How To Use Photography in Non-Fiction Writing

By: Steven A. Arts

      If you write quite a bit of non-fiction, then a way to increase your sales to magazines in that department is by taking up photography. If you already own a good 35mm camera, so much the better.

      A camera can easily enhance the salability of your non-fiction product. When you write a non-fiction query to an editor, make sure that you mention the fact that you take your own photographs. You will soon see a positive increase in your success. You may even get a few assignments because of your camera abilities.

When sending out a query, it's a good idea to include samples of any published articles with photographs that you may have. If not, start collecting those you did get published, and make photocopies of them to send off with your query letters.

      Non-fiction is a relatively easy field to break into, if you carefully craft your ideas, mold them to a specific magazine, and start out with the lower paying markets, especially if you're a novice writer.

      Non-fiction is a widely varying area as well. It covers a wide range of subjects from archaeology to zoology, and everything in-between.

      Say that you specialize in business markets. This can cover anything from regional publications to trade magazines. I've sold such articles over the years.

      To give an example, one of my ideas was for a couple of former home crafters who turned their businesses professional. Both made country-style crafts. I sold articles on them to publications like "Lady's Circle," "Women's Enterprise," and was given a photo assignment to one of them by "Rural Enterprise."

      The types of businesses you can write about are huge as well. For instance, I sold articles about local toy stores to "Playthings" magazine. Reviews of truck stops to "Overdrive," and another about wild mustangs being transported to "Trucker's USA." The mustang story I rewrote and sold to the Grand Island (Nebraska) "Independent" newspaper, and to "Rural Electric Nebraskan" magazine.

      All the above articles sold with my own photographs. On the crafting articles I took photos of women working at various machines, the owners by samples of their most colorful crafts, and customers being waited on. With the mustang article I took pictures of horses in the field, and photos of the trucks used to haul them in.

      There are other types of non-fiction writing besides business articles. My other photographable interests include such areas as hobbies, travel, and people doing unusual things.

      For instance, in the last category, I've done an article on nursing home residents doing Olympic-type games suitable for the more elderly.

      Another in that category was a group called the "Society for Creative Anachronism," people who dress up in medieval-style clothes. I sold an article about them to "Rural Electric Nebraskan." Photos were group shots with colorful tents, individuals in armor, and mock sword fights.

      The types of articles you can use a camera with are limited only by your imagination. So use your camera to make more freelance money.