Tips on writing great articles
People love reading interesting content about the stuff they have a passion for. The Outdoorphoto community is totally infatuated with everything photography and it is for this reason that we would like to provide them - and you - with awesome articles and stories they would love to read and share. We thought that giving our community the opportunity to contribute would be a great way to reach out and, at the same time, keep our blog buzzing with interesting stories.
We are very glad that you have decided to take part in our blog by becoming a Guest Author. Not only would we like to keep our blog fresh and interesting, we would also love to publish as many of your submitted articles as possible. Therefore we have created this article with a few best practice writing tips and things we are looking for in articles (and a couple things we’d rather not have). Using these basic tips and keeping in mind what we are looking for could make you one of our top published authors in no time!
Style and tone
Photography is a great lifestyle, and we are certain you will agree. It is also a very creative form of expression and loads of fun. We at Outdoorphoto have always been all about fun and the passion for photography of all forms.
Keep the tone light and conversational
We want our blog to resonate with our passion for the art and resound our fun oriented approach to what we believe is a lifestyle, not just a mere hobby. So we are looking for content that is compelling and entertaining, yet informative. Keeping the tone light - perhaps with a tad of humour - and using a storytelling or conversational style, has always been a great recipe for these kind of articles. Readers love good stories and they love to be taken on a journey and this is what we intend to do.
Use of technical information
Make sure that your articles have good substance and enough information for readers to find benefit therein. With that said, it is however not necessarily best practice to overcrowd your article with technical jargon. This tends to make articles heavy and difficult to read and will likely discourage readers to continue. A neat balance between technical information and casual conversation is necessary. With time you will get a feel for it.
Develop your own style and voice
While keeping the above in mind, we eagerly encourage you to develop your own style and voice and add your own flavour to articles you write. It will create diversity in the content we publish and keep the blog interesting. A good way to achieve this is by imagining you are telling your story to a good friend. This technique will ensure that you keep to your unique, casual style and not overthink it.
We are certain that following these guidelines - along with a few others discussed below - while incorporating your own unique touch, will help you create articles that neither us nor our readers would be able to resist!
Outdoorphoto is all about photography as a lifestyle. We encourage you to be creative and write about anything you feel embodies this philosophy. If you would find it interesting to read your story on a blog about photography, so would others.
As a guideline, here are some topics and types of articles you could consider writing:
- Photographic Equipment Reviews
- A behind-the scenes story of a shoot you have done or taken part in
- Photography tips, tutorials and how-to’s
- Photographic travels and safaris you have been on
We encourage you to explore different genres of photography, however it is generally a good idea to write about topics you are comfortable with and have experience in. Any facts, theories and opinions must be accurate.
Spelling and grammar
A good article always has practically impeccable spelling and grammar. We say practically, because making mistakes is part of being human and we know that from time to time a typo can slip through. You should however work hard to avoid it. Any article should at least be copyedited and proofread.
We have found that following these steps when writing, will generally help you in creating a typo-free article that uses good grammar and makes good sense:
Starting out, simply write the article without too much concern about spelling and grammar. Do not rephrase and rewrite too much, do not overthink the content and do not overuse the thesaurus. Just get your ideas down on the page in a structured and organized manner. Tell your story first.
After putting your ideas on the page, save and wait a few hours. If you could, a day would be even better. This time of separation will allow you to look at it with fresh eyes when you start the copyediting phase.
Copyedit your article. This phase is where you renovate your article. You may want to rewrite some paragraphs or phrases, using better wording. You may wish to combine certain sections or omit others. Your goal should be to make the article read well.
Now, proofread the article. Scrutinize every comma, apostrophe, capital letter and every possible spelling problem. Examine the grammar and double check it if you are unsure. This step is where you make sure that your article will pass a college-level essay exam. When you are done, proofread it again.
Give your article structure and meaning
It has been mentioned earlier that your article should have substance, but we want to articulate this fact. A good article has good substance and has a point to it. Many articles talk about a lot of things but has no point, no substance and no structure. They are merely a bunch of words on a page, with no real meaning. These articles are not popular.
A good idea to enhance structure and ensure that your article is concise, would be to first draft out the main points you want to cover. Jot them down as headings and subheadings. Then continue to elaborate on every point. Make a point, and explain it. Then make the next point and explain that. Keeping good structure makes an article easy and fun to read and understand.
Introductions and conclusions are as important as the content
Make sure your article has a good introduction and an appropriate conclusion. This will ensure that your article doesn’t end up being only a couple of good points hanging in thin air. A good introduction sets the tone for what is to follow and introduces the topic the article is about. A conclusion may not always be necessary, however is good practice and helps summarizing what you’ve discussed. It simply rounds the article off nicely.
A few issues that we are very sensitive about is improper language use and plagiarism. Do not steal content published elsewhere on the web and use it as your own. Google will pick up on this and penalize this blog for it. Plagiarism will therefore not be tolerated. However, besides that, it is just simply dishonest. We will put every single submitted article to the test in our anti-plagiarism software and if it detects content copied from elsewhere, your author account will be closed. Discretion will of course be used, as the possibility of naturally creating similar content does exist.
Avoid cursing and vulgarity and avoid the use of excessive slang.
We need content with good substance, however extremely lengthy stories discourage people to read. We all live in a fast paced world and don’t always have time for long elaborate reads. We would like to publish articles with a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 1500.
There is no such thing as a good blog article without an image to go along. Our blog is all about photography and every article must therefore have some eye candy. We encourage you to include any number of beautiful images, illustrating your points. However, do not simply use random images, but rather photos that are coherent with your article content and topic.
Images should be specially prepared for the blog and should not be larger than 1024 pixels on the longest edge and the file size should be smaller than 200Kb (or pretty close if you cannot get it below that). File types should be JPEG or PNG files (JPEG works best for photographs).
Image Copyright should be observed. Please do not unlawfully make use of images that do not belong to you. If you do make use of images with written permission from the artist, you should appropriately credit them. We have a means of checking image ownership and if we find images being unlawfully used, your author account will be suspended.
Make sure you have model and property releases
If you use images clearly showing the likeness of a person, you should make sure that you have the appropriate model release from the person in question, giving you permission to use their image in public. This model release should also clearly indemnify any agents and/or assigns (basically us) which will allow us to lawfully make use of the images as publisher thereof. Images without the proper model release documentation will not be published. The same accounts for property releases for images of famous buildings and structures.
Be careful of using potentially disturbing images
Keep in mind that our blog reaches a wide audience. The use of explicit or sensitive images should be avoided. If you are unsure whether an image is too explicit, it probably is. You may still submit an image if you’d like to use, however it will be published at the discretion of the editor. If we deem them to be inappropriate, they will be removed from the article.
Sticking to these best practice guidelines - and few rules - will help you grow and enhance your skill as an Outdoorphoto Blog Guest Author, and will ensure more of your articles being published as you become more adept.
Soon you will have an Outdoorphoto Blog Portfolio you can be proud of.
We wish you good luck and happy writing!