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Thread: Writing for Australian Photography Magazine

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    Writing for Australian Photography Magazine

    As I related in this thread, I was fortunate to have one of my seascape images selected for the September, 2011 cover of Australian Photography magazine.

    What I didn't mention is that there was something else in the making with regard to the magazine.

    One day in August I received a call from editor Robert Keeley regarding my cover image submissions. Later in the afternoon he called again, and I presumed it was about the status of my cover image, but he needed to discuss something else altogether.

    On his desk were prints of two of my images I had weeks earlier submitted to the magazine for its regular photography competition. He was impressed with the images, but one of them really grabbed his attention. He told me that he saw a story in my image, and asked me if I'd consider writing a feature article for the magazine on the type of photography I had been practising.

    That was an unexpected but pleasant surprise!

    The catch was that my image could not be entered into the competition if it were to form part of a feature article. I was told to give it some thought and let him know which path I wanted to take.

    Competitions are a dime a dozen, but the invitation to write an article isn't something that comes along very often, if at all. Freelance writing for photography magazines is something I had never even considered.

    A few days later I called Robert and gave him my decision. At this stage there was no rush to complete the article. However, a week or two later, I received another call. Through circumstance, he needed my article sooner than expected, so I needed to quickly commence writing. I sent him ten images relating to my article's subject, and he expressed interest in eight of them and asked me to write about them.

    He ran me through the motions and requirements and provided me with the editorial guidelines. He was keen for me to make sure I got it right so that he could easily run the story. The man is insanely busy and the process of putting the magazine together is even more frantic and insane. Contributors need to get it right to make the process easier for the editor, or else being left on the editing room floor is a very likely outcome.

    This week, I commenced working on my article, and submitted my first draft.

    Today I received a call from the editor, and to my shock I was told that the article was 90% of the way there in terms of suitability. There are a few minor changes to make, and some other formalities to handle, but after the time I spent on my article this week, and my associated worry over the draft article's suitability to his and the magazine's requirements, I was relieved that I had reached this point without needing to do any major re-work.

    My article is to appear in the November issue of the magazine.

    What I can say about this journey, apart from it being quite a privilege and new experience, is that writing for a magazine is very difficult, as space is extremely limited. My writing style is fairly liberal, but unfortunately the world of print-based feature article writing doesn't permit the sort of latitude I'd like; it's far removed from blogs and Internet forums.

    Condensing my article's content and trimming details upon which I'd prefer to have elaborated was not an easy task, and I expected that my content would be ruthlessly edited. Of course, it's still subject to editing before it finds its way onto paper!

    I'll post an update once the magazine has been published.

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    Congratulations! What an achievement. Looking forward to reading your article. Is this something you ever saw yourself doing? Or being invited to do?
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    Quote Originally Posted by enVision View Post
    Congratulations! What an achievement.
    Thanks! It sure took me by surprise.

    Quote Originally Posted by enVision View Post
    Looking forward to reading your article. Is this something you ever saw yourself doing? Or being invited to do?
    I enjoy writing and sharing practical information, but I had never considered attempting to take it to a level such as this.

    I gather the normal mode of operation is that aspiring writers submit ideas or content to the magazine for consideration. I cannot imagine that getting published is easy, as the guidelines and requirements are extremely specific and strongly-worded, and there would be a lot of interest from writers.

    I certainly wasn't expecting the editor to call me and invite me to write a feature article. On a number of occasions we had been discussing the matter of my pending cover image, so when I saw the call I figured it was about that.

    After submitting my first draft on Wednesday night I was really concerned that my content was too lengthy or that the flow wouldn't quite work. However, I needed to send the article in its present form to Robert so that he had a baseline. I expected it to be picked apart mercilessly, but his feedback today was really quite positive, and the changes I need to make are quite minor.

    Having been a reader of the magazine since 2005, I'm familiar with the format and style -- but only from a reader's perspective. When you're the writer it's a different ball game.

    I'd certainly be interested in writing further article for the magazine, and I've been meaning to pitch my ideas to the editor. Life has been busy and tiring lately, so all in good time. My job at the moment is to get this article from 90% to 100%.

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    Very nice John It would have been really great to have it in the October issue too
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    Very nice John It would have been really great to have it in the October issue too
    Heh; baby steps. :-)

    October's in production at the moment, so that ship has sailed.

    To appear as the writer in any isn't something I envisaged.

    Do you have any articles in the works?

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    Congratulations and well done John. I look forward to having a chat about it, over a beer, next time I see you.
    Cheers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darey View Post
    Congratulations and well done John. I look forward to having a chat about it, over a beer, next time I see you.
    Thanks Greg. I'll opt for a shiraz instead, I think. :-)

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    you are indeed on a roll. let us know which issue it is coming out in.

    well done!
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    I look forward to reading the article, I've been following your shots for years. Always great to see people in the community getting stuff out there! Well done
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    Holy wow! That's fantastic news!


    I very much welcome and appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism!

    If you would like to edit any image I post here, please feel free to do so! I would love to see what you can come up with and learn your method.

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    How EXCITING... Congratulations !!!
    Please let us know when it is published.
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazymorton View Post
    you are indeed on a roll.
    It sure feels like it lately!

    Quote Originally Posted by crazymorton View Post
    let us know which issue it is coming out in.
    I understand it will appear in the November issue of the magazine.

    Quote Originally Posted by chamellieon View Post
    I look forward to reading the article, I've been following your shots for years. Always great to see people in the community getting stuff out there! Well done
    Thanks Mel. You've got some fantastic images in your gallery, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by BecdS View Post
    Holy wow! That's fantastic news!
    It all came as a bit of a surprise, and the pace was rapid.

    Originally the timeline for my article was open-ended, and could be published any time in the future, but something fell through and the editor needed my story much earlier than anticipated. I had to giddyup, and truth be told, it was somewhat stressful, and resulted in some late nights.

    Writing magazine content is not as easy and free-form as blogs and forum posts, and I had to apply some clever editing to reduce the word count.

    My challenge is keeping my content UNDER a given word-count, rather than getting anywhere near it.

    I'll be very interested to see how much sub-editing gets applied to my article in its finished form.

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    How lucky am I.
    My son just bought me a years subscription to Australian Photography.
    How proud am I going to be to show my son your images and stories in there. Then say thanks for the subscription.
    Good on you mate, well deserved. All the best for future editorials. And can't wait to see the article.

    Geoff.

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    Last edited by geoffsta; 13-09-2011 at 9:55pm.
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    What a wonderful surprise and congratulations on getting it completed so promptly and being almost spot on first go. My original BA is Freelance Writing (journalism stream) and it is not an easy road. I too always have too many words and have to compress. I will watch out for the article when it comes out in November.
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    My copy of the November issue of Australian Photography magazine arrived today.

    Now that it's out, I can reveal what my article is about: I wrote a feature on creative light painting.

    Robert Keely not only gave me a six-page spread, but also featured the article's main image in the table-of-contents page.

    I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but when I do, it will be interesting to see how much editing was done.

    I hope those who read my article learn something about light painting, gain some inspiration to give it a go, and walk away with some pleasing images.
    Last edited by Xenedis; 28-10-2011 at 3:26pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by geoffsta View Post
    How lucky am I.
    My son just bought me a years subscription to Australian Photography.
    How proud am I going to be to show my son your images and stories in there. Then say thanks for the subscription.
    Good on you mate, well deserved. All the best for future editorials. And can't wait to see the article.
    Wow, Geoff -- that's a huge compliment!

    I really don't know what to say (other than thanks)!

    I hope the article inspires you to explore something new and go out to create some interesting and unusual images.

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