Put Words with Your Pictures
An e-book encouraging photographers who want to earn from their photography to add words to their pictures. Written by a regularly published writer/photographer who shows how he has worked with practical examples.
This is the magazine I was a columnist in until it was taken over by a new publisher and this is what one reader wrote (if I don’t blow my own trumpet, who will!).
“I have just received the first issue of f2 Freelance and Digital since it was taken over by EC1 Publishing and was disappointed to find that your column is no longer included. It was always the first article I used to read when I received the magazine. As a photographer just taking his first steps in the freelance world, I found your advice and suggestions invaluable and always presented in a very easy to read style. You may be pleased to know (or possibly not) that I have taken a number of your ideas and adapted them to suit my own style. I hope you don’t mind. Anyway just to say that I will miss your words of wisdom in the future, but many thanks for all of those in the past. Best wishes for the future and happy freelancing.
Kind Regards, Simon Rhodes, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK”
It has now been re-purchased by its founder and is being relaunched in a format similar to its original. Hereunder is the media release.
f2 magazine relaunch by Icon
The original publishers have acquired the magazine back after 7 years
A new design, more lively and varied approach to content, and a return to the old values of our magazines will make f2 Freelance Photographer essential reading from the April 2014 relaunch issue onwards. This will be go on sale in the first week of March through newsagents which already stock f2, and will be available on Icon Publications Ltd’s stand K18 at The Photography Show, NEC, Birmingham March 1st-4th.
On January 24th, editor David Kilpatrick learned that EC1 Publishing Ltd, who took the magazine over in 2006, were shutting up shop and would cease publication. He immediately arranged to recover the title, to reverse the changes in editorial style, typography, layout, and picture choice – growing the circulation once again. The new f2 will have more technique and technology, more interesting images, and better print quality with 150g silk paper, matt lamination and perfect binding. It will return to 6X a year from May 2014 onwards, with a May/June edition following the April one.
See us at The Photography Show, or subscribe on-line by Paypal to any of Icon’s three magazines by visiting Icon Publications Ltd website (www.iconpublications.com/). Special offer for the show, available now on-line – subscribe to any two magazines and we will send you the third free of charge for a full year… supermarket stlye 3 for 2 offer, only this is not just three different variations of asparagus! This offer is limited to UK subscribers. Please note that if you have a Cameracraft subscription in the UK, and subscribe to f2 Freelance Photographer, we will send you one year of Master Photography free of charge!
The paperback edition of Images that Sell will be available soon through Amazon stores. It includes over 30 pictures that have sold either independently or through photo libraries. It is intended to be a useful handbook for freelance and would-be freelance photographers.
I have been selling pictures on a freelance basis for many years and was a columnist on freelance photography for the UK magazine, F2 Freelance+Digital. I have qualified as a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society (LRPS) and sell my pictures myself and through Alamy.
Watch here for information about this paperback being available, hopefully in the near future.
As November is rapidly disappearing, I thought I had better re-post the offer I made earlier in the month to buyers of my e-book Put Words with Your Pictures. You still have time to get your copy and take advantage of the offer below.
Here is the re-post.
I hope that you are finding my new e-book inspiring you to do what the title says.
For the month of November 2013 I am offering to review a piece of your writing up to 1200 words in length, free. All you have to do is e-mail it to me at email@example.com and I will review it and e-mail you my comments. How quickly obviously depends on how many take up this offer. You do not need to send me the pictures but it would help if you gave a brief description of those that you intend to accompany the words.
I am a regularly published writer and photographer with my work published in well over fifty different publications and I have worked with authors previously one of whom wrote, “Thanks very much for the reading and correction of my text; it has taken a big load from my mind. All corrections have been effected. I have, of course, acknowledged you in the book.”
I guarantee you complete confidentiality. And, maybe it’s a little naive, all I ask is that you have bought the book to take advantage of this offer.
I am happy to answer your questions before you trust me with your work.
Put Words with Your Pictures is available in PDF format Here
Put Words with Your Pictures is available in formats for tablet readers at Smashwords Here
Put Words with Your Pictures is available in formats for Kindle readers at Amazon Here
When I was in the publishing world, one of the drawbacks was that we were always working seasons ahead of ourselves, sometimes years ahead. The fact that it was frosty outside bore no relation to the summery feel that we had to give to the current project. And, that is how a freelance has to work if he or she is aiming to sell to magazines. The lucky ones will be able to head off to sunny climes to make their summery images to offer to publications in our winter but we lesser mortals have to make our images and then wait about six to eight months before we can submit them to our chosen markets.
