Current stock photo submission websites

I noticed in preparing for my talk about stock photography on October 16 that some of the contributor links in the older articles are out of date, so I’ve included all current contributor links below, with my biggest sellers in bold:

The Shutterstock include a referral code, which means that if you get in I get a small fee for the first few photos you sell. It doesn’t come out of your money, it’s an extra thank you to me for having referred you. I appreciate the support!

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.

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

Shooting stock photos – 4th of July Parade in Ypsilanti

Had a great time taking photos at the Ypsilanti Fourth of July parade Wednesday, shooting photos both for stock photo sites and to share with the community. Some things I’m happy I did:

  • I got there half an hour before the parade started, tested out some shots, noticed things I wanted to include (such as the water tower) or avoid (flags with photos of Eastern Michigan University students that were on many lamp posts), checked my camera settings…
  • Took lots of photos! I love this parade because everyone is so friendly and happy to get their picture taken:
    DSC_9924
  • There’s also lots of space on this block so shots have cleaner backgrounds than in a busy shopping block (though there weren’t as many people in the audience as past years, everyone was protecting themselves in the shade), so you get nice contrasts in the shots without super busy backgrounds:
    DSC_0053.jpg
  • I could get close to the action to get some cool shots, such as this one of some of the original Rosie the Riveters, who are working to preserve the history of Willow Run airport where they built all those bombers during WWII:
    DSC_9947.jpg
  • I could also help promote organizations such as the library bookmobile, the local thrift shop, and the local National Society of Black Engineers Jr. chapter:
    DSC_0081
  • I posted my best photos of each group on my Susan Montgomery Photos Facebook page  to make them accessible to parade participants and spent much of the afternoon contacting them through their websites or Facebook pages so they could access the photos for free, as a courtesy. You can see the ones I submitted to Shutterstock this year and in 2014 here.

Next time I plan to:

  • Review the photos from past years and remember that I liked some that showed the top of the water tower in the background (See Shutterstock link) and try to get some shots with that background in addition to those above.
  • Move to an area where there are more visible audience members, as in this area many were in the shade protecting themselves from the heat, which took away from the energy of the parade participants.
  • Take more shots of some of the groups. In some cases I was not pleased with what I had but moved on too quickly to the next group instead of “traveling” with the group I wasn’t done with and getting another chance at solid photos.

In the meantime, best wishes in YOUR photography adventures.

Susan

Shooting stock photos – Roller Derby again!

(A special note for the folks I know through the University of Michigan: I’m a photographer in my other life and realized a few months ago that LinkedIn rules state you can only have one LinkedIn page, so I had to merge my UM and photography pages, so expect some photo related entries when I update my photography blog…)

I got my camera fixed in time to attend another Ann Arbor Derby Dimes bout last Friday, those wonderfully supportive women who give me free passes to their bouts and a nifty Media Pass…  I got to try my new lens, a Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8 that I’m proud to say I bought with my photography earnings. I got it at Camera Mall, a very nice relatively new camera shop in Ann Arbor. The folks there are super helpful and supportive. I also took along my “nifty fifty,” a Nikon 50 m f/1.8G that I got a few years ago then didn’t ever use as I got shy about street photography, sigh… But I’m learning to say “oh, well,” figure out the lesson to be learned and move on rather than linger on past mistakes, so, oh, well, at least I had it to use now.

The new lenses made such a difference!  At a larger aperture more light came in, so I could have a faster shutter speed, thus able to capture the action in much better focus, yey! Remember, the aperture is the fraction of the lens that is open, e.g. f/8 on a 50 mm lens means a 6.25 mm diameter opening, so the smaller the f-stop the larger the lens opening when you click the shutter, thus “larger aperture” means “smaller f-stop.”

I also brought my monopod, made me look a bit dorky but at my age I don’t really care much what people think of me anymore, and it added another level of steadiness so the photos came out sharper.

