Good equipment, redux

I know I’m hammering on and on about needing to have decent equipment to work with. But I can officially prove the worth of at least some of it. Consider the digital camera. It’s amazing how utterly cheap cameras are getting. Consider this model: the Canon PowerShot A570IS. It can take photos of high enough quality for magazines, especially if you know how to tweak images in Photoshop, or you’re working with an editor who can. It’s compact, pretty easy to use and $172. That’s it. With a lot of markets you can make that back on a story and two photos.

Oh, yeah, that’s why I’m talking about buying a camera. Magazines definitely buy photos. But I bet you already knew that. Did you know that most editors say that they’ll pick a story where the writer can supply the photos over a story where the writer has more experience but no visuals? Yeah, good photos improve your chances of an editor following up on your query.

And we aren’t talking about having to drive all over town, looking for that perfect photo. If you’re interviewing a source, take a couple of shots of them — especially in their normal surroundings if they relate to the story. Interviewing Mrs. MacPherson next door about her garden? Take a picture of her and all her flowers!

Photographs can also bolster your chances of getting your fiction picked up, if you can create a relevant visual. Think of it this way: no editor wants just page after page of solid text in a magazine — the readers would get bored and wander off. But pictures can help an editor keep eyes on a page.

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