Photography Feature Writing Tips

What does a photojournalist do when he has a couple of months without a field assignment? Edit, pitch stories to editors, rinse and repeat.

So much effort goes into planning your trip, nailing some good shots and pitching your stories (images) to editors, that by the time you've gotten the "Yes" email from publication X, Y, or Z, the task of actually writing the article seems a little scary.

Fortunately, I find myself in that very position with 6 feature stories being published/having a deadline in the month of October. So I thought I'd use this opportunity in the next few weeks to share my top five tips on crafting photography features.

1. Good Lede: The Lede, a journalism term for the start of a story, must capture the reader's attention right off the bat. Short and direct, the lede engages the reader by teasing what the rest of the story entails.

2. Write to the Magazine: Every magazine or publication has a different voice. Some are more adventurous, others informative. If you're writing for a more teqnique driven publication (like DivePhotoGuide or WetPixel) make sure to tailor your story to that voice.

3. Show, Don't Tell: Perhaps the most common mantra of journalism, and yet the most violated. Use your description to draw the reader in. Replace common underwater cliches ("The water was turquoise perfection) with more creative descriptions.

4. Devil's in the Details: You can separate your writing from the rest by including nuggets of color, details and facts.

5. Finish Strong: In conclusion...NOPE get rid of that. If you're writing an essay, you want a conclusion. But this is journalism, you want something witty, meaningful or sharp to end the story. Pull a George Costanza and leave your audience wanting more after your last punch

In the following weeks, I will go into more detail regarding these tips, breaking down one or two per week. Until then, you can check out some of my recently published print work, or my features on DivePhotoGuide.

Happy shooting and writing!