By freelance travel writer, Jennifer Deng-Pickett
I’m writing from the lobby of a DuPont Circle hotel in Washington, DC. I’m here attending Great Escape Publishing’s Ultimate Travel Photographer’s Workshop — learning what I can in the interest of adding photos to the articles I already publish.
One of the best — and easiest — ways to increase the number of your articles that make it into print (and the dollar value of each one) is to offer editors not just words, but photos, too.
Clearly, I’ve come to the right place. We’ve wrapped up only the very first session, and already I’ve gathered 10 useful tips:
- You don’t need a $8,000 camera to get a saleable shot. The camera you bought at Target or Wal-Mart is a good start. Online newsletters and web publications don’t need the high resolution that print publications do. A 3-megapixel camera can still get you into some of those markets.
- Rule of Thirds: This composition technique is something the pros do as a matter of habit. It produces more interesting and more salable shots. Here’s how you do it: Divide up the image in your camera into thirds (vertically and horizontally) and put your subject somewhere on one of the grid lines instead of in the center of your photo.
- Diagonal Lines and S-Curves: Employ diagonal lines and S-curves in your photos, and this, too, will ensure better composition. Take a look at these pictures online and see how the photographer used diagonal lines to lead the viewer’s eye into the photo: www.thephotographerslife.com/diagonalexamples
- One of your best photographic tools is your feet. Move around to get the most attractive or appealing shot in your camera or to find a diagonal line or to follow the Rule of Thirds.
- Use tree branches and doorways to “frame” a subject in your photograph. I stood under a tree behind the Smithsonian Museum today and let the leaves hang down into my picture of the castle, which stood in the background. The leaves added character to my shot, and they also helped to cover the gray skies.
- Pictures should always attempt to set a mood. Every photo should elicit a feeling or tell a story when you look at it.
- Never zoom into an image on the digital zoom setting. Put your camera on optical zoom. You’ll get a much more saleable image quality.
- Play with your camera’s settings. Set your camera to the highest quality JPEG available. Your camera manual will show you how.
- Just get the shot. Sometimes there isn’t enough time to readjust the settings on your camera to get the perfect shot. SHOOT ANYWAY! You might be surprised to find that you end up with a good shot anyway.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Don’t wait around for that “perfect shot!” Take multiple pictures, all the time. Ansel Adams used to say that he was lucky if in all of the pictures he took, he would get one quality photograph a month.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]