Yesterday we sent you a video from editorial photographer Patrick Stevens, on how to publish photos in magazines.
Today, we interviewed reader Ray Batson. When we last heard from Ray, his story and photos from a recent trip to Antarctica were being published in the December issue of International Living magazine.
Now, Ray’s getting published there again. Ray joined us at the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Denver and the Ultimate Money-Making Photo Workshop in Austin, Texas. A former planetary cartographer, today he spends his retirement with his wife traveling the world. Having just returned from a photo safari trip in Africa, they took lots of photos and sold them with an article about their trip.
Scroll down to find out how to publish photos in magazines, as he’s doing…
Director, Great Escape Publishing
P.S. Ray’s retired, and he’s really only just gotten started in the published travel writing and photography world. Where will he go from here? That’s for him to decide. What about you? When are you going to start submitting stories and photos for publication?
February 13, 2010
The Right Way to Travel
How to Publish Photos in Magazines
An interview with reader Ray Batson
TRWTT: How many photos do you usually send an editor to go with your story?
RAY: For my African safari article, the International Living editor specified an approximate number of pictures (along with word count) for the article. But, with her permission, I sent three or four times that number for her to choose from. I start by sending low-res .jpg files.
The editor then selects four or five images, and at that point asks for full-resolution .jpg files. And of those, she may use only two or three. I assume that she is working under not only size and space constraints, but how best to fit text, sidebars, and pictures into a given space.
For my North Pole article in 40+ Travel and Leisure, which was unsolicited in the first place, I sent a half-dozen or so low-resolution images, and the editor used them all. However, that was an online publication.
TRWTT: How do you keep the high-resolution and low-resolution versions of your photos organized?
RAY: I use Adobe Lightroom, and import all my photos at full res into a library, where I can do all the processing, cropping, keywording, captioning, etc. That program then allows me to select a subset and export copies of them to a file, with each photo at a size and file type I choose. The editor then can make a selection, and I go back to Lightroom and export copies of only the requested photos at full resolution.
[Ed. Note: If you’re not sure how to organize your shots like Ray does in Lightroom, we’ll be going over all of the details in Nashville.]
TRWTT: Are you ever surprised by the photos an editor chooses?
RAY: Sometimes, but once the article appears in its final form the photos selected seem appropriate.
TRWTT: Is there anything you try to keep in mind when you’re out on a trip, taking photos for a story?
RAY: My wife and I have taken a lot of trips as tourists, and I always liked the Steinbeck line “we do not take a trip, a trip takes us.” As an amateur, I always looked for the stories in the trips after we got back.
Once we got back, though, stories had a way of popping out, from our memories and our photo collections. As tourists will, we were always eager to share our experiences when we got back, but dreaded being guilty of writing droning travelogs in diary format. I started looking for stories, not documentations. Same with photos. It is easy to take snapshots that prove you were there. Both of us are striving, sometimes successfully, to meet standards for “fine-arts photography.” More and more, we are striving, at the same time, to take photos that tell stories on their own.
TRWTT: Since you’re finding and writing your stories after your trips, what are some ways you remember where you were and what you saw?
RAY: I am a terrible note taker, so photos are my notebook. Consequently, there are many one- or two-star photos in our catalog. They are for documentation and are not publication quality, but are great for framing a story. Pictures of plaques and signboards are good for keeping track of noteworthy places.
Digital photos are great because the camera keeps a metadata file for each photo. I set the clocks in our cameras to Greewich Mean Time (GMT) so I don’t have to keep track of time zones, and my cataloging software is programed to assign the date and time each photo is taken as the photo ID. It is also handy to have a GPS on the camera which will include the geographic coordinates of each picture in its metadata.
TRWTT: Do you have any tips for readers who would like to photograph their trips and would like to know how to publish photos in magazines?
RAY: Don’t give the editor extra work. Stay within the assigned word limit, and don’t expect the editor to heal warts for you. Meet deadlines. Keep within the framework you have been given, or one you have already worked out with the editor.
My goal is to share a story or two. To that end, I pick a piece of a trip — probably one that has an obvious theme — and then try to frame words and assign photos that will convey that story as concisely as I can. “Concisely” being the operative word here.
TRWTT: Thanks, Ray!
[Ray doesn’t take trips to publish articles. He travels for travel’s sake. The stories come to him afterwards. If you find stories are coming to you during or after your trips, follow in Ray’s footsteps and learn how to publish photos in magazines, newspapers, or online. It’s probably a lot easier than you think.]
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]