Black and white self-portrait. Originally uploaded to a now-defunct personal blog on April 4, 2012.

My fiancée giggled when I showed her the portrait and shared the story behind it with her.

To be fair, I giggled too.

The story begins with a Christmas gift.

My parents gave me a Canon Rebel DSLR camera a few years ago.

The camera came with two lenses, a bag, tripod and instruction manual.

In order to learn how better use the camera, I decided to take and post a photograph a day to a now defunct blog starting New Year’s Day 2012.

I made it to about mid-April with my New Year’s Resolution.

In February 2014, something unexpected happened involving the above self-portrait that I had posted in that time period.

Andy, the creative director for a design and marketing firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan, contacted me through my old blog’s email address.

Andy stated his firm potentially wanted to use the portrait as part of a client’s website design. He also wrote that he was willing to pay me for the photo, whether his agency used it or not.

I was skeptical, but after doing some homework that included asking Andy about the client’s website, getting a copy of the agency’s usage contract and then conferring with a national design and marketing firm in Cincinnati, I agreed.

The photo was to be used on the landing page of the site for a U.S.-based, non-profit Christian organization assisting people in Third World countries.

Andy also sent me a PDF mockup of how my portrait might appear on his client’s website.

After setting the terms of usage and price for the photo, the agency mailed me a check.

In the end, the photo was never used, but I still got paid.

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