As a travel writer, I’m often asked to provide photos with my stories. While I’ve got a decent eye for framing and a pretty good phone camera, I still find the idea of submitting photos fairly intimidating.
Reason being? I started my career in a magazine environment where there was a clear delineation between writers and photographers, where we’d usually cover stories in pairs, and when we couldn’t get shots, we’d pull them from a photo service. The popular (and ridiculous) notion was that a great writer couldn’t be a great photographer. And vice versa.
Today things have changed dramatically, and with decreasing budgets and improving technology, editorial departments often expect writers to source (or take) their own images. If photography isn’t your forte but you still want to take decent photos, here are a few tips:
Use a tripod. There are lots of tripods out there, but I personally like the bendable GorillaPod tripod, as it’s both portable and easy to set up on unstable surfaces…the bendy arms can also be wrapped around objects to act like makeshift mounts. Just note that if you are using a phone rather than a camera, you will need to purchase a phone grip attachment to mount your phone onto your tripod.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Three Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]
- Learn your tech. If you have a camera, take a class on how to use it properly. Learn about how it works so you can make it work for you. Smartphones—especially newer models—have a lot of functions that go unused. Check out YouTube videos or consider taking a class on how to optimize your camera.
- If you are using a phone or tablet, remember that apps can help a great deal. While it’s usually wise to leave real editing up to the experts, there are plenty of apps that can help you optimize your photos.
- Get lenses. There are a lot of options for clip-on lenses, and many come in kits that contain—at a minimum—fisheye, wide-angle, and macro lenses. If you’re using a traditional camera rather than a phone that takes lenses, you might want to invest in a couple of good lenses rather than relying solely on whatever kit lens came with your camera.