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for my talk about stock photography on October 16 that some of the contributor links in the older articles are out of date, so I’ve included all current contributor links below, with my biggest sellers in bold: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!
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!
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
- General definition
- Editorial vs. non-editorial
- Royalty-free vs. Rights managed
- Examples e.g. Shutterstock, Alamy, Dreamstime
- Equipment needed
- 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%)
- No noise
- No watermarks
- Good composition
- Cleaned up photo
- Right size
- 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
- Business cards
- Artist statement
- Legal considerations
- “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)
- Invest in a good camera
- Take a lot of photos
- Read stock photography blogs
- Set up home studio (optional)
- Ann Arbor Women Artists – http://www.annarborwomenartists.org
- The Arts Alliance – a3arts.org
- Watch for impostor syndrome
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,
So I decided to explore the use of Instagram, with a goal to publicize my more editorial photos and make connections with other like-minded photographers, so I started an Instagram account and posted some of the editorial photos I’m most proud of. Check it out at https://www.instagram.com/susanmontgomeryphotos/.
This made me think some more about what my mission is as a photographer. My current version is “I am a stock, travel and editorial photographer, with a goal to use my photography for social justice and to spotlight the best of Michigan and places I visit.” Needs work, but making progress.
I’m curious how others use Instagram… Any suggestions?
In the meantime, best wishes on your photography adventures,
Update – Now I’m at “I’m a stock, travel and editorial photographer with a passion for social justice, the state of Michigan, and new places.”
I recently learned of Pond5, a stock site that used to be videos but started accepting photos, so I thought I’d give them a shot. I submitted some sample photos, including my best photos from Shutterstock and my favorite Detroit photos, and I was delighted to learn that all the photos were accepted! You can find the portfolio at https://www.pond5.com/artist/smontgom65
We’ll see how they do, just excited to check out a new site…
Best wishes on your photography adventures,
As I’m posting the milestone article on having 2,000 photos on Shutterstock I noticed there is another milestone to mention, SusanMontgomeryPhotos.com has passed 10,000 hits! Reviewing other such milestones:
August 15, 2014, 1,000 hits, so 5 years after I started, or avg 200 hits a year.
August 24, 2015, 5,000 hits, so an average over 6 years of 833 hits per year – quick rise due to publication of an article I wrote for Digital Photography School.
So with 10,000 hits by July 19, 2018, the average over 9 years is 1,100 hits a year, hey, on the upswing! I’d like to think some of those readers got some tips that improved their stock photography, or were encouraged to continue on the path… Very satisfying.
Best wishes on your photography adventures!