Why I Sold My Soul to Become a Stock Photo Model

Hi there! My name is Candace, but everyone calls me Candi. Today I am here to tell you my story and I could not be more excited to share with you this journey that I have been on for the last 18 months. It all started in the fall of 2019 when a couple of friends and I went down to a sunflower field to get some cute pictures of us, a way for us to prove our existence to the world and ourselves. It wasn’t until my friend Emily was editing the pictures a few days later that she texted me, “Hey Candi, I know this might be a weird question but, these pictures turned out really nice and I was thinking of selling them to a stock photo website – would you be OK with that?” Wanting to be a good friend, I said yes, and the rest is history.

At first, it was just a handful of photos from our girls’ day out. Emily was cutting me in on the commissions and it just seemed like an easy way to make a few bucks. You can even still find these pictures on the web.

Here’s another one from that same trip:

And apparently, people liked them. Like a lot. Emily started getting more requests for pictures of me and soon we set up another time to visit the sunflower field, hoping to continue cashing in on this interesting location.

As you can see, I changed up my look this time just slightly so people would have more options, while still maintaining the same theme that had gotten us our first clicks.

Get this? It actually worked. Soon, Emily was rising on the list of top creators for Shuttergoo.com and we were making enough for us to actually start taking this seriously. That was when we were approached by some higher-ups at the website who ended up inviting us to a meeting at their office downtown.

At this point, Emily and I were constantly looking for opportunities to get new locations, outfits, and scenarios onto our feed in order to expand our reach. We took a few of me with an umbrella on the walk and ended up selling those before we had even sat down at the office.

When we entered the office, we knew right away that we had reached the next level of success. They had an actual espresso machine, not even a Keurig. I’ll admit, we were captivated by the idea of making more money from this, especially since we just got into this on a whim.

After a few minutes, a group of 6 men and women in black suits entered the room. Each of them introduced themselves, but if I had to tell them apart I don’t think I could. They sat us down and told us that they loved our work and the numbers we had been getting. They told us that they thought, with their help, they could take us exciting new places. They wanted to enter into a partnership deal where they would tell us what niches they had in the market and then Emily and I would fill them. It all sounded so simple.

We were so excited about this possibility that, to our chagrin later, we signed immediately without consulting our parents much less a lawyer. This would be an issue later.

But at this time, all we knew was that we had a contract, so we got to work.

First, they needed a series at rustic houses and barns, so we did that.

Then they needed some of me at a brewery. I don’t even like beer.

And another location, with another outfit, and another and another. After almost a year, we were getting tired of it, but the checks kept cashing so we kept going. “A golf course? Sure, why not.”

Then, after one too many days in front of the camera, I decided to tell Emily that I wanted to cut back on our time working for Shuttergoo and focus more on my metal band. She said that she had been feeling the same way, so we went back to their office to try and renegotiate. We were fools to think we could fight the man, because the man had already won.

“Oh, you can’t reneg on this. You already signed and gave us your soul for all eternity. It’s right here in bold letters,” the 6 suits said in unison.

“Well, we should have read that closer, but still. Isn’t there anything we can do?”

“Fulfill your contract and we’ll let you go.”

“How do we do that?”

“Meet your quota – 1 million images.”

And so here we are, having been thrown out of the office for trying to fight them, with 941,620 images to go.

We’ll leave you with the photo that Emily had taken the day before. It might look like the same person, but if you look closely in my eyes, you can see the soul is missing.


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