Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top 10 Illustration Tips

Remember the belief supposedly engraved on every picture editor’s heart…a good picture is worth a thousand words. It’s certainly true, and here’s something else that’s true…article writers quadruple their chances of acceptance and double their fees by submitting photographs with their work. So, here are 10 tips on how to do it!

1. You don’t have to be a photographic genius. With today’s digital cameras and a little knowledge of image manipulation (which you can easily learn) you can take photos good enough to illustrate your articles – and they’ll be unique.

2. If you really can’t take the pictures yourself, try to come to a fair agreement with a good amateur photographer or a friend who is confident with a camera. Do a project together and then split the proceeds – a win-win situation for both of you!

3. Many places of interest – museums, stately homes, theme parks etc. – will give you permission to use the PR photos that they have in their brochures or on their website for free. They usually expect you to credit the pics to them but this shouldn’t create a problem. But you must gain permission as the copyright will be theirs or belong to the photographer who took the shot.

4. Remember that if you are writing a biography or a feature and the subject provides you with a photo that was taken in a studio, then the copyright still belongs to that studio or the professional photographer working for them.

5. Also, you can’t just reproduce images that appear on the Internet – you have to get permission to use them – and if you can’t get this from the site on which they appear then forget it!

6. Many amateur photographers love taking ‘artistic’ shots of sunsets, clouds, landscapes etc. These may be beautiful but what most editors are looking for are clear pictures that contain a person – especially if they are doing something visually interesting. They want photos that are well-composed and actually get the reader involved with the subject on some level – whether it is a person or an inanimate object such as a building.

7. Always supply pictures in the format that the editor specifies. So do your research thoroughly. Many will accept digital images, clear prints or transparencies. But if you are sending digital images make sure you know whether they prefer them on a disc or as attachments in the preferred format.

8. However you send your photos, make sure that they are properly labelled with clear, descriptive captions.

9. Always ensure that you make it clear that you are giving permission for single use only. If an editor wants to use the picture more than once he should be prepared to pay you again.

10. Above all, be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment. Have confidence in your own ideas – digital imaging sets amateurs free to produce pictures that rival those produced by the professionals.

The Bookaholic Blog credits the E-zee Writer newsletter of the Writers Bureau.

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