Granted, you've accepted and applied that shooting your own ?art? to accompany your articles and add depth to your queries is an essential tool of the article writer. Perhaps you have a slant or two specifically in mind. But why not add even greater range to your efforts ?on location? and explode your options and possibilities for writing? In part 1 of this two-part article, we looked at slants for shooting people pictures in a variety of ways. Here we?ll consider other options to help bolster your multi-media research package. Use these ideas to expand your photo essay shooting range.
While you're on assignment for goodness sake, don't eat at the hotel restaurant everyday. Get out there and sample the local fare. Check out farmer's markets and supermarkets too. Shoot food platters, local fruits and vegetables. I'm shamelessly notorious for taking photos of not only everything I eat, but shots of other people's meals on occasion as well. If you don't know the local foods chances are your readers won't either. While you're at it, get a few recipes too. Talk to the cook or chef. And yes Bunky, get their pictures. If you discretely record your conversation, these interviews can fuel personality pieces for trade and technical publications dealing with that locale or theme area. In Oaxaca, Mexico, I actually had people coming up asking me to photograph and interview them. It provided me with enough raw input, quotes and photos to write more than 20 articles and shorts from just that one trip.
A variety of local architectural styles might make for a good photo shoot. Architectural, building supply and construction publications are potential markets. Flower-adorned porches, balconies and staircases, decorative plants, gardens, leaves and blooms can all add a splash of nature to your portfolio. Storefronts or displays of goods can be editor-pleasing shots too.
On a recent trip, I noticed that an overwhelming number of houses were made of wood, from the most expensive-looking ones to the shabbiest and poorest abodes. I started shooting examples of different types of wooden homes along with architectural details of stairs, doors, balconies and trim winding up with scores of interesting shots that included a two-story house designed to look like a boat. The resulting multi-media package can be milked from now on without the need to travel again to the exotic location I shot from.
Visit the zoo, aviaries, wildlife preserves, gardens and other promoted sites. Use a fresh eye and your inquiring mind to generate questions, elicit opinions and capture quotations. I almost never miss a chance to spend time in the local zoo. When I heard of an ?Iguana Park? in Cali, the Salsa music capitol of Colombia, I couldn't resist. From Ambato, Ecuador to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania I've ogled animals of all types with photo ops leading to numerous assignments on creatures from Ants to Iguanas to Three-toed Sloths. Features and shorts for children's magazines, animal lover rags and educational pieces with an ?on location? flare await you on your next trip or vacation.
Talk with curators, animal keepers, biologists, environmentalists, horticulturalists and gardeners, local green thumbs ? anyone who could add depth to your proposed articles. Don't forget to photograph everyone you can ? preferably ?in action?. Get their contact information to expand their quotes and bios if you need to later.
So article writers, if you are traveling this summer, by all means, take a camera or two along on your next trip or vacation as part of your article writing research equipment. Shoot high-resolution digital photos. Shoot color slides and some prints too. Photograph people, food, nature and architecture. Record those interviews and quotes to flesh out and deepen your resource pack materials. Offer editors a multi-media package that includes art and article text. You'll find that your acceptance rate just might start changing ? for the better.
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an ELT Teacher Trainer, English language learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. He has published more than 350 articles and academic papers and presented at numerous EFL teacher training and TEFL conferences throughout North America, South America and Europe. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail: [email protected]