A Humble Experience


When I met Yan (From Hiding to Blogging), two months ago, she told me she had become a ShutterStock contributor, and she encouraged me to sign up. Later she sent me a couple of links: a link to her photo gallery and a link for signing up to become a contributor.

“Why not?” I thought. After all, what am I going to do with those flower or tree photos?

But I really enjoyed my life as it was… peaceful, no pressure, and I could do nothing whenever I liked to, so, I didn’t take any action, even though I told her I was interested.

A month ago, I suddenly had a desire of starting a new project. After pondering for a while and couldn’t come up with a brilliant one, I decided to give Shutterstock a try; So, I submitted a photo.

Right away, I was rejected with the reason: “Unnecessary release”! It took me a while to figure out that while I thought I was releasing my photo to them, I was, actually, tried to submit a model release form. Okay, my fault. I didn’t read the instruction carefully! That’s easy to fix.

Next rejection: “not focused”. Why? I had followed the instruction zooming in my photo 100% to make sure it was focused. Could it be their standard is higher?

Found a better photo and tried again, and soon received another rejection: “not focused”. Slight hand shake? I started practicing every day, holding camera this way, that way and reading my camera manual page by page (embarrassedly, first time😉

When I was finally satisfied with my photo, I submitted again. And, again, I was rejected with “not focused”. What do they want? I got totally confused, and even started having some self-doubt… maybe I can never be a good photographer… maybe I should give up…

Seeing “someone” frustrated his wife, my husband got upset. “That’s ridiculous! Your camera wouldn’t even allow you to shoot if it is not focused.”

My husband was right. I’ve set my camera that way. But was he totally right?

After taking a two-day break, I gave a lot of thoughts on this whole situation and came up with some possibilities: hands shake after focusing, the spot I focused on was not the ideal spot, or the size of the area that I focused on was not quite right.

That did it. Things became easier after I figured out the real problem. I was finally accepted as a contributor.😉 It didn’t take me long to find out that even as a contributor, your photo might still get rejected. But I, actually, like rejection now, because, so far, every rejection had taught me something.😉

I am grateful to ShutterStock reviewers; I have grown a lot as a photographer from my experience. I’ve also learned something about stock photographing. There are people who make good money in selling stock photos or referring people to join, but it is not easy for sure.

So far, I only have 32 photos in ShutterStock. In case you are curious… here is the link for my photo gallery. (Sometime, ShutterStock will direct you to their home page and you have to refresh to see my photos.)

And… Yan’s photo gallery (She has 1000+😉
(Hope you don’t mind, Yan.)

P.S. This light house photo was rejected because I don’t have a model release. Since I don’t know the lady (she happened to be there when I took the photo), I ended up cropping her out.)

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CFFC: Smiles

CFFC: Smiles

This week Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge’s subject is smiles. I have posted so many of my grandniece and grandnephew’s smiles, so I thought I would put myself in the spotlight this time to make them feel better😉

Cee encouraged us to use our imagination, so I tried to smile half way, smile sideway, and smile after having a glass of wine… I think I like the upside-down the best, but would that still be a smile? (Hmm… I like it so much that I may take all selfie upside-down from now on.)


I know, I know. Smiles, with an “s” at the end, I should post more than one photo. Well, I am hoping you are smiling now and I definitely count that one.😉

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Posted in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, photo | 24 Comments

One Word Photo Challenge: Child

One Word Photo Challenge (hosted by Jennifer Nichole Wells) : Child

We came back from D.C. three days ago, and I noticed this photo challenge. I have never participated Jennifer’s challenge before, but the theme of child brings a smile to my face.




The last photo was just for fun. K drools a lot. First, it wasn’t easy for me to chase him around and focus on one tiny drop of drool. Then, in order to get the light effect that I wanted, I had to shoot from a certain angle (before he moved). So I chased him; I circled around him… I am pleased with how it turned out (and I was exhausted).😉


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Developing Your Eye Day Ten

It’s the last day of the course ;-(

I want to thank The Daily Post Blogging University for offering these great courses; I want to thank all my wonderful readers for visiting my blog and leaving encouraging words. Now that courses are over, I am taking a week off for a short family gathering. I think I will be able to read your blog, but posting one will be difficult. Wish all of you have a happy week.

Developing Your Eye I, Day Ten: “Architecture” – Go Monochrome




I took the photo of that white church on a rainy day. It rained hard; we had to wait inside of a hotel for rain to die down. Usually, I wouldn’t bother to take photos in that situation, but I was attracted by that church.

Developing Your Eye II, Day Ten: “Triumph” – Turn Up the Contrast

“What does triumph mean to you?” – we were asked.

At this stage of my life, triumph means I have accomplished something, no matter how small the thing is. For example: when I woke up from a good night sleep, when I managed to park my car perfectly, when I took a picture I really like… Life is good when you are able to appreciate small things.

I like this following photo a lot. I am not even sure I can explain why. All I know is that every time I see it, I have a hard time to click it away.


I learned something interesting about contrast. For a long time, I relied on “contrast” tool to help me do the job and I was ok with the result. While working on my assignments this week, I found out that, sometime, no matter how hard I tried it just couldn’t deliver the result I really wanted. I learned to use “Dodge/Burn” to achieve the effect I was looking for. Closer to what I was looking for, I mean.😉

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Developing Your Eye Day Nine

I can’t believe this is the ninth day already. For the past 8 days, the first thing I would do in the morning, other than having a cup of coffee, was working on the course assignments. I am not ready to change that routine yet.😉 Oh well…

Developing Your Eye I, Day Nine: “A Pop of Color”

The first photo came to my mind was these bird houses. I remember thinking to get one, but there were too many pretty colors to choose one.


Then, I read the tip for the assignment (probably should read it first.) It says “Keep it simple: experiment with only one color.”


Developing Your Eye II, Day Nine: “Double”



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CCY #23 Black and White: The Basic

CCY #23 Black and White: The Basic

This is the first time I am submitting to Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge (I have submitted to her other challenges many times). In this series, Cee gives us a lot good tips on different subjects. I enjoy reading them all.

We were asked to submit at least 4 to 6 photos showing the compositional rules listed in the essay. And this essay is about black and white photos. It says that texture and contrast make a great black and white photo.

It sounded easy, but when I started working on the assignment, right away, I saw some grey areas. ;-( Should I call this a texture-photo or contrast? Clearly, there is a gap between “understanding” and “really getting it”. 😉


I would say this photo has both texture and contrast in it.



Left photo: texture and contrast; right: most texture.


This photo has a lot of contrast and some texture.

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Developing Your Eye Day Eight

For some reason, I read the course title out loud this morning, thinking this course, actually, not only has developed my eye, but also sharpened my mind. I smiled, knowing that I had gotten something extra for the price I’d paid. Oh, I forgot, it’s a free course. (Thank you!)

Developing Your Eye I, Day Eight: “Treasure”

Treasure – my first thought was my great nephew and niece. Then, I remembered that I already had posted many of their photos… what about my rock collection? Or Mom’s ring?

After drinking a cup of coffee (my wakeup call)… it became clear that what I treasure the most is those old photos.


Developing Your Eye II, Day Eight: “Edge” – Straighten Your Image

So easy, I thought. I have done that all the time. Then I found this photo. When I straightened the top horizontal line, the bottom line wasn’t quite straightened. When I straighten the left vertical line… I can’t believe it. (I did have similar experience before, but it was a choice between vertical and horizontal, not left vertical, right vertical, top horizontal and bottom horizontal…)

Question: what happened to this photo? What had I done? How would you straighten it?

By the way, I smiled when I saw this guy checking his smart phone at this location.


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