You can see the photos I submitted to them at the Derby Dimes facebook page.  Some of my favorites are:

DSC_9572

50 mm lens, ISO 800, 1/400 sec, f/2.0

DSC_9597

50 mm lens, ISO 800, 1/640 sec, f/2.2

DSC_9745

50 mm lens, ISO 1000, 1/1000 sec, f/1.8

DSC_9892

24-70 mm lens at 42 mm, ISO 1600, 1/500 sec, f/2.8

What I’m pleased about:

  • With the new lenses I had much more light coming in, could go with faster (shorter) shutter speeds, so captured the action better.
  • Taking the time to learn about the sport so I better understand what is going on. Still have much to learn, but I’m getting there, and it helps me anticipate and frame the shots better.
  • How wonderfully supportive the team is of everyone, of each other and of the other teams, and making me feel very welcome.
  • The opportunity to show strong women in action, and never sharing any photos that might embarrass anyone.
  • Including the refs in the photos, for a full shot of the action and to show appreciation for their work.
  • As for backgrounds I like the first photo because the back wall makes for a much nicer background compared to the trees.
  • I notice that 3 of my 4 favorite photos are with the “nifty fifty”, the 50 mm lens, which let much more light in than the 24-70 mm (f/1.8 vs f/2.8). Notice that the aperture it selected for the shutter speed I set is larger than I could have gotten with the 24-70 mm lens.
  • Having the 24-70 mm lens, however, allowed me to also get wider shots than I couldn’t have gotten with the 50 mm, sometimes the 50 mm was too constraining. Notice the last photo is at 42 mm, which allows me to include the refs.

Altogether a very fun evening of roller derby and photography, learning every day.

It really is about getting out there and trying things, messing up, learning from your mistakes, trying again. I got my first “real” DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera in 2004, shot mostly my kids activities and family trips for a short time, took an online photography class at the local community college in 2010, have taken Lynda.com photography and photoshop courses most summers, took two Great Courses video courses by Joel Sartore of National Geographic in 2014, started this blog in 2014…

Just keep chugging away, keep learning and trying, and next thing you know you’ll feel comfortable with aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc.

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures!

Susan

Shooting stock photos – Columbus, OH 2017

Drove to Columbus, OH for my day job, and had fun shooting stock photos while I was out of town, here are some reflections on the trip…  What I did right:

  • Planned ahead by checking out popular locations and marking them on Googlemaps, which helped tremendously with planning – Once I was at one location I could quickly scan the map and find other nearby locations, so I could see those that were near each other and prepare my photo taking.
  • Looked up headquarters of companies that might be nearby, to get some idea of what was there.
  • Took my time getting there, so I could pull out as I desired, like a stop at Bowling Green State University. I’d often wanted to check out the campus:

Bowling Green State University Jerome Library

and having my camera on me at all times so when I’m moved to take a photo I can catch it before the opportunity disappears:

long sunny road

  • Went around Ohio Stadium to get a wide variety of shots:

  • Took my time downtown, and waiting for enough people to walk into the shot to make for a more interesting photograph:

Scioto Mile, in downtown Columbus, OH

  • Looked for those random opportunities that present themselves:

  • Enjoyed photography for its sake, not thinking only of stock photography
  • Let a little kid take a photograph with my camera, sharing the joy of photography with others.
  • Processed the photos fairly quickly, just finished just two weeks after the trip.

What I would do differently:

  • Print out a map with the popular locations, so I didn’t have to refer to the phone every time. I hadn’t realized that the saved locations don’t show when in directions mode…

You can see the photos Shutterstock accepted from Columbus here. Hope these reflections help you, and best wishes on YOUR photography adventures!

Susan

Impostor syndrome rears its head again…

In my day job I often do workshops on Impostor Syndrome, where you don’t think you are good enough, you’re a fraud, and you are going to be found out. I recently had something happen with my photography that I will be able to use as an example in future workshops, thought I’d share it as it might have happened to some of you as well.

