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Whether on the road to photograph for stock or on assignment, I always try to make my time in the field count as much as possible. After all, travel these days—in terms of time, money, and effort—can be expensive.  So, before I leave, I make sure I’m prepared and have a plan for what I need to photograph while on location. Here are three tips for maximizing your next vacation if you want to sell your photographs to magazines: ** 1.  Research. Pre-trip research is essential for developing photo and article ideas and to keep you focused once on the ground. Before leaving on a photo trip, research your destination’s history, culture, events, weather, sunrise/sunset times, and anything else that will help you put together a shoot list. Make sure you review not only tourist sites, but also local photographer’s websites to get a good idea of what the place looks like. You should also research magazines that might be interested in images or a story from this particular location. Remember: there is no such thing as too much research. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Holland in spring, when the tulips are in full bloom. Living in the Desert Southwest and after a long winter (think brown, dry, and more brown), I couldn’t wait to feast on the smorgasbord of color I was sure to encounter. Before my departure I researched the area carefully and had a specific idea for an article and a photo magazine that would be interested in the story. I was good to go. ** 2.  Take small, medium, and large pictures. Chances are you will not have a second opportunity to photograph at your destination (at least not right away), so make sure you get the images you need before returning. This means working the subject by taking small (detail) shots of subjects like food and souvenirs; medium (mid-range) images like a particular building or a market; and large (establishing) shots like a cityscape or a landscape. Magazine editors commonly use detail, mid-range, and establishing images to illustrate a story, so taking these types of pictures will increase your chances of making a sale. Although the skies in Holland were hazy during most of my visit, this actually worked to my advantage since the soft, gauzy light was perfect to photograph flowers. The first image is a medium/mid-range rendition of one of the displays at the world famous Keukenhof Gardens near Lisse. The second shot, a detail, depicts the iconic Dutch wooden shoes…   ** 3.  Include people. Magazine editors love it when you include people in your pictures, especially if they are happy, attractive, and engaged. Adding people can improve images in a number of ways: a hiker can add scale to a grand landscape; a couple holding hands on the beach adds romance; and a cyclist can add interest to a picturesque road shot. Including people in your photos also allows the viewer to imagine themselves in a particular location. This last picture is my establishing/large shot; it depicts cyclists pedaling alongside a canal with windmills (of course) in the background. Pictures of people doing something fun are always in demand… Once Stateside, I put my submission together, including the article (Photographing the Netherlands in Spring), about 20 pictures showing a variety of subjects, a delivery memo listing the images, and a cover letter. In this particular case, after my last trip to the Netherlands, I sent my submission to Shutterbug Magazine, which I had identified as the type of publication that would be interested in my story, and prepared everything according to their submission guidelines. Within a week, I received an e-mail notifying me they would like to publish my story, which was featured in the spring of the following year. Although not every submission is accepted for publication, pre-trip preparation, a general plan, and in-the-field follow-through will maximize your chances of selling your work. [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.]

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