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!

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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

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

Monthly reflections – October 2014

Decided to write some monthly reflections, help me track my progress as a photographer and keep followers posted…

Excited about my photo exhibit coming up, looks like mid-November to mid-December. I have picked up the framed photos from Michael’s and they look really good, if I say so myself. Had to decide on pricing, and went with $150 per framed photo (12″x 18″ photo, 18″ x 24″ framed), based on cost of printing and framing, their 30% cut, and wanting to make a little profit on them… They accepted my Artist Statement (tee hee…) Finalizing details on exhibit dates and reception then I’ll start inviting everyone…

Tried out for the Ann Arbor Art Center All Media Exhibit with two photos:

path through lush scenery

Lake Titicaca watch tower watchers

Timing was such that if I waited until I was selected I wouldn’t have time to get them framed by their deadline, so I went ahead and got them framed and then learned I didn’t get in… Can’t feel bad, there were over 140 applications! Oh well, they’re ready to go for a future exhibit and so far I have spent less in framing than I have made in stock photography this year, so eating into profits but not going into debt…

I am in the process of applying for another exhibit at the local botanical garden, have printed the photos but I think I can wait until I learn if I’m in before I have to invest in framing them…

The logo photos project is an unqualified success! Significant sales, have taken many other photos that I have yet to processed, been too busy with other things to take more, but itching to get back out there, gotta make time around day job and personal time… That should keep me busy during the winter months…

I’m considering getting a new lens,  maybe a 35 mm or a 50 mm, I really can’t make up my mind… Likely ’cause I’m not totally sure whether to prioritize portraits or street photography, know I’d like to take indoor shots that let in more light… This article has some ideas. Any suggestions?

That’s it for October. Need to make more time for photography, trying to prioritize so many things, life is so short…

Milestone – A thousand images on Shutterstock!

Excited that this week I hit 1,000 images on Shutterstock! I was at close to 800 at the start of the summer and set a goal to hit 1,000 by the end of the summer, did great with Detroit photo day, then things slowed down a bit and thought it wasn’t going to happen, but UM football team photo day with 79 photos put me back in the running, and now it’s happened, yey!

Images on Shutterstock

You can see that except for that first year, when I was uploading images I already had, most of my activity happens during the summers. This summer I decided to focus a lot on photography, what a blast!  Things will slow down with the school year starting in the United States and my “day job” getting considerably busier, but I hope to continue to make progress… (Hmmm…  I tell my students to substitute “hope” with “plan” and figure out a way to make it happen, I should heed my own advice…) I plan to continue to make progress… The store logo project should yield a bunch more photos, I have some upcoming events I plan to take photos at, and later indoor photos projects…  Should be fun!

If you’re wondering what the dip Summer 2011 is about – I had submitted a bunch of photos from a Detroit Tigers baseball game Summer 2010 that got through, but when I submitted a similar batch Summer 2011 they had stiffened their permissions requirements so that I needed official credentials that I didn’t have. When they rejected the 2011 photos I pointed out the 2010 photos and offered to have them removed, which they did, thus the dip.

Looking forward to keeping the momentum going into the school year…

Milestone – One thousand hits!

So today SusanMontgomeryPhotos.com reached 1,000 hits. I’m thrilled ! I know many of the blogs I follow have over 1,000 followers, and tens of thousands of hits, and I’m in awe of them and inspired by them, but in my little corner of the world here, 1,000 hits is humbling…  I have thought for a few years about starting this website to help others with their stock photography adventures, and this summer I decided to go for it, and it looks like some people are indeed interested in learning from my experiences, how flattering… It has helped me to write it too, as I reflect on each of my big shoots to see what I did right and what I could do better next time.

Thank you very much for reading, and if you have any questions I have not addressed let me know, I will do my best to help you, paying forward all those who helped me get this far…

Best wishes in your photography adventures,

Susan