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Terrie the Shutterbug

July 18, 2011

Sometime around the year 2000, our friend Don bought a digital camera.  It was one of the nicer cameras that you could purchase at the time.  I think it had maybe 2 or 3 megapixel resolution, and had some very nice features.  Most of the consumer digital cameras up to then were about 640 x 480 resolution, or about 0.3 MP.  So 2 or 3 MP was big stuff.

I had been trying to convince Terrie that we should get a digital camera, but she had only seen some of the lower resolution models and was not impressed at all.  Too pixellated.  Bad color.  And besides, who wanted digital pictures anyway?  There needed to be some way to print the pictures so that you could look at them.  Computers in those days were not much beyond Windows 95, and ours was a 486SX with DOS and Windows 3.1.

Then she saw Don’s camera and the resolution problem went away.  Suddenly she was interested, but the price of cameras in those days was still out of sight for us.  We went for several months while I schemed and connived to get a camera she would be happy with.

Then it happened.  Staples ran an after-thanksgiving sale on the Kodak Easyshare camera with a docking station.  I think it was about 2 MP.  We bought it and it changed our lives.  No kidding.  Terrie got ‘hold of that thing and started shooting pictures left and right.  We had owned a really nice Minolta XGM single lens reflex film camera for several years, but she did not like using it because of the development expense.  Now she could shoot til her heart was content.  One day she shot this picture of Joe and she was fatally bitten by the shutterbug.

A few years later we upgraded our computer and bought a Nikon Coolpix 8800, which was one of the most advanced point and shoot cameras you could find.  This was just about the time that digital SLR’s were showing up on the consumer scene and were still very expensive.  The Nikon make wonderful pictures, giving her control over shutter speed, aperture and film speed.  She was shooting a lot of really nice pictures and I was putting them on my screensaver at work.

My buddy Doug who works across the hall from me noticed several of her photos and asked me if we had ever thought about submitting her pictures to a stock photography site.  I had never really heard of stock photography.  So we checked out a couple of different stock sites and settled on Shutterstock.

Shutterstock is a rather picky outfit.  It often takes photographers several attempts to be accepted as one of their submitters.  The hot-button issues include composition, exposure, focus, digital noise, and a host of other problems.  As it turns out, Terrie was very fortunate to have been approved on her first try.  Here is one of the 10 images in her first batch.

She started selling her work on Shutterstock in August of 2005.  Since then she had upgraded her equipment twice.  But the best part is that her earnings have more than paid for her equipment.

I have included her top five selling photos below.


This one was a bit of a surprise.  Her sales had pretty much reached a plateau by the fall of 2006.  She was trying different composition ideas and asked the kids to lay in the grass like spokes on a wheel. She got up on a step stool and made this shot.  Immediately after we uploaded it, it make the weekly top 50 sellers on the whole site.  It stayed there for a few weeks before dropping back.  For several years, it remained a top seller within its category.

The image above made it to within the top 3 or 4 images in the category “education.”  She took this picture of Joe and Lydia at our local library.  This was not posed, they were both working at the computer stations there at the library when Terrie caught this image.

This is one of my favorites.  This was a junk photo that we almost threw out.  The colors were all wrong and the whole photo went dead.  I had seen a picture where they had make everything black and white except a single focus object.  So I thought I would try it with a very light sepia tone rather than black and white.  This was the result.

Terrie caught this image of Joe and Lydia floating in the pool.  I liked the shimmery outlines that the water made about them.  The bright colors seemed to pop and make the whole image fun.

This is one of Terrie’s favorites.  She got down on the ground and shot upward, catching Joe’s odd expression contrasted with the girls’ smiling faces.

She has not uploaded much in the past year or so, but the site keeps making money for us.  Not a lot, but enough to let her buy a new piece of gear every now and then.  If you want to see more of her work, you can see it here:


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