So when I first started doing stock photos I had a relatively decent acceptance rate, maybe 75 %, with a number of photos getting denied because of quality issues – Out of focus, poor composition, etc.  And it took me FOREVER to get into iStockphoto, trying year after year until they finally let me in…. When I was catching up on those France photos recently I was submitting lots of photos at a time and I would invariably have sets of a dozen or more photos all get accepted. My first response?  “Wow, their standards must have gone down.”  Seriously, THAT was my response. Luckily I was familiar with Impostor Syndrome, so I could stop and tell myself “Wait!  Is there maybe another reason all your photos were accepted? Is there any chance you are actually a better photographer now?”  I had to laugh. Even knowing all about Impostor Syndrome to the point of doing workshops about it, I still fall for it…  Yes, I have to admit, I have worked hard at it, taken classes in person and online, many things that I would forget about now come naturally, I am indeed a better photographer now, thank you very much…

So lesson for all of us, yes, we always have more to learn and we must remain humble, but let’s take credit for the progress we are making to become better photographers every day and not be so hard on ourselves…

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures,

Susan

Shooting stock photos – France 2016

Finally processed the photos I took on a trip to France last summer, yey…

I had a few days on my own first, where I visited Giverny and Monet’s house and garden, then had a bit more than a week with my boyfriend, mostly in Paris but also a day trip to Normandy and Omaha Beach area. I was very conscious that this was not a photography trip that he was coming along for, it was a couples trip that I happened to be taking advantage of to take some photographs.

Things I did right:

  • Balanced tourist time with photography time, so as not to burden him.
  • Took photos of every day scenes, like people walking on the streets, and pastry shops:Paris StreetPastries at the Bretteau Jean-Marie  Patisserie, Paris
  • Lined up a shot I wanted then waited for the right combination of people to come into it to make it more interesting:Musee D'Orsay, Paris
  • Took the time to get just the right shot – when my boyfriend was busy doing other things so I wasn’t making him wait forever. I spent over 10 minutes taking more than a dozen shots of this lovely musician while he shopped in the market:Organist entertaining at Marche Aligre, Paris
  • Tried for unusual shots of the Eiffel Tower, with tourists in it:Eiffel Tower, Paris
  • Patiently waited for the wind to be just right to get the cool shot of the weathervane at a train station while waiting for the train to return from Giverny. The weathervane never again lined up before the train arrived, good thing I caught it when I did:Weathervane in Vernon, France
  • Made a note of the names of the streets and tourist signs at photo locations to make it easier to write captions later.
  • Had fun trying to recreate some of Monet’s paintings:Monet garden, Giverny, France

Things I could have done better:

  • Many little technical details and probably missed many shots, but I really enjoyed the trip for itself, the photos were a side thing.
  • Again, process them sooner, it took me months to get back to them. I realized I was overwhelmed by the number of photos I had to get through. Once I realized that the only way to get through them was to… get through them, I was able to break the task up into little pieces: Select favorites, copy them from iPhoto and name them, break them up into little sets that didn’t seem too overwhelming to work on, clean them up on Photoshop, then caption and keyword them. Some days I was all for cleaning up, other days I was more interested in captioning and keywording, I played it by ear until they all got done.

Yesterday I finished the last batch, and submitted the last photos, ended up having over 100 photos approved, yey. You can see the photos that were accepted by Shutterstock here (last few aren’t up just yet, patience..)

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures,

Susan

Shooting stock photos – Woman’s March in January 2017

Still catching up on old shooting adventures.  In January I participated in and took photos at the Women’s March in Ann Arbor, MI. I learned from past such occasions to get both long, medium and short range shots:

Women's March Ann Arbor 2017
Women's March Ann Arbor 2017
Women's March Ann Arbor 2017

I also have more confidence now to get in front with the other photographers and get close up shots of the speakers, such as our representative Debbie Dingell:

Women's March Ann Arbor 2017

So things I did right:

  • Took short, medium, and long range shots
  • Was more confident getting in there with the other photographers to get the close-ups and crowd shots.
  • Took notes as to who the speakers were for the less famous ones, saved me lots of time later on when adding captions to the photos.
  • I took photos of everyone who asked me to, I am getting much more comfortable interacting with people in that mode.

Mistake I made:

  • Took way too long to process them, should be better about processing them right away, where they can be more useful, and get more downloads…  I find I get such a kick out of taking the photos, but I have to be in just the right mood to process them, both clean up the photos themselves and putting in a caption, keywords, etc. I am mindful that for me this is a hobby and I want to have it stay fun. If this were my day job I would be a lot more diligent about this…

You can see all the photos that I sent to Shutterstock and got accepted here.

