Photography tips: getting published

Photographer Mark Watson tells us how to break the rules of photography and how to get your photos published.
By Mark Watson September 26, 2012 Reading Time: 2 Minutes Print this page

ONCE YOU HAVE MASTERED all the rules… break them! Shoot into the sun and underexpose.

Photograph a portrait with only a head and shoulder in the bottom 10th of the frame…. Go wild.

Some of the greatest images go against the rules, however they work because the photographer was deliberately breaking the rules to create something special.

“Creating a great image, an image with that intangible, hard-to-define ‘fourth ingredient’ that grabs your viewer and really resonates – happens only a few times a year, even for the very best professional photographers, and it’s the pursuit of these images that will inspire your photographic process,” adventure sports photographer Michael Clark explains.

You must learn the rules before you can break them; then you are breaking them for a reason… to find the magical fourth ingredient. So get a camera, get some ‘good glass’ and start experimenting with these ingredients.

Eventually you will stumble across that fourth ingredient and it might be your photo that grabs our attention, stops us in our tracks and for a moment transports us to another place. Happy snapping.

Shooting photographs in raw

A plethora of digital image formats exist in the media world. JPG is the most common but is a compressed format that loses colour and tonal information.

TIFF on the other hand is uncompressed but tends to slow down buffers, workflow and creates huge files.

The best compromise is to purchase large-capacity memory cards and always shoot RAW.

RAW file formats such as Adobe’s DNG, Nikon’s NEF or Canon’s CR2 retain incredible amounts of data and allow an advanced degree of post production without noticeable quality loss.

Making backups of photo

While on the road, backup as much as possible to hard drive, CD, DVD, online server or use multiple memory cards.

You should return from your adventures with an overabundance of great images and a few that stand out as those with that hard-to-find fourth ingredient.

It is these images you will want to enhance through digital darkroom techniques… But that is an entire lesson in itself.

Making photo suitable for publishing

For those who wish to publish their images in magazines, the most important factor is to understand what is required and keep that in the back of you mind.

You may need to consider images for a double-page spread (DPS). This means composing a photo that allows text to be overlaid and composition that ensures your key subject does not fall on the fold.

For a feature you will want to supply a variety of images. A couple of big DPS photos, a number of vertical images to fill an A4 page and finish with a selection of smaller detail images to tell the story.

And if you’re shooting with a front cover in mind, remember to allow room for the masthead and coverlines.

Remove sunglasses and ensure eyes are in focus. Keep it simple. A cover wants only one ‘hero’.