I went to college to be a photojournalist. For a year, I worked on The Campus Press as a staff photographer, covering a handful of campus happenings each week for the publication — student-interest stories, sports events, food and entertainment reviews.
My expertise in school, however, evolved into the wordsmith realm, and I am a full-time freelance writer now. Yet my love and practice of capturing moments in time with photography has fit in as an integral piece of my career puzzle.
Most every travel article I have written not only has my byline, but also my photos. A majority of my editors want me to take my own photos, and it works well for everyone.
When I turn in a piece, it feels like I’m sharing the complete story — an experience painted from the combination of words and photos, exploration, and art.
Here’s how learning and using photography will boost your writing career:
You’ll become more observant
Using a photographic eye will create more curiosity and in-depth awareness of a particular subject, so when you sit down to write a travel article, you have seen more details (some of which you can revisit through your photos, which also helps fuel the writing process). Photography helps to gain a greater appreciation of the world around you, because you look at it more closely and capture its essence in your own way. This makes your writing, and overall storytelling, much more in-depth and compelling to your editors and your readers.
You’ll be taken more seriously
If you introduce yourself as a journalist or travel writer, and you’ve got a camera, people will see you as more professional. That’s not to say you should just carry a camera around… but learn to use it so that it will help inform your stories when you’re writing them. And then you’ll have photos that can stand alongside your article in print or online. Yes, camera gear is expensive, and you can take a lot of great photos on your high-end camera phone. Eventually though, it’s worth it to invest in the real deal and work at truly knowing the art and business of photography.
You can make more money
Some publications have a budget for photos, and that means you’ll make more if you provide options with your story. You can also sell your shots as stock photography, or for someone else’s travel article – another writer who needs good visual footage. Writers who know how to shoot their own photos are simply more valuable, and that’s something every freelancer wants to be in this industry.