Best wishes on your photography adventures,

Susan

Writing an Artist Statement

I have written Artist Statements for a number of shows now, and I remember not knowing at first what to include in them, so for those of you who are new, here are some suggestions based on what I have done myself and from reading others’ artists statements at the shows I have been in.

Items to consider including:

  • Name, email, website
  • Brief bio, particularly about you as a photographer
  • A photograph of you, and/or a business card
  • Philosophy of what photography means to you, what inspires you
  • Information about the piece(s), any theme you might have, why it interested you.
  • Details on the camera you use (I don’t do this, but more techy folks do)
  • Thank you to the exhibit organizers
  • Some type of “hope you enjoy the piece” statement to the visitors.

One of my artists statements is included below:

artist statement

 

Shooting stock photos – Lansing photo day

Had a good day trip with my sister to Lansing Michigan back in March, it was good to get away from the day job for a while.  Some reflections:

  • I googled “things to do in Lansing” for some ideas of places to go
  • Went with the flow when I ran into unexpected things like this river rat:
    river rat
  • Tried a wide range of different angles at some of the locations, and preferred the ones that included another site in the background, so you could get more of a sense of place, such as this shot of the Vietnam memorial with the capitol in the background:
    Lansing memorial with capitol
  • At the Lansing Lugnuts’ stadium also tried different angles until I found the one that I thought captured the feeling of the place best:
    Lansing lugnuts who
    Loved the sense of humor with Who’s on First… :)

You can see all the Lansing photos here

Shooting Stock Photos – Detroit solo photo day

A couple week-ends ago I found myself with some free time on a nice sunny day, so I went into Detroit to take photographs, my small way to help out by providing positive images of Detroit for stock photo needs – I had a blast! Spent over an hour at Eastern Market, caught some new shots at the museum area, finally got a photo of the Motown museum, and even hit the Heidelberg project.  Wonderful to get away and get some shots!

Things that went well:

  • Did some advance planning re. locations so I focused on ones that were kinda close to each other and I could have a general order I wanted to go in.
  • Got lucky in having an Eastern Market truck parked in just the perfect position to capture it.

DSC_4058.jpg

  • Asked permission of vendors at Eastern Market, and hung out, taking the time for scenes to present themselves. Some said no, no worries, I respected that, but most of them were quite willing to let me take photographs.

DSC_4076.jpg

  • Put the next location on my GPS, but also was flexible if I saw something else I wanted to take a photo of on the way, like the museums area, had not planned on going back there but when I realized I was nearby I stopped in – Drives the GPS crazy when I go beyond the desired route, but that’s part of the fun. After I’m done it gets me back on track to my next stop.

DSC_4148.jpg

  • Always nice to have someone who wants to pose just for the fun of it, I always go along, why not?

DSC_4150.jpg

  • Trying new angles in old places, like the thinker in this Detroit Institute of Arts photo:

DSC_4159.jpg

  • Took photos of many people at the Motown museum in addition to getting my own shots.

DSC_4182.jpg

  • At Heidelberg project again waited for the scene to present itself, e.g. people walking past the house vs. the house by itself. Took a while to wait for people to walk past it, but much better photo:

DSC_4215.jpg

DSC_4222.jpg

Now to clean them up and submit them to Shutterstock, and then the other websites.  To see all the Detroit photos that are on my Shutterstock portfolio, click here.

Best wishes on your photography adventures,

Susan

Shooting stock photos – Outside a UM football game

I didn’t write a blog entry at the time because I hadn’t submitted photos yet, but I had a really fun time in early Fall taking photos of fans outside the University of Michigan football stadium.  Here are a few:

UM football 1

UM football 2

UM football 3

 

Things that went well:

  • Found a great spot in the path of people walking to the stadium, behind a divider that split the crowd so they had to walk past me, and I could stand behind the divider and prop my arms on it, making for steadier photos.
  • Fans were posing for me as soon as they saw my camera, didn’t have to ask anyone to pose or anything, everyone was friendly, enjoying a great day. The advantages of the social media age…
  • I ran into a number of people I know, so I was able to take their photo and send it to them – I don’t submit photos of people I know to stock sites, don’t want to blur that line…

To keep in mind next time:

  • Submit the photos ASAP, shouldn’t have waited this long…
  • Watch for distractions such as porta-potty in background of some photos, distracting…

Fun crowd, fun time! You can see these and other photos I’ve taken outside the stadium here.

