.com/g/smontgom?searchterm=ann+arbor ). I find it rewarding seeing my Shutterstock photographs used in articles about downtown Detroit companies, such as Compuware (https://venturebeat.com/2014/09/02/mainframe-veteran-compuware-goes-private-for-2-5-billion/ ), or Fodor’s page on America’s best main streets ( https://www.fodors.com/news/trip-ideas/americas-best-main-streets#!14-south-main-street )

I also appreciate the power of stock photography in advocating for social justice, making available photos of marches in Ann Arbor, such as the Hash Bash in support of marijuana legalization to Shutterstock, (www.shutterstock.com/g/smontgom?searchterm=hash+bash), and then seeing them appear in news articles ( https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/reminder-if-michigan-city-councils-ban-marijuana-shops-residents-can-bring-the-issue-to-the-ballot/Content?oid=19586631 ). Likewise I can support the rights of immigrants by taking photos at marches such as the pro DACA rally in Ann Arbor (https://www.shutterstock.com/g/smontgom?searchterm=daca ) and then, through Shutterstock, find such photos used in relevant articles (https://sojo.net/articles/dhs-rescinds-obama-plan-protect-4-million-undocumented-immigrants )

A side fun project has been my editorial logo series, which makes for an scavenger hunt-type of experience  in searching for company logos in signs and store fronts  (https://www.shutterstock.com/g/smontgom?searchterm=logo

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. 

Thank you for your consideration,

Susan Montgomery

Milestone – Canton Fine Arts Exhibition 2017, 2 sales!

I noticed recently that I never posted about the Canton Fine Arts Exhibition, which was quite a thrill, oops…

I took a chance and submitted Paris Locks to the Canton Fine Arts Exhibition in 2017, which was accepted in the AAWA Summer 2017 Juried Show and in the 2017 Blueprint magazine, and it got accepted!

PARIS – AUG 7: Close-up of some locks at the Pont Neuf in Paris, France on August 7, 2016. It is the oldest standing bridge across the Seine river.

So I attended the reception, and you can imagine I was walking around looking at the art and thinking “wow, the others are really artists, I don’t know if I belong here…” and then I noticed that there was a red dot on the description of my photo. I took a deep breath and walked over to the organizers to see if the red dot meant what I thought it meant, and lo and behold, my framed photo had sold! Not only that, but a woman in front of it was asking for contact information for the artist because she also wanted to buy it… Tee hee, I enjoyed telling her that I was the artist. She asked me if I could remove the “John” and “Maggie” names and substitute the names of her friends who loved Paris so she could give it to them as a wedding present, and indeed I was able to, with the magic of Photoshop:

So two sales, yey! I was really feeling like an artist then…

You can see the photo in the video of the exhibit, it’s behind the juror’s head when he is discussing the Exhibition.