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

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Milestone – 2,000 photos on Shutterstock!

I noticed an entry in my journal on July 19, 2009: “69 photos on Shutterstock!”  What a coincidence because today I noticed that, with the photos I submitted from the Chelsea Sounds and Sights on Thursday Nights event I photographed last week, I just passed 2,000 photos at Shutterstock.  I’m thinking of what I thought of those who had that many photos, good to reflect that I have indeed come a long way…

Some of my favorites Chelsea Sounds and Sights photos are:

Chelsea Sounds and Sights: Hullabaloo
CHELSEA, MI / USA – JULY 12, 2018: Band Hullabaloo performs at Chelsea Sounds and Sights on Thursday Nights festival.
Chelsea Sounds and Sights: Dave Boutette and Kristi Lynn Davis
CHELSEA, MI / USA – JULY 12, 2018: Dave Boutette and Kristi Lynn Davis perform at the Chelsea Sounds and Sights on Thursday Nights festival.
Chelsea Sounds and Sights: Motor City Boogie Woogie Kid!
CHELSEA, MI / USA – JULY 12, 2018: Matthew Ball, known as The Motor City Boogie Woogie Kid, performs at Chelsea Sounds and Sights on Thursday Nights festival.

As for the photos that are on Shutterstock, these are some of the best sellers of all time:

  1. I’d had my eye on the UM diag flagpole for a long time, so one weekend when I knew the sky was the perfect shade of blue I spent hours and took literally hundreds of photos of the flag to get a cool one of the flag flapping yet also showing most of the 50 stars, and it totally paid off:
American flag

(As a side note, a similar photo with the flag at half mast I took another day is ranked 7th)

3. For this one I again hung out on the UM diag forever and captured this squirrel on the sidewalk, then removed the sidewalk on Photoshop to isolate the squirrel – the “shadow” is portion of the sidewalk I didn’t remove:

Squirrel staring at you, on white with shadow

You can see other photos of my squirrel phase here.

4. A “silver lining” situation. I walked too long with the wrong sandal, leading to his “perfect” blister, which has appeared on many toe blister treatment websites:

Blister on little toe

8. I waited around for the boat to get to just the right position to balance the Muskegon lighthouse:

Lighthouse and sailboat, Muskegon, MI

15 and moving fast:  A few years ago I decided my photos were good enough that I could use them to provide the world with positive photos of Detroit and other Michigan cities, including this one of the Spirit of Detroit:

The Spirit of Detroit in Detroit, MI

For my current set of Detroit photos on Shutterstock click here.

Altogether I’m very proud of how far I have come, little by little, step by step, as I mentioned in my recent article about photographing a roller derby bout.

Best wishes on your photography adventures!

Shooting stock photos – Tall Ship Celebration, Bay City, MI

This is one from last summer, catching up.  Went with a friend to the Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, MI last summer, had a great time touring some of the masted ships:

Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, MI 2016Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, MI 2016

Since the point was to spend a lot of time looking at the ships I had plenty of time to take photos without my friend having to wait for me.

What I did right:

  • Took both long shots and close-ups
  • Framed the shot as I wanted it, then waited for people to walk into my shot to give it more interest.
  • Was mindful of the crowd, waiting until I got just the right look for those where you could see the people, and everybody looks good – I make a point of not uploading any photos where anybody doesn’t look reasonable, wouldn’t want someone to do that to me…
  • Took photos of the names of the ships as I took them, for future reference
  • Checked camera settings every so often to make sure I had ISO set properly, etc.
  • Took a boat ride that was available, so I could get some shots from the river, allowing for very good looks at some of the ships.
  • Took some photos from the bridge between the two sides of the river, so I could get some overall shots.
  • Took a range of photos, I had over 50 photos, submitted 9 of them – and they all got in :)

What I would change? Really not much, it was a great day, I got some good photos without making my friend have to wait, my settings were pretty good for the most part, I’m happy about this day. You can see the photos in Shutterstock here.