Milestone – Article based on stock travel photography in Iceland to be published in Digital Photography School!

So back in June I went to Iceland, had a wonderful time… I participated in the GREEN Energy Program then spent a few extra days driving around and taking photos of anything I wanted to, glorious time.  I didn’t write my usual tips article based on my experience for this blog because I proposed an article about stock travel photography to Digital Photography School‘s Tips and Tutorials section and it was accepted! I just learned that it will be published on the 20th of October. I’ll update this entry with a link to DPS when it comes out.  Update October 19th – you can find the article here.

So I saved the tips and my best photos for the DPS article, but here are a few other photos to give you a sense of what a lovely country Iceland is. Many of these photos were taken while on guided tours with Ardar, aka Addi, the best guide ever at South Iceland Adventures.

Got to see lots of waterfalls, such as Seljalandsfoss:

Hvolsvollur, ICELAND - JUN 15: Seljalandsfoss waterfall, shown here on June 15, 2015, was one of the stopping points in The Amazing Race 6 competition in 2014.

Hiked Sólheimajökull glacier:

SOLHEIMAJOKULSVEGUR, ICELAND - JUN 15: Sólheimajökull glacier, shown here on June 15, 2015, has retreated about a kilometer in the past decade.

Had a great time going on a puffin viewing hike at the Ingolfshofdi nature reserve: 

Atlantic puffin looking right, with straw in his beak, gray background

Got up close with an Icelandic horse:

Iceland 8 horse blond head

Had a great time at the Glacier Lagoon:

Iceland glacier lagoon


Beautiful country, lovely people…  You can also see some of my Iceland photos at my Shutterstock site.

October 24 update – Change featured image to a screenshot of the icon for the article at DPS. So cool to see it published and to have some readers stop by the blog and learn from past blog articles!

Photography equipment – Op/tech Utility Strap – Sling

I realized I wrote this up in the August end of month update, but I also wanted to give it its own entry so it’ll be easier for others to find it. If you end up getting a neck-ache from your camera strap after a long day of photography, I strongly encourage you to invest in a camera strap/sling. I’ve been debating it for a year or so and finally did it, and only thing I can say is I wish I’d done it sooner…

I bought an Op/Tech Utility Strap – Sling camera strap, on the advice of the folks at Central Camera in Chicago.  Here’s a photo from the Op/Tech website so you can see what I mean:

camera sling

It’s great to have the camera on the side as you walk around, and then you can move it up when you need it, glides smoothly. I used it on my recent stock photo day and didn’t feel anything on my neck after a long day – Highly recommend it!

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures,

Susan

Shooting stock photos – solo photo day driving up north

Recently had a fun time driving up north to Mackinaw city. Long story but it was just a quick overnight trip, and leaving super early to spend an afternoon on Mackinac Island on my own didn’t appeal, so I figured I’d just take my time, start the drive mid-morning, and since I was on my own just take my time taking photos of whatever appealed.

For those of you not familiar with Michigan, that’s pretty much a straight shot up the middle of the “mitten” that is Michigan, going through Flint:

to Mackinaw

I wasn’t really sure what I would take photos of, but that was part of the excitement, see how the day developed. I started out spending a chunk of time just half an hour north or Ann Arbor at an outside mall taking logo photos of stores, a thing I do…  Then when I got to Flint, MI I realized I hadn’t been there in many many years, so I swung by and took some photos there:

Flint vehicle city

I did a quick search on “Things to do in Flint” and had it show me the map of the locations and just drove around, all the time in the world, lovely…  Of course had to also stop at the home of Halo Burgers:

Halo Burger

I took more shots at the University of Michigan Flint, and the Institute of Arts, and other museums.   After a couple hours I got going and soon enough saw the sign for the Civilian Conservation Corps museum. I have seen that sign many times and have thought of stopping, but I usually felt in a rush to get to Mackinaw City, so let it pass. Today was the day!  Very interesting history reading about the Michigan men who were employed in large part to grow pine trees to be used in reforestation projects throughout the state. This was the main building:

CCC museum

Glad I stopped by… Ended the day at a little cottage right on lake Huron, lovely view:

beach chairs copy

So, reflection. Overall a relaxing day, great to make the time for these unplanned unstructured photo trips…  What I did right:

  • Take the time to just see what the day brought, being open to the experience. The four hour trip ended up taking me over seven hours…
  • Did a quick “things to do in Flint” check to catch the major sites.
  • Take comfortable shoes, I did a lot more walking than I expected.

