When you open a magazine, do you know how sometimes you seem to thumb through page after page after page and then all of a sudden you get to that one page that
makes you stop and stare for a moment?
Kind of like when you are on instagram and you can scroll through 35 photos in a row
and then there is that one that makes you scroll backwards for a closer look.
It is likely a photo that ‘speaks’ without saying a word and
that photo is exactly the type of photo that a magazine looks for.
A photo that tells a story
and makes you feel like you want to step right into that room and breathe it all in.
So how do you style and take a photo that does all of that?
To be honest, some of is the eye of the photographer.
It is how the photographer sees things and how when they look through the lens.
I like to say that writers tell a story with their words.
They weave them and create a scene in your mind as you read.
And photographers tell a story with their photos.
Photos provide a visual story through someone else’s eyes/lens that evokes emotion.
And while many people can have a similar ‘style’ to their photos – they are all different in their own ways and that is what makes your photography yours.
But not every photo is that way- and truth be told-I take probably 157 and a half photos to get
the15 that I love that I will consider sending in to an editor.
But there are also some general rules for what makes a photo ‘good’ for print.
And today, it is just a spec/tech run down.
Next week- it will be more about editors and specific examples of what they look for
and what has been published.
Vertical vs Horizontal
This might seem so simple- but honestly, it does make a difference.
Think about a magazine- they are tall vs wide. Sure they have some double pages in there for wider shorter photos- but the vast majority of them will be tall.
That is what looks best- and honestly from a photography standpoint- those vertical photos look best all around because they capture sky to land and everything in between and frame up beautifully. It is best to have both on hand for print just in case someone asks for a wider shot- but you almost always want to make sure you are shooting in vertical if what you are working on has magazine dreams.
Remember when I told you that magazine editor emailed me and asked me
for the hi-res version of the photo she wanted to print?
And I wondered what exactly that was?
Hi-res is a large file size.
Those photos on my blog WERE hi-res before they got to the blog.
But once they are loaded onto my blog- they are more internet friendly- otherwise you might be here all day just trying to get them to load.
For print- the best thing to do is to keep an extra copy of your photo that is not shrunken down.
Or shoot in Raw + JPEG (which is what I do)
It takes double photos and shares the smaller of the two for editing and sharing-
and keeps the big bad boy for print work.
Generally when I sent a file over- it is between 5 mb and 15 mb in RAW.
But you can use an iphone photo for print these days- much different than when I started with my iphone 3gs. And the file will be around 4 or 5 mb but not in raw- and that works.
Remember that every little bit of edit that you do will decrease the mb number
so best to try to ‘edit’ before taking the photo.
(Aka- that speck of dust or leaf on the patio that you don’t like.)
Height of camera
The camera can be low, it can be high, it can be right in the middle.
And there is NO perfect height for every photo.
For some, you want to bend down and grab that photo from a toddlers eye level.
For others- you may want to be up above and looking down.
A general good place to start with camera level is going to be about chest level in a room- then adjust for the look you are going after. You just don’t want to keep it low and shoot up towards the ceiling- and vice versa.
Crisp, clear and in focus
How many times have you been snapping away grabbing photos and capturing moments and you didn’t stop to make sure that everything was crisp and in focus… and were disappointed later. This is a super important thing to remember because a magazine won’t print something that is making them put glasses on to try and see clearly.
Remember when I asked the question last week if you knew what rule it was that I broke all the time? The one that makes a magazine editor crazy?
This is it.
It is the Depth of Focus rule.
You see… my favorite look and favorite settings on the camera are as low as you can go focus wise- meaning like cranking it to 1.4 or 1.8.
Give me that crisp flower in focus
and blur every other bit of anything out and I am a happy girl.
But, for print- that is not ideal for EVERY photo.
And here is a funny story.
When I was getting the presentation ready for the DBC- I searched and searched through my photos to find one that was my usual and one that was better in focus to share.
Best I could do was just a couple cranks up on the aperture. Not up to 10 or 15 or 22…just up to 4.
That should tell you that I literally AM that girl when it comes to photos.
That blurred out look is a very artistic style of photography- and I looooove it.
And yes, those photos will get published-but it is good to have a mix of both
for an overall focus shot and close ups showing bits and pieces
just in case you are asked.
This one is a bit more in focus than the other- but not all the way.
Up to 8 or 10 and it would be better. Did I do that? Nope.
But something to remember if fuzzy moody photography
is your favorite look or style as well- that is okay!
Just crank up the aperture for a couple of photos and snap a few extras.
Almost every time I have been asked to submit something and they wanted to put it on the cover or blow it all the way up- there has been a request for more in focus-
and you don’t want to get a cover photo request and not have a photo that works for them.
Does all of that make sense? Any questions?
I would be happy to answer them in the next post- just leave them in the comments or email me
Coming up next week:
What do magazine editors look for for a feature?
Is it gorgeous multi million dollar homes with expensive trinkets on every table?
Charming old English cottages covered in flowers?
Rooms filled to the brim with interesting treasures that tell a story?
Or crisp clean rooms that show corner to corner and not much left to the imagination?
Or is it all of the above and then some?
Next week, we will delve into just what exactly a magazine editor looks for in a photo and story-
and why one of the important things to consider when taking photos for a magazine
has something to do with ‘Real Estate’ photography.
Happy Wednesday everyone