Most photographers are visual people, which means writing about your work may not come naturally. However, if you’d like your work published, or you’d like to create a book, writing skills can definitely come in handy.
Here at Street Photography Magazine, we’ve found that even those who don’t consider themselves writers can create excellent written content about their work by simply answering a few questions. If you’d like to write something about your work, here’s how you can do it in two easy steps:
Step 1: Choose a Topic to Write About
After you’ve selected your images (around 12 photos is more than enough for most photo projects), there are a few different approaches you can take when writing about your work. Ask yourself, what kind of article your photos lend themselves to.
- Subject-based projects are usually a about group of photos that center on a specific person, group of people, or a place.
- How-to articles are ideal if your images focus on a specific photographic technique – either in-camera or during post-processing.
- Creative or abstract projects can feature photos that center around an idea or philosophy rather than a concrete person or place.
- Photographer profiles or interviews are a good way to show off a broader portfolio of images. You can give readers an idea of your overall work while writing about yourself as a photographer, which could include information about your background, approach, or techniques.
Step 2: Ask Yourself a Few Questions
Once you’ve decide what kind of article to write, all you need to do is “interview yourself” about the topic. Below are some sample questions to get you started. Simple think of how you would answer the question out loud if a friend asked you, and write down what you would say to them. Try to expound on the reasons behind your answers too. If you do that, you’ll have an article ready to accompany your photos in no time at all.
- Who or what is this project about?
- Where did you take the photos and for how long?
- Why did you choose to photograph this subject? (Think, what is your motivation?)
- What is special or unique about the subject material?
- How did you capture that uniqueness? (What social means or photographic techniques did you use?)
- Is this an ongoing project?
- What do you hope people see when they look at the photos?
Eva Mallis’ article “Queens, the World’s Borough” is a good example of a well-written project-based article.
- What technique did you use to create this series of images?
- Could you tell us step-by-step what you did during the process?
- How did you come up with the idea?
- What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
- How can others create similar projects using your techniques?
See Bob Patterson’s article, “Improve Your Street Photography with Simple Routines” to see what a good how-to article looks like.
Creative or Abstract Projects
- What feeling, emotion, or thought do your images transmit?
- Why is that important to you?
- How did you create something abstract from a physical scene?
- What’s your creative process?
- What inspires you to make this kind of image?
- What do you hope to show viewers with your images?
Nelson Gonzalez Leal’s article, “Eight Images” is a collection of images that transmit a feeling, rather than something tangible.
Photographer Profiles or Interviews
- Where do you live and photograph?
- How did you get into street photography?
- How would you describe your photographic style?
- What kind of images do you enjoy making the most and why?
- What does street photography mean to you?
- What is your most memorable moment while doing street photography?
- What is your favorite photo you ever shot and why?
- What has street photography taught you?
Here’s an interview with Ori Levi that shows how you could write about yourself as a photographer.
Write down the answers to the questions that best match your photo series. Try to arrange your thoughts in a logical order. Run a spell check on your written answers and fix any grammar or spelling errors it shows you. Finally, show your work to a friend. Ask them what they think about it and what they think you can improve. If they give you suggestions, don’t get offended. Finally, submit your article, along with your photos to our magazine for review! We may just select it for publication.
Oh, and one more bonus tip for you. If you are too embarrassed to share what you’ve written with a friend, or if you are afraid they won’t give you a truthful opinion, submit the article to us for a first review. We may be able to offer you helpful suggestions to turn your first draft into a complete photo project, complete with written content.
You’ve got this!
- Tips for Creating a Photo Project Article
- Tips for Getting Your Work Published in SPM (Podcast)
- How to Start a (Successful) Street Photography Project
- How to Get Your Street Photography Published (Individual Images)
- Improve Your Photography by Writing About It
- Single Photo Submission Form
- Photo Project (with Article) Submission Form