I’ll update this when I have cleaned up the photos and submitted them to Shutterstock, been trying to fit lots on my plate in August, and the school year is around the corner… Figured best to write this up even if they are not posted to Shutterstock yet…

Best wishes on your photography adventures,

Susan

Shooting stock photos – England

The first week in August I took my sons to England, had a good time, had fun taking photos. Unfortunately as I mentioned in my end of July update I had set the photos to too small for Shutterstock during another trip and didn’t notice it until halfway through the England trip, so only one day of photos has a shot at Shutterstock… Luckily for me lots of the fun is in the taking…

Didn’t have dedicated stock photo days since I was with family and for many reasons couldn’t go out on my own much, but did the best with the time I had. Managed a shot of Stonehenge with not too many people around:

Stonehenge

Then spent some time in Stratford, where we visited Shakespeare’s grave:

Shakespeare grave

On to Windsor castle:

Windsor castle

These will all be too small for Shutterstock, oh well…

Luckily I did figure this out the next to last day.  The last day we took the double-decker tour bus of London, which was going incredibly slowly because the horrendous traffic caused by an Underground strike. Silver lining for me ’cause I was able to take lots of photos that should work out very well since the bus wasn’t moving much…  Lots of logo shots will be coming from that one…

One favorites from the day is this one of Tower Bridge, taken during an accompanying boat trip down the Thames:

Tower bridge

Haven’t made time to process them and submit the larger ones to Shutterstock yet, I’ll update the blog with a link to the accepted photos when I do.

Let’s dispense with what I would do differently, that of course would be to not budge the photo size and always keep it on large…  What I did right:

  • Took lots of photos, wasn’t shy about pulling out the camera.
  • Looked for the little details. Although this one will be too small for Shutterstock, I was pleased with this “mind the gap” one I took at a train station:

Mind the Gap

  • Asked for some patience from my kids as I tried to get “the shot” in some places I would never get back to, like Shakespeare’s burial place. I try hard not to have the trip become “mama takes photos and the boys tag along,” but at the same time every once in a while…

Best wishes on your photography adventures,

Susan

October 24 update – Finally submitted some of the photos last week. You can see the ones Shutterstock accepted here.

Shooting Stock Photos – Toledo solo photo day

Had a vacation week last week, took one day and went to Toledo for the day.  I had chatted with friends from Toledo and done some research so I had some idea of what I wanted to catch – It’s really like a fun scavenger hunt!  Caught some store logos on the way down, just can’t help myself:

Logo Cabela

Started with an iconic photo at the University of Toledo:

U Toledo

then headed for downtown. Unfortunately some of the angles I wanted to take ended up being in the shade. I know I’m supposed to go on a more cloudy day, I thought it was going to be partly cloudy on this day but it ended up being sunny, which posed many challenges.  I’ll be going back to catch those I couldn’t quite get.

Got to the Imagination Station (think science museum) when there were bunches of kids being unloaded off buses, so I waited for them to be done. I walked around and tried different angles, some focusing on the building, some more on the sign, ended up happy with these two after much trying around, takes longer than you’d think, so plan to be patient, it’s worth the wait. You can’t be in a rush, or you’ll just get frustrated and your photos will suffer for it…

Imagination station 2

Imagination station

As I was driving around I noticed an Ohio Turnpike sign, and figured that was fairly iconic, maybe that would be worth a shot, and as we were in a bit of slow traffic I took a chance and got a sign photo that was accepted too:

turnpike sign

Some of the photos I took in the morning were in the shade, so I went back again in the afternoon to try them again, but the sun was just too bright and didn’t make for good photos. Have to learn my lesson soon that shady really is best for some of these, but can’t help loving a sunny day when the angle is just right, luckily Toledo is just an hour away, so I’ll just keep the list with me for the next time I go past…

After taking a photo and cleaning it up, I added an editorial caption following Shutterstock’s preferred format, which you eventually get down to a science.  You can see all the Toledo photos Shutterstock accepted here.

