Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What makes a good magazine cover shot?


As a casual freelance travel magazine writer and photographer, one of my ultimate goals is to have one of my photos on a magazine cover.  For me it is a thrilling huge achievement. I am happy to tell you that I’ve just had my second cover shot published on Go Camping Australia magazine February-March 2013 edition. Read on to see how this cover came about and a few tips that may be useful for creating your own cover shots. 



 Often when we are on a touring and camping trip I say to my husband “stop the car!” This is not because we have had an argument, or I need to find a bush to crouch behind. It is usually because I have either seen yet another wildflower I want to photograph or a “travel” image I need to capture right at that moment. My husband is used to my requests, but I need to be careful I don’t request it too often, or a four hour drive may take eight hours – it’s been known to happen as we ramble around the countryside taking an alternate route to see something different. If you don’t drive a different route you won’t see anything different will you? In fact renowned Australian photographer Ken Duncan reiterated at a photography seminar I attended, if you see an image while you are out travelling you should stop and take it. Thank you Ken!  I feel justified.


I’ve even dropped everything in the middle of getting dinner to run and capture a golden hour shot. I was actually in the middle of peeling vegetables in the kitchen of our rented beach cottage in Denham (Shark Bay Western Australia) when I saw this image and ran out to take it, leaving my husband to finish preparing dinner. Like I said, my husband is used to it by now.

It's waiting for its own cover - I have a vertical image too - remember to shoot both vertical and landscape.  They both have their uses when you are pitching to a magazine. 



I love the ‘drive-by’ shot. I think they are great for travel articles. On many occasions I have been left standing on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere to take a ‘drive by’ shot, trusting that my husband will come back for me and won’t just go disappearing down the road into the distance, never to return, or as in this case, over a crocodile infested river! Perhaps I asked him once too often to "stop the car!"

Be always careful however with a drive-by particularly if you are going to step out onto the road to take your photo.  Look for traffic before you do. I mostly only do drive-bys on quiet roads. No photo is worth being hit by a car. 



It was one of my ‘drive-by’ shots that appeared on the front cover of Go Camping Australia magazine. Two years ago we travelled the Great Central Road between Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. We had gone on ahead and were waiting at the side of the road for our son who was travelling with us with his family. When he came over the sand ridge I saw the image and I fired off several photos in quick succession. With the blue sky, the outback environment, and the 4WD kicking up the dust on the red road disappearing over the rolling desert sand hills, I knew it was a perfect cover shot.  


 Good covers are very important for magazines as they drive sales.  Have a look at the magazine racks and see what covers attract your attention. Why do they? What makes a perfect cover shot? I am no expert, as in eleven years of casual Freelance writing, I have only had two covers, but I have a few tips you might like to consider.
  • Always have your eyes open to see the shot and recognise its potential. 
  •  Always have a camera at the ready. I take my small Canon P&S with me everywhere.  You never know when ‘that shot’ will pop up in front of you. 
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  • Take several images to make sure you nail the shot. It is amazing what a slight change in position or lighting can do for the shot.  Search out images to take during the golden hours, although you can’t always be everywhere at the perfect time. You need to take the opportunity when it comes. 
  •  
  •  The image must have impact, and a ‘must see inside’ look. 
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  •  The image needs to be ‘portrait’ orientated.
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  •  Different genres require different sorts of images. Study the magazine you are pitching at, know their market and what sort of cover shots they use.  Ask them for contributor guidelines.
  •  The image needs space so that it can work with the magazine’s masthead. There needs to be room to place the magazine’s name and cover lines which tell readers what articles they will find inside the magazine.  There needs to be room around the image to include all this without impacting on the image.  When you take the photo try to leave room around your focal point. The magazine can always crop. 
  •  It is ultimately up to the editors and publishing staff, as sometimes an image  that initially screams  ‘cover’ doesn’t actually work once they start laying out the mast head and teaser lines. 
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  •  Know what images you have on your hard drive, so when an Editor sends out a blanket email to her writers asking urgently for a cover image, you know what you have to offer. This is how my shot landed on the cover of the latest Go Camping Australia. I knew I had the shot, and where to find it quickly. 

 What was my first cover shot? This one of the Thrombolites at Lake Clifton just south of Mandurah in Western Australia, published in Australian Coast and Country magazine, Edition 1, 2008. We just happened to be there during the "golden hour".

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·       Landscape orientated images can work too for opening spreads for your articles. The image below was actually taken through the windscreen of our vehicle on the dusty Gibb River Road. I saw the image – “Queen Victoria’s Head” rock with the two laden 4WDs coming towards us. I was ready with my camera but I only had time to take one quick shot, which appeared as the opening spread for my article about the Kimberleys for “On the Road” magazine - November 2011 edition.  See how in this shot they have been able to overlay the writing over the sky.

