A few times over the years I’ve shared this quote…
Most photographers see themselves as artists. We also know a picture is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, so many artists, when they have to use those words without supportive images are lost. They’re not very good at written communications, and it seems to be an issue with young and old photographers alike. It’s one thing to have a typo here and there, but an entirely different issue to not be able to express yourself when writing a letter, email or even a description of your business for a listing ad or brochure.
None of us are perfect. As many times as I proofread a post, I still find corrections I missed later. But, I’m talking about bigger challenges with people not being able to understand what you wrote.
In a quest to find a resource for you I found a terrific site, Daily Writing Tips. I’m also a huge fan of Grammarly.com. You’re working to create the finest images of your life, but how sad if you can’t write copy for a brochure or a press release about your work.
For those of you who would argue with me and say you don’t have the time, then at least consider a few of the following tips:
- Proofread everything you write out loud.
- Have somebody else read what you wrote. Let your spouse or an associate read everything and ask her/him the same question every time, “What did I just say?” At least then you’ll know if you were able to successfully convey your message.
- Use spell check and Grammarly, but remember, spell check won’t pick up the wrong word, spelled correctly.
- If what you’re writing is critical, then hold it for a day and read it again when you’re fresh, 24 hours later. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I miss something and then catch it a day later.
- Take a break now and then – not a coffee break, but a paragraph break! Start a new paragraph when you start a new topic if you jump to a new place or time when somebody else is being quoted or maybe just to add a little drama.
- Hire someone with the expertise. Most of you are small businesses, and you don’t have the budget or the need for a full-time writer. So, if you hate to write then wander over to the local high school and talk to the English teacher. Teachers moonlight all the time and they also might have an “A” student who likes to write and would be willing to help you.
The bottom line is easy to understand. Being a photographer isn’t just about creativity, it’s about communication, and you’ve got to be able to communicate with the public. Often a client’s first impression of you will be something you’ve written leading up to your galleries or a story on your blog.
And from Richard Peck:
“Writing is communication, not self-expression. Nobody in this world wants to read your diary except your mother.”