Monthly reflections – January 2016

Other than the news of photos accepted to Blueprint, not much to report for January. I’ve made some time for photography, most of it photographing some logos between running errands and also submitting photos to other stock websites, trying to catch up there… I’ve been so successful with Shutterstock that it feels like a lot of work submitting to the other sites, though iStockphoto is respectable, and how do I expect to make money off the others if I stop submitting photos?  Good question, that’s why I’m doing it now.

So, speaking of Shutterstock – no new photos, so the chronological view is the same as December:

Shutterstock December new

As for the popular view, Planned Parenthood continues to be in the news, Tesla moves up, the new Veterans Hospital photo makes an appearance at the top, and the Detroit photos from the December trip are doing well. Even one of the photos from the peace protest made it near the top, great! Logos still the big winners:

Shutterstock January 2016 popular.jpg

Working for better work-life balance at my day job to allow more time for stock photography, making some progress…

Best wishes in your photography adventures,

Susan

 

Monthly reflections – December 2015

Over the holidays I finally found/made the time to process photos from this summer and fall and submit them to Shutterstock, so I’m up to 1435 photos. I even took some time during a visit to Detroit to sneak in some photos as well…  So the new photos at Shutterstock included those Detroit photos, many many logos, some photos from around town, some from the trip through Flint, MI:

Shutterstock December new

As for most popular photos, the logos as always have it beat, nice to see the puffin photo still hanging in there.  Hoping to get a Tesla supercharger zone with an actual car being charged, one of these days…

Shutterstock December popular

Good time to reflect on stock photo taking this year:

  • It was time for a final goodbye to those photos where I accidentally had the size set to small, which won’t work for my most profitable stock sites.  I realized that that was one reason I was putting off processing them, it was going to be too depressing to face all those “lost” photos…  Moving on…
  • A number of the logo photos I took while with family and friends were done too hurriedly and the composition or focus was off. Have to decide to either take the time to do it right, which would get in others’ way, or just let it go and not bother with such photos when I’m on vacation.
  • Some of the logo photos I took when I had tons of time and was  dedicated to stock photos were also out of focus – for the picky 100% focus demands of Shutterstock, I mean, the normal person would not notice.  I have to swallow my pride and use the monopod when I am in professional mode, no use taking stock photos that are not going to make it.

Feels great to be caught up on submitting photos to Shutterstock, now have to get those photos submitted to the other stock sites and of course… take more photos!

Best wishes on your photography adventures in 2016,

Susan

Monthly reflections – October 2015

October had lots of excitement, including the publication of the travel stock photos article in Digital Photography School, now with over 900 shares!  Also had the two photos I submitted accepted at the Ann Arbor Women Artists Fall 2015 Juried Show at our local district library.  I was told at the opening reception that there were 175 submissions and 75 accepted, so I’m pretty pleased getting accepted the first time.

I submitted some of the photos from the one day of large enough England photos so the Shutterstock site is up to 1366 images, some progress:

Shutterstock October new

Logos still the overwhelming winners in popularity, though you can see some of the Holland, MI shots among the top, and the flu shot and time change reminders made an appearance:

Shutterstock October popular

As for what is coming up, yesterday I submitted some of the Iceland photos to our College’s literary magazine, so fingers crossed on that one!

Best wishes on your photography adventures,

Susan

Monthly reflections – September 2015

In September my teaching job needed most of my time, but I managed to take some photos around town. In the most exciting news, my proposal to write an article about stock travel photography tips for Digital Photography School was accepted! I submitted and waiting to hear back from them, can’t wait to see it in my feedly newsfeed, that’ll be unreal…  Thanks to my photography and arty friends Mary, Shonda and Wayne for their editing suggestions.

As for the monthly Shutterstock website update, at 1339 just 1 higher than last month, still plenty of photos to process from the summer, but just can’t seem to find the time…  Shutterstock September 2015 new

The penguin with the fish made it into the popular ones, and beyond that logos continue to be my biggest sellers, along with Detroit and Holland Tulip Festival shots:

Shutterstock September 2015 popular

Now recovering from a hoodly cold that has flattened many of my students, eager to process more photos in October and maybe apply to some photo exhibits around town with some of the photos that are already framed…

Best wishes on your photography adventures,

Susan