 
Take it from me – seeing YOUR photo on the front of a magazine is a fantastic feeling! 


Finally, 
          Be ready with your camera
          Have a patient driving companion and 
          If you are going to jump out of the car and stand on the side of the road to do a ‘drive by’ shot, protect your camera from the dust. I lost a valuable camera half way through a trip through dust getting into the lens. Luckily I had another camera with me.



  I hope this has been useful reading. Happy travelling and have fun with your photography. You never know where it will lead you

If you would like to see more of my published work, including layouts of opening spreads on my articles, please go to my tab "published work" along the top of my page. Thanks. 

You can also read more about the Great Central Road by clicking on my post here - Free camping on the Great Central Road
 
The image on the left is from my article about one of it's free campsites, Yarla Kutjarra, which was featured in On The Road's Free Campsites 2012 guide.







 Today I am linking up to Travel Photo Thursday. Please click on the link to see images from around the world. You might find your next holiday destination!  Travel Photo Thursday  

 

31 comments:

  1. Congrats Jill that is an awesome achievement!!!! Woot Hoot!!!!
    Fantastic photo and so happy for you:)

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  2. I'm delighted for you Jill, congratulations

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  3. Congrats on another cover!! Great job!

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  4. Congratulations, that's fantastic,and that road looks in pretty good condition. Is it always that good?

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  5. Another well deserved reward Jill!

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  6. Great photos Jill, very happy for you on the cover photo.

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  7. Congratulations Jill.That's exciting for you. I'm sure there are a lot more of your photos worthy of a cover!

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  8. Great road shots. I'd like to know more about protecting your camera from dust, since I live in a desert area of the southwest U.S. Do you keep them in ziplock bags?

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    1. yes zip lock bags work as a cheap solution. If you look up dust protection or water protection for cameras on the net you can get lots of ideas from different photographers.
      I'm actually thinking of giving my dive housing a try next time!

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  9. Great tips and that is a wonderful magazine cover shot. I might be worried if my husband drove on by so I could take a shot though!

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  10. Great shots and I can see why you are on the magazine cover. I suspect we will see many more covers from you!

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  11. Thanks for those tips - one day for me... I hope!

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  12. Congratulations, Jill! A great photo and perfectly fitting for a cover.

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  13. WOW Great Pic and congrats on cover image...

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  14. It must be so exciting to see your work on a magazine cover. I understand what you mean about dropping everything when you see the opportunity for a good shot. I don't think my kids' teachers thought "Mommy was taking pictures of the sunrise" as an acceptable excuse for tardiness this week.

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  15. Great tips even if I'm not looking for that cover! I never really thought to take the photo in multiple directions. I like the idea of drive by shots too. Your photos are beautiful!

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  16. Congrats! Your photos are just amazing! They really have the WOW-factor. And very interesting to read all your tips. Always have my camera in my pocket, when out walking. Have a great weekend.

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  17. Fabulous shot, Jill. It has such an awesome presence about it, as well as movement and energy. Love it. Well done! Can't wait for the sunset shot in Denham to be given the recognition it deserves - that is so beautiful. Thanks for your tips about cover photos - definitely things to bear in mind and very useful.

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  18. How exciting and what a terrific shot!

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  19. Congrats on the cover and thanks for the tips.
    I can definitely relate to the "Stop the car" scream.

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  20. Congratulations! That's an awesome shot and I bet it sells many magazines!! And thanx for the tips - I've never really thought about the details of shooting covers before! And while my work isn't up to your incredible standard, I look forward to one day having a cover of my own!

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  21. Jill, congraulations on your magazine cover! Ir's quite stunning. And thanks for all the precious tips.

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  22. How exciting Jill .... I've had a few of my pics featured on the tv weather but to have your very own pic on a magazine must be very special and inspire you to keep searching for that perfect shot. Well done!

    "Adelaide and Beyond"

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  23. Congratulations Jill! What a wonderful accomplishment!

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  24. I'm so happy for you Jill. It's a great honor. And I can see why they chose this one--perfect for a magazine layout for starters--but the simplicity of the shot just beckons to...Go Camping.

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  25. thank you all for your wonderful support, congratulations, comments and support. I appreciate you all taking the time to stop by and to comment. Happy photography and let me know if you get a cover shot - if you stick with it it is only a matter of time and persistence!

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  26. Congratulations on your achievements. Those were beautiful shots and no wonder they made it on the covers. I can't even imagine that wonderful feeling to see your work in print and on the cover. Thanks for all these great tips. Looking forward to seeing more of your great photos on TP Thursday.

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