The exception may be summer holidays type shots as many magazines devote a fair proportion of their winter issues to summer holidays.
By high summer you should have already submitted your autumn selections and be thinking of images that say ‘winter’. Those pictures of frost and snow that you took last year should be pulled from your files ready for submission.
Perseverance and confidence are two of the attributes that freelances need but there is another that we all need in abundance if we are to survive this precarious existence that is freelancing. And that is enthusiasm.
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson, the nineteenth century American author, poet and philosopher who said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” and that is a quote that is stuck to my office wall. When rejection after rejection of what we consider our best work is turning up day after day, the temptation to quit can rise and threaten to overwhelm us but, if we are truly enthusiastic about being a freelance, we will lift our drooping heads and start preparing the next submission. That is how a freelance succeeds.
Winston Churchill put it rather well when he said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” And, of all people, he should have known.
Whether you make your sales through photo libraries or direct, do you have a target to keep your mind focused on your output? And, if you do, is it measurable? It needs to be otherwise you cannot assess just how you are performing against your target. It can be as simple as the number of images sent out each month or the number of sales made, or the monetary amount of sales made, all of which are measurable. My targets began as the number of submissions made each month but I felt that that didn’t stretch me enough. Regular submissions are, of course, essential in this freelancing business but results are more important.
So, I amended my goals by setting myself an income-based goal for each month which encourages me to continue to send submissions out but will not let me feel satisfied just by the making of a submission. Now I won’t feel satisfied unless I can eat! Hopefully this approach will improve my selections and lead to more sales.
Don’t forget, that setting a target is not the end of it. There is no point in having a target that there is no chance of achieving just as there is no point in having a target that is too easily achieved. Setting targets that challenge is a fine balancing act so review your goals regularly. And don’t feel that you are cheating if you downgrade your targets if you find that you are not achieving them even though you have put a 100 per cent effort in. Of course, if the non-achievement is brought about by lack of application on your part, you know what to do.
Do you specialise in your freelancing? I’ve been giving this subject a bit of thought lately as these days I seem to be specialising in landscapes. It wasn’t a deliberate choice; it has just happened. Admittedly, I like it.
When I started freelancing I specialised in pictures of kids doing things but that was just because I had the subjects on hand and a camera always ready. I was fairly successful with black and white prints that were sold regularly to Nursery World and Child Education among others. I invited these magazines to hold prints on file if they wished and I often had pictures published some years after I had submitted them — I think the record was something like eight years. As a bonus, several pictures were used twice, several years apart with the added cheque out of the blue being very welcome. That sort of specialisation was, I suppose, specialisation of opportunity.
One of my black and white pictures used to illustrate an item in Junior Education (UK)
Most of us have these, whether they be at work or at home. If you have a craft hobby, you probably know others with a similar hobby who could provide photo opportunities and, as most hobbies have some sort of publication allied to them, there are market opportunities, too.
Then there is the specialisation that relies on you having a particular interest in the subject such as nature, landscapes, science, cars, bicycles, nudes, and so on. All of these have their own press and the obvious advantage in specialising in any of them is that your name will become known by the specialist publications you are targeting. I have not mentioned the photographic press as I have assumed that, like most freelance photographers, that has been your first port of call.
I seem to have fallen into my current specialisation of landscapes by default but that does not preclude me from shooting potentially saleable subjects either when found by chance or being sought out because I have recognised their sales potential.
To that end, I have recently been shooting indoors some generic type close up shots that could be used to illustrate a variety of subjects. Winter might be an ideal time for you to experiment with this approach, too. It can be done with fairly simple equipment and often with window light. If you don’t have a macro lens then extension tubes or close-up lenses are useful and a tripod is essential because of the very close focusing.
My research about specialisation shows that there seem to be as many varied views on it as there are on many things photographic. Lee Frost in his popular book, Photos That Sell, (David and Charles, 2001, ISBN 0 7153 1115 8) recommends that you diversify as much as you can even if some of your non-specialist subjects are only covered in a small way. But Charlie Waite, one of Britain’s leading landscape photographers, told me, “Somebody gave me a tip many years ago. It was the old adage of not being a jack of all trades and a master of none. ‘Specialise and be memorable for your speciality and don’t do anything else’ I was advised.” Charlie, however, did add a rider, “I am not necessarily sure that it is the right tip for everybody.”
Which advice you follow is a personal choice and much depends upon the size of the market for your type of specialisation and the time you have available. And also whether you have a desire to picture anything and everything or are more focused on a subject that fascinates you.
I suggest that, for your own development and income, you always keep an open mind about subjects to put into your portfolio and be aware of all possibilities.