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The "everywhere Girl" Phenomenon

There are many sites where you can post your photos for resale to corporations, advertisers, and other publishers of magazines, newsletters, and web content. One photographer, Douglas Menuez, has made a small fortune with a few shots he took in 1998 and listed on Getty Images. He took some posed pictures of a young woman, Jennifer Chandra, in front of an American college, Reed College in Portland, Orgeon.

There is nothing spectacular about his images, they are just an average looking student, wearing a wool cap, in front of the old college building.

But those images have been picked up and published dozens of times by major corporations, and many other businesses, worldwide, for use in advertisements, brochures, and web sites.

The Everywhere Girl Phenomenon was basically created by a technical newsletter, called The Inquirer, which is published daily and provides short notes about happenings in the computer and telecommunications area. One editor noticed that a photo of the same female student was used by two computer manufacturers at the same time. He wrote about it in a newsletter article, calling her "The Everywhere Girl", and soon people started sending in screen captures of advertisements worldwide showing the same smiling face.

The Everywhere Girl is listed in the Urban Dictionary, and was listed in Wikipedia, until some techno-geeks objected and marked the article as self-serving and a candidate for deletion.

From a photographer's point of view, there is not a lot to distinguish this photo from the thousands of others. She has a wholesome, smiling face, almost plain, and is wearing a winter wool cap and a cowrie shell necklace. She is posed in front of an old college building and the entire photo is tilted, which many people might find annoying. The background is out of focus, as the photographer intentionally shortened the depth of field to emphasize her face, which is sharp and detailed.

The photographer says there were several other students in his shoot that day, but none has had the popularity of The Everywhere Girl. This particular photo has been an outstanding success.

What it does prove is that submitting photos to stock image sites works, and sometimes works exceedingly well. And you, as a photographer, probably are not the best judge as to what will sell and what won't. The best advice is to pick your best shots, submit to as many stock photo sites as time permits, and do it often.