Monday, May 18, 2009
I recently received an amazing number of pitches from photographers in response to a mass email pitch request I sent out.
I keep postings about my job as Photo Editor to a minimum for a variety of reasons, one of which is that this kind of Advice-to-Photographers thing is covered already in extensive detail by photo blogs like A Photo Editor and Heather Morton Art Buyer. Nonetheless, this round of pitches seems worth mentioning.
The DO'S and DON'TS of pitching a photo essay/portfolio you would like to shoot
Include photos or sketches. Essential is some kind of visual that shows an example of what you would be shooting, or other visual possibilities. Next in order of importance is a well-defined concept, with suggested locations and/or companies mentioned. Specifics at this stage are critical. This shows you have done a little research, and given it some thought.
Know the magazine. If you think a photo essay on the barbers of Harlem or the nightlife of Singapore is right for me, you haven’t looked at Discover magazine.
Know more about the topic than I do. That is just irritating! For example, I got a pitch suggesting a series of photos that would help explain the different parts of String Theory. Like M- theory. The real problem with this pitch is that theoretical physics is not well explained by objects dependent on the physical world. This same photographer suggested making the photos as a series using a balding guy as a kind of stand in for Scientists.. This does sound like it could be campy and fun, but why would I show more balding guys than I have to? How would the scientists that read our magazine feel about this? I also hate the idea that at the very vibrating, meshing of reality, at the subatomic level, there is a paunchy salaryman looking back at me.
Overwhelm with a list of things you would like to photograph, like offshore oil platforms, aircraft carriers, research labs, the Pacific Gyre and NASA’s next scheduled launches.
Underwhelm by sending a mere link to an article on a topic you would like to shoot.
Photo here is of an edited pile of photographer's promo cards that are currently on my desk.