I love taking pictures.
I love capturing moments in a photograph so that I can look at them in the future.
When my family bought a DSLR camera, I went through the awkward phase of zooming in on plants and thinking that the pictures were breathtaking.
However, later I turned my focus towards humans, and covered bridal showers, engagements and a family wedding. I remember dressing up and trying to take pictures of the bride and groom from different angles.
That day I thought to myself: I could become a professional photographer.
Unfortunately, engineering took over my life. It was only a year after graduation that I came across Shutterstock. I knew you could submit pictures on the website, however, I personally thought I would never get approved.
But I had told myself that I would try everything that I liked. So, I created an account as a contributor and spent the next six months forgetting that I did.
I wasted a great deal of time thinking about the various things I could add to my portfolio. However, one look at the top-rated Shutterstock pictures made me re-consider all my options.
Taking pictures of flowers, landscapes and rocks meant nothing. The website had plenty of such beautiful pictures. I knew I had to find a category that was still in its infancy.
Now, I was already writing articles and news pieces on blockchain and cryptocurrency. I always found it difficult to find exact images for these topics. After all, the concept exists on the internet and has no physical form.
Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head.
I had finally found my main subject.
Then, I ordered three cryptocurrency collectibles: two Bitcoins and one Ether. Unfortunately, the process took more than two months, and I lost my motivation during that time.
I was as tired of myself as you are after reading my continuous failure to follow my plan.
After a horrible case of writer’s block, I sat down and had a talk with myself.
It was now or never.
The pep talk surprisingly worked and I wrote a list of areas I needed to visit in order to take pictures. I went to my local cafe and the beach at night. I also created a mini photo studio for the rest of the pictures.
After a week of working hard on my ideas, I sat down and uploaded the best pictures on Shutterstock.
The road to acceptance was going to be difficult, they said.
And it was.
I got rejected the first time because I accidentally put the pictures in the wrong category. All ten of my pictures were rejected within two days!
Thankfully, my second attempt bore fruit and I could finally sit back and earn.
Two months later, I realized that absolutely no one was going to buy my pictures.
However, it would have been nice to see that someone thought my pictures deserved a home on their website.
After a long month of looking at $0, I stopped checking my contributor account. I put my collectibles and my mini studio in a cupboard.
On July 17, I opened my account because Shutterstock had sent an automatic email regarding the tax form. And there I saw that the number had changed from $0 to $1.15!
The figure was infinitely small but at least someone had bought my picture!
I could hear the exclamation marks in my head!
I, then, rolled up my sleeves and went online to find out the article which had used the picture.
I was slightly disappointed by the money, but then I saw Forbes and I saw an article with the picture on top of it.
I couldn’t believe it.
My first ever picture was uploaded on Forbes! I kept staring at it for a while and bookmarked it as my first successful attempt at Shutterstock-ing.
So, what now?
This is the question I keep asking myself. I didn’t find it difficult to take pictures. But I also don’t think I’d be one of those Shutterstock photographers who earn $500 every week.
The reason why I took up the challenge was to see what would happen if I gave photography my best shot.
In the time that I wrote this article, another one of my picture was sold. So, my answer to my own question would be to push myself a bit harder.
How was your experience with Shutterstock? Where did your first picture end up? Let me know in the comments section below.