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Today:

*** Cloudy weather doesn’t have to mean poor photos
*** Everything you need to know about the business of writing
*** Practical Writing Prompt of the Week: What to do when it’s raining

Dear Reader,

We started this, our third day of the Ultimate Travel Photographer’s Expedition in Greece, on the water. The wind had turned cold, the skies were gray, and we needed umbrellas for the light rain.

But by the time we made it to Halki Island (about an hour’s boat ride from Rhodes), the rain had stopped and the skies cleared.

It was a great day to be out and about with our cameras.

I got more than a few shots — 198 to be exact — of the houses nuzzled into the hills above the harbor and of the doors and windows on these traditional Greek homes — bleached-white stucco trimmed with bright blue, orange, and green.

The early morning rain left everything saturated with color. So we all had a wonderful time wandering the crooked, stone-paved streets and alleys through the village. (By the way, there’s virtually no crime on these islands. No beggars or panhandlers, either.)

Several of the attendees remarked that they kept expecting Mickey Mouse or some other Disney character to pop out of the bushes — to confirm their suspicions that we were actually walking through a make-believe wonderland instead of a real island with locals who aren’t being paid to be this nice.

Everywhere you look here you see a notable clock tower, or a church, or a panoramic view of the harbor. It was hard to get a bad shot on this island. Nevertheless, Rich WFivagner, our expert photographer, reminded us of a few things this morning that will help you, too, the next time you’re out taking pictures.

FIVE IMPORTANT PHOTO LESSONS RELEARNED IN GREECE

1) Take a lot of pictures. If it’s worth taking a picture of something
— then it’s worth taking three or four. Take a vertical, a horizontal, move to the right, to the left, and farther away.

2) When you’re taking a picture of a building or a wall, try not to point your camera up toward the sky. Instead, back up as far as you can or get to higher ground where you can shoot the structure head-on without tilting your camera up. Tilting your camera up will make your building seem like it’s falling over backwards, and fixing that in Photoshop would cost you some of your image quality.

3) Optical zoom is OK. Digital zoom is bad. Turn off your camera’s digital zoom and use your feet instead. Digital zoom does nothing more than enlarge the pixels in your image, causing you to lose image quality. Instead, put one foot in front of the other and walk closer to your subject.

4) When the sky is grey and dull, do what you can to keep it out of your picture. Include more foreground in your shot or use a hanging tree branch, doorway, or window to frame the sky out.

5) Give your viewer a place to stand. Travel editors like pictures that let their readers feel as if they’re standing next t to the photographer. So include a little foreground in your shots.

I’ll post a few of my pictures on our website when I get home. As you know, including photos with your articles increases your chances of landing by-lines. In fact, about half of our attendees here in Greece are honing their photography skills to compliment the writing they already do.

That’s something Wendy VanHatten knows all about. Wendy got her start here reading this newsletter, and now she can boast by-lines in publications like International Living, The Traveler, SiouxLand Lifestyle, 21st Century Adventures, and more…

Tomorrow she’ll tell you exactly how she does it. Check your in-box for her secrets to success.

PRACTICAL WRITING PROMPT OF THE WEEK

This morning’s rain got me thinking about what we could do inside… and what travelers do inside whenever they find themselves in a foreign locale under gray skies.

What is there to do in your own home town (or your favorite travel destination) when the weather is bad?

Create a list for yourself and turn it into an article. Need help?

Carol Shields wrote an article about round-ups that may come in handy, click here.

==========================

READER FEEDBACK: How many photos to send?

QUESTION: My husband and I wish to become a professional travel writer/photographer team. I am ready to pitch my first article. What is the appropriate number of photos to send with an article to an editor/publication?

ANSWER #1 from David Jackson, Deputy Features Editor, The Monterrey County Herald: “You can never take too many photos as far as I’m concerned. There are many, many ways we, the editors, can use photos.

There’s the obvious photos we need to accompany a story. Then I also need photos for the front page, to lead our readers to the full article on the inside pages. Plus, our paper and many others are making a big push to direct readers to our website. You only have so much space in the actual newspaper but online you have no limits.”

ANSWER # 2: from freelance writer and photographer, Alf Meier: “If an editor wants 4 photographs, send 12. Editors like to have choices.

They want control over what goes into their issue, and having that choice of pictures gives them that control.

ANSWER # 3: from freelance writer and photographer, Carol Shields: A publisher’s photo guidelines may state how many images to send. If they do, follow those instructions. As a general guide — or if a publication doesn’t have official photo guidelines — look through their back issues and see how many photos typically illustrate an article the same size as yours. Then, send twice that many photos.

[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.]

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