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Profit From Your Photography

September 14th, 2018

Writers can quadruple their chances of acceptance and double their fees by submitting photos with their words…and with digital images you don’t need to be an expert photographer to provide saleable photos with your work.  So here are some tips on profiting from your photography:

  1. Remember that a good picture is worth a thousand words.  If you can provide photos you save a busy editor time sourcing pics to illustrate your article.  This can be a huge factor in determining whether your work is accepted or rejected. But it’s much more convenient if you can take them yourself rather than having to source them from picture libraries, museums and PR people.
  2. You don’t need an expensive camera but you do need to learn to use it properly.  Know it so well that you never have to refer to the instruction booklet and can remember all the modes without thinking.
  3. Don’t dismiss your smartphone as an option. You always have it on you, the image quality can now be extremely high if you choose the right phone and you can override many of the automatic settings, allowing manual control over exposure, focusing etc. You can even buy lenses to attach to smartphones increasing flexibility, and you can transfer images easily to social media channels etc. You can even use editing apps to tweak your images on the move.
  4. Always take more pictures that you expect to use – it doesn’t cost any more and you can delete the rubbish.  But you may just get an unexpected bonus!
  5. Make sure that you save your images securely and that you have 2 copies of each set – one as back up, and one to work on.
  6. Few photos can be submitted without being enhanced in some way; so learn to manipulate your images. Buying a good manipulation package such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements(which is cheaper) is a good investment.
  7. Learn to think visually.  Do this by studying articles in magazines and the colour supplements to see how they are illustrated.
  8. Beautiful sunsets and pastoral scenes are all very well, but editors usually want photos that involve people.  And they prefer people who are doing something interesting that will involve the reader in the subject matter.
  9. When submitting photos, to begin with only send low-res JPEGs, clearly labelled, via email. Ensure they are sent to the appropriate address. It can be helpful to include a PDF contact sheet of all the images you are sending. And don’t forget to send a covering letter with your submission including your details and, in particular, a daytime phone number
  10. Make it very clear that you are giving permission for ‘single reproduction rights only’.  By doing this, if editors want to re-use them they have to pay again!  Alternatively you can use the pics again when you re-write your article for another publication!

There are lots more tips in the Writers Bureau’s Creative Writing Course module ‘Profit From Your Photography’. I’m not the world’s best photographer, but it really got me thinking about looking for original angles to take photos from; the way light can influence your pics at different times of day (or even night); consideration of colour and composition… the list goes on. And, though I say it myself, I think my ‘technique’ has improved (butterfly on sedum plant), though I’ll probably never win any awards!

My guest next week is Writers Bureau student Diane Mannion (writing as Heather Burnside) who’ll be talking about her experience as a successful novelist.

Author: Diana Nadin


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