Shooting stock photos – Tulip Time Festival in Holland, MI

I have always wanted to go to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, MI, where those with Dutch ancestry are kind enough to share their heritage with the public, and what better excuse than taking stock photos for going this year? Also great to finally have some more time to devote to stock photos…

I checked out their website and figured out that the mother-daughter dance would make for good photos, so I based my schedule on that.  Many stock photo websites want names of any children in even editorial photos so I planned to skip that one.  I got to Holland and found out that it was graduation day at Hope College, so I hung around and got some good photos of people taking post graduation shots:

Hope college graduation

Then some photos of the Art Fair, thinking of shots that might be of demand by people writing about the event in future  years, so wanted to make sure I got the logo in there.  I hung out there for 15-20 minutes taking shots of people walking in and out of the fair until I got this shot of some photogenic people:

Tulip Time art fair

The funny thing is that Michiganders are a generally considerate people, so many of them on seeing that I’m taking photos stop to not get in the shot, when I’m trying to get photos with people IN the shot…  Fun..

I got a good seat in front of a church so I’d have a nice background, and waited half an hour for the mother-daughter dance. Wish I’d had the ISO a bit lower than the 1000 I had it set at, but the photos were acceptable to Shutterstock much to my delight:

Tulip Time dancers

tulip time dancers church

Afterwards some of the dancers were posing for photos. I was feeling a little shy at first, but then, inspired by Ron Scubadiver, one of the photographers I follow, I asked them to pose and they were so nice about it:

Tulip time pose

Then I went to Windmill Island hoping for a great shot of the windmill with tulips in front of it, but the tulips weren’t quite cooperating, poo…  So, decided to try for another tourist shot and hung out for quite a while until I got a cute couple taking a selfie with the windmill, to add a personal element to the photos:

Holland windmill

Had to wait quite a while to makes sure I had a cute couple, and no unflattering views of other people in the background bending over or anything, so another 15-20 minutes here too. You can see all the photos Shutterstock accepted here.

It’s great to be back to taking stock photos, and having time to process them – tons of logo photos to get to this week…

Best wishes to you on your photography adventures…

Susan

Shooting stock photos – Traveling Vietnam Memorial exhibit

My sister and I recently had the good fortune to attend The Moving Wall exhibit when it visited Hamburg, MI. It’s a traveling half-size replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We were very touched by how caring everyone was, how solemn and strangely peaceful it was, and how very well organized the event was. I took a number of photographs and selected the best, which I sent to the organizer via email from my stock photo email address, offering them for her to use, free of charge, of course.

Vietnam wall guy

Vietnam wall flowers

I requested official permission to take photos so I could submit them to stock photo sites, explaining how they work, and gave her the template text, following Shutterstock’s permissions format:

To whom it may concern,

I grant Susan Montgomery credentials to photograph (name of event) in (location) on (date)

Name of authorized person, Title
Organization

They were pleased the photos and promptly granted me permission, and I got a number of them approved!

On reflection, what I did right:

– Took my time and waited for the right occasions to get just the right shots. We walked back and forth three times looking for the right occasions.

– Tried many angles and positions.  I started off with a flower shot in another location, kept working the angles, trying different views. Overall I probably took about 15 before getting to this one. It’s a wonderful feeling when you feel you got the shot that expresses what you were trying to say…

– Kept my distance, to respect those who were honoring loved ones. There were many shots I didn’t take because they would have been intrusive.

What I would do differently next time:

– If schedule allowed it that week-end, gone on a sunnier day, for a better background sky.

– Worn a duller color, I had to be mindful of not having the reflection of my bright t-shirt on the black wall.  Now I see why photographers often wear dark.

Overall we were very glad to get a chance to see this touching and thought provoking exhibit. I have been to the permanent one in DC, but it had been many years, and this traveling one is quite special. You can see the photos that Shutterstock accepted here.