Try, try, and try again

Waddell Creek flows through a green forest along the Berry Creek Falls trail, Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Waddell Creek flows through a green forest along the Berry Creek Falls trail, Big Basin Redwoods State Park

One of the keys for any budding photographer is to shoot often, and stay well organized. You never know when photos you have taken in the past might some day become marketable. Several years ago, I shot a series of photographs on spec for a national magazine, including the photo you see here. Shooting on spec means that the magazine is requesting a photo with particular specifications, but has not given you an assignment and guaranteed publication. This is something I wouldn’t recommend unless it is almost no cost to you (including time spent!). My brother graciously volunteered to come along an be my model for the day.

Unfortunately, the magazine didn’t use my photographs for the intended article (in fact, I don’t know if they ended up running that article at all). This happens all too often with editorial publishing, which is why shooting on spec is almost never a good idea, especially if photography is your primary source of income. However, a couple of years later, that same national magazine did print one photo from this outing for a different article, and just recently another magazine is looking at these photos for publication as well.

The only way this was possible was for my photos to be well organized so they were easy to submit for other uses over the years. This means they were well captioned, titled, and tagged with keywords. Even though the original intent for the photos fell through, they were still very usable and have become part of my photo archive. Who knows when one of these photos will be used again in the future?