Writing Illustrated Articles

Breitling wing walker on Boeing Stearman SE-BOG

Grab your reader’s attention

How many times have you sat in the dentist’s waiting room, opened a magazine, read the first paragraph of an article and flicked over to the next page? Now think about the times that first paragraph grabbed your attention and you carried on reading. When writing articles grab your readers attention. Here’s how.

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Compose To Sell

Where do I want to sell my pictures?

Always a sensible question to ask yourself when taking a photograph. Composing photos that sell is not always easy. My article Photographic Composition covers the basics but this article looks at composing for specific uses and markets.

Let’s start the right way up

Book cover image

I have sold a lot of pictures for use on covers. Book covers are generally vertical. How often do you see people trying to photograph the bride and groom at a wedding holding the camera horizontally? Most people are taller than they are wide. Mobile phones work just as well horizontally as vertically so why do people shoot video vertically? The last time I looked my TV and this computer screen were both horizontal. If the subject will fit why not shoot one horizontal and one vertical picture and maximise your chances of a sale.

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Breakfast at the Holiday Inn


A short curvy waitress,
whose legs open a little too casually.
Blonde hair tied in an efficient ponytail;
her true self only revealed
by the black roots at her scalp. 
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Adding Photo Captions

Writing a caption is simple. All you need are the six Ws who, what, where, when, why and how (OK so the w in how is at the end).

The Qolşärif mosque Kazan, Tatarstan, Russian Federation
Tourists can visit the Qolşärif mosque in the Kremlin of the Russian Federation city of Kazan opened in 2005. It is built on the site of a previous mosque that was established in the 16th century and destroyed when Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan in 1552

The caption under the photograph of the Qosarif mosque in Kazan uses most of these but if you click on the picture you will see a different version.

Why Different Versions?

If you are producing a general caption for a picture, e.g. an image that is being sold by a stock agency then include as much information as possible. An editor can always remove surplus information but it is difficult to add.

If you have a specific market or publication in mind then tailor your caption to that audience. Continue reading

Aircraft Photography

A small collection of my aircraft photography. To see the full catalogue indexed by type 

Is My Camera Any Good?

What lens have you got on that?

I hate talking about gear when I am using it. As a long suffering wedding photographer I used to dread the approach of the serious looking old gentleman with a scuffed brown leather cased, 50’s vintage, camera round his neck. Usually he had just been fiddling with for at least ten minutes to take one photograph of his rather overweight, and definitely bored, wife in her best hat. I knew the inevitable question was coming.
‘What sort of lens have you got on that?’

‘That’ was usually a 6×4.5 Bronica film camera. We used to use medium format cameras because no one believed you were a pro with a 35mm SLR
My reply was often a completely genuine, ‘I don’t know.’
I could see him debating as to whether to rush off and exclaim to the bride that she had booked a complete idiot to take her wedding pictures, or whether to tell me not to be such a sarcastic bugger. Continue reading

Online and On Paper Writing Styles

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Writing for people to read online is vastly different from writing for readers of a paper or even ebook page.
You’ve probably scanned this first paragraph to see if there is anything interesting. Maybe you are already scrolling down and reading the sub headings to see if I am going to convey anything relevant. If you had bought a book; having flicked through it, read the cover blurb and spent your hard-earned cash on it you would probably start at page one and read on from there.

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B12 Steam Locomotive 8572

B12 Steam Locomotive 8572 on the North Norfolk Railway
B12 Express passenger locomotive 8572 built in 1928 and preserved on the North Norfolk Railway in LNER apple green livery.

B12 8572 History

This B12 steam locomotive, 8572 was built in 1928 by Beyer Peacock for the LNER (London and North Eastern Railway). The original design, although modified by 1928, dated back to the GER (Great Eastern Railway) in 1908. Continue reading

The P51D Mustang

Old Flying Machine Company’s P51D Ferocious Frankie in the colours of the 374th Fighter Sqn, 361st Fighter Group Civil Reg G-BTCD

P51 Mustang – Brief History

The fast and agile North American P51 Mustangs that ranged over Europe the last two years of the second world war probably played as larger part in Germanys defeat as the Spitfire and Hurricane did in the Battle of Britain. The Mustang was the first single engined long range fighter able to escort US army air force bombers all the way to Berlin and back. The Luftwaffe fighter pilots could no longer wait for the American fighters to turn back before attacking the unescorted bombers.

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Leaving Space For Text (copy space)

Many years ago, when the only things that were digital were your fingers or your watch, I won a photographic magazine’s cover girl competition. Not me personally you understand – one of my photographs.

A couple of weeks later an excited young photographer and his girlfriend, who just happened to be the scantily clad subject of the winning photograph, arrived at a posh Park Lane hotel for the prize giving. Continue reading