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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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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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

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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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

Black Prince Steam Engine

Black Prince Steam Locomotive

General Interest Caption

     Weighing nearly 140 tons this clanking, steaming, smoking heavy goods locomotive spent its short working life hauling 1500 ton iron ore trains on Merseyside. Now it easily pulls a few coaches (about 160 tons) from Sheringham to Holt and back on the North Norfolk Railway.
Numbered 92203 this loco was bought for £3000 from British Railways by the artist David Shepherd who named her Black Prince. The preserved loco was used on several heritage railways and in 1982 pulled the heaviest ever steam hauled freight train in Britain (2178 tonnes). Not bad for an engine built in 1959 and retired in 1967.

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Captioning Aircraft Photos

Nigel Wilson and his Yak 52 G-BXJB at Old Buckenham

Captioning aircraft photos can be a bit daunting especially if you are not an aircraft nut and barely know the difference between a Boeing and a Bolkow. Continue reading

Qolsharif Mosque Kazan

Qolsharif Mosque Kazan
Qolsharif Mosque Kazan

Kazan is the capital of the semi autonomous republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation.The Qolsarif  Mosque is a relatively new addition to the Kremlin in the city. The mosque, one of the largest in Russia was completed in 2005 on the site of the original which was destroyed when Ivan the terrible conquered Kazan in the 16th century. It is named after Qol Sharif a religious leader, diplomat and poet who died defending Kazan from the Russian forces in 1552.

Sources. The Opening of Kazan Mosque in 2005

BBC News 2005

Longing For a Full Colour Life

Longing For a Full Colour Life

She stands alone before sink and bowl
And feels the ache within her soul
The hand that once caressed her there
Rests on the arm of favourite chair

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