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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I’m on Instagram now… Now what… ?

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,

Susan

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.”

Accepted by Pond5 stock photo site!

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

Pond5 first set 2018

We’ll see how they do, just excited to check out a new site…

Best wishes on your photography adventures,

Susan

Milestone – Ten thousand hits!

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!

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

Milestone – My first press pass – Thanks AA Derby Dimes!

I got my first press pass!

The ladies at Ann Arbor Derby Dimes, the local roller derby team, which I took photos off a few summers ago, were nice enough to contact me about photographing their bouts this summer. When I showed up last week they had actual media passes for us, cool! I’ll write separately about why I didn’t end up having photos I was happy with, but that’s another story, the big thing here is that someone liked my photos enough to consider me worthy of a media pass… I so appreciate their support!

Derby Dimes Media Pass 2018

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