I will be teaching a class “Shoot to Publish” at Bedford Camera’s Photocon F2.8 Expo in Oklahoma City on March 20. This class is designed to teach budding editorial photographers how to shoot photographs that publishers want for stories. Since 2008 I have shot dozens of covers and hundreds of photos that have been published in local, regional and national magazines. Along the way I have learned what types of photos editors like and how to frame and compose photos that work well for covers and opening story spreads. Below are a few high points I will speak on:
- Frame for the cover photo – How to frame a photo with room for the magazine’s title and text
- Frame a double-page opening spread – Aside from a cover photo, the double page opening spread is the choice spot for stories that grab readers attention. I will show how to shoot with empty space for the story headline and opening text in mind.
- Shoot loose – leave room for cropping. As a new photographer I was often told to “crop in, shoot close”. While you still want your subject to be prominent in your picture, you also need to leave room around the photo so the editor can crop the photo to fit their layout. Different publications have different layout needs. Learn to shoot with those layout needs in mind.
- Tell a story – Probably the most important tip I will teach is how to tell a story with your photos. Most magazines are in the business of telling stories, not displaying pictures. The better you are at telling stories with your camera, the more likely those stories are to be published.
- Team with a writer – Since magazines are in the business of telling stories, it makes sense that you should work with a writer to tell a story. Learn to talk to the writer, learn the story angle, and then use your photos to help tell that story angle.
- Edit your work – Most magazine editors don’t want to see 1,000 images from your shoot. Learn to edit your own work and provide them the best photos that tell the story.
- Provide ideas – Learn to not just shoot what your are asked. Magazines hire me for my creative vision, not my skills and snapping a photo. Learn to hear what the story is about, then apply your own creative spin on the subject.
- Shoot the assignment – then shoot for yourself. I always try to make sure I shoot what my client expects, then take the shoot a bit further and shoot what I want in my own creative vision. Get the basics “in the can” then stretch yourself to shoot something unexpected.
- Don’t be a prima-donna – We are in a service business. While you want to maintain your creative vision, you also need to provide quick, responsive service to editors. Leave your ego at the door and learn to be responsive and deliver images on-time and on-budget.
- Learn to really listen – One of your best skills is to listen to editors, your subject, the writer, and hear what they are trying to “say”, then apply your own creative vision to help tell the story.
I will be showing examples of my published work and explaining how and why I shot the photo the way I did, as well as showing photographs that were NOT selected for the assignment. Come spend 1.5 hours and learn how to create images that editors love to publish!
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