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)
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:
As for the photos that are on Shutterstock, these are some of the best sellers of all time:
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:
(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:
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:
8. I waited around for the boat to get to just the right position to balance the Muskegon lighthouse:
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:
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.
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:
Lined up a shot I wanted then waited for the right combination of people to come into it to make it more interesting:
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:
Tried for unusual shots of the Eiffel Tower, with tourists in it:
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:
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:
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..)
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:
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.
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:
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:
At the Lansing Lugnuts’ stadium also tried different angles until I found the one that I thought captured the feeling of the place best:Loved the sense of humor with Who’s on First… :)
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:
I realized recently that I was relying on my memory to remember when certain annual events took place. It occurred to me I should develop my own events calendar, so I thought I’d share the idea with others, as I bet I’m not the only one this happens to.
I googled a number of annual events listing websites around Ann Arbor and the Detroit area, and created my events calendar as a Googledoc text document, making a note of the actual date for those whose dates were already listed, and leaving the others to look up later. So for example for June I have:
2015 3-7 Ann Arbor and others – Cinetopia International Film Festival
2015 5-7 Ann Arbor – Ya’ssoo Greek Festival
2015 6 Ann Arbor – African American Downtown Festival
2015 12 Ann Arbor – Green Fair
2015 12 – July 5 Ann Arbor Summer Festival
Ann Arbor – Dexter Ann Arbor Run
Ann Arbor – Juneteenth
Race for the Cure – Susan Komen foundation
Belleville – National Strawberry Festival
Detroit – Cruisin’ Gratiot
Howell – Michigan Challenge Balloonfest
Lincoln Park and others – Cruisin’ Downriver
Frankenmouth – Bavarian Festival
Detroit – River days
Sterling Heights – Stars and Stripes Festival
Detroit – Motor City Pride
Ypsilanti – Depot Town Cruise Nights, Thursday nights
I made sure I noted “2015” on those dates that I knew, so in the future I know to update it. As dates for the other events are finalized I’ll incorporate them into the chronological listing.
Now I am more confident to not miss an event, and can plan ahead to check for press pass deadlines, etc.
I didn’t want to use an actual calendar, list seemed better for me for some reason. I also decided not to worry about including related websites since I can always Google the event, but you might prefer to do so, and might decide you prefer a spreadsheet vs. a text document.
Of course this makes me wonder – how do others keep track of possible shooting opportunities? I invite you to share your ideas in the comments area, thanks!