As a pro nature photographer, part of my business is to submit articles to photo magazines, and I’ve been very fortunate to have many articles published. I am good at teaching people how to become better macro photographers, but I am not a good writer, as I was a below average English student. I’m sure my English teachers from high school would roll in their graves if they knew I have had articles published in major photo magazines. I should spend more time writing and submitting articles to magazines, but writing is my least favorite part of being a pro photographer.
Here is a funny story about the first article I had published. In 2004 I submitted my very first query letter about an idea for an article to Rob Sheppard who was the editor at the time for Outdoor Photographer magazine. Rob was quick to reply, saying that he was interested in the idea, and would file it away for future consideration. I thought that was a nice way of saying he was not interested.
A few months passed by and I received a call from the associate editor at OP, letting me know they needed the article and images for an upcoming issue. I was excited but also a little concerned because I had never written an article before, and now have to produce something worthy of publication.
There is a saying I saw somewhere that said, “If someone offers you an opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes and then learn how to do it later” So that is what I did.
My wife is a teacher, so I knew I would have some help. It takes me a long time just to write a 1500 word article, so it was a few days before the article was ready to present to my wife for review.
She starts to read it and within minutes says, you don’t have paragraphs!
I said, what’s a paragraph?
How funny is this, that I’ve put myself in the position of writing an article for a major publication, and I don’t even know what a paragraph is.
That is the way I am, that if I really want to do something, I will take some risk and figure out how to get it done as I go.
What I was writing was good information, I just needed to know how to structure it properly, just like a macro photographer that has a great subject, but needs to know how to compose it properly.
My wife helped me add the structure needed, and I submitted the article and images. I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks and was imagining Rob saying “this is crap, we can’t publish this“. So I sent an email to Rob asking him if the article was okay, and he replied saying, “everything looks fine”
Wow! my first article is being published. Pretty exciting.
Since that first article published I’ve had many more published, but the first one and the situation I put myself in sure made it memorable.
Writing articles and e-books has been my least favorite part of being a pro photographer, so I don’t write as much as I should. What’s also strange about writing articles is that I have to write winter related articles in the summer, spring articles in the Fall, and so on. I am six months ahead of the season, so right now as I’m enjoying warm summer days, I’m thinking about winter.
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