Talking with one of the editors today we both got a laugh out of the fact that we sit around in an office in Manhattan trying to come up with brilliant ideas all the time when really we should be relying on the talented writers and photographer to come up with the ideas. If our magazine was called, Manhattan office workers, which it’s not, we’d be coming up will brilliant shit all day.

I run into this all the time, where the expectations of the photography are, that it will exactly match the idea that we came up with. I rarely tell the photograph how to shoot, unless it’s someone hired specifically to give them art direction. Sitting in and office in the middle of Manhattan in a meeting is not where your best creative work comes from.

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  1. Thanks for the blog — I’m really looking forward to reading more.

    Good ideas are really the true currency in this business, but its very frustrating as a freelance photographer to get pitches through to my clients. Photographers just seem to have absolutely no weight in this arena, good ideas or not. In one of my pitches earlier this year, the photo editor told me it was the very first time since they had been at that (major) magazine that the section editor had accepted and published a pitch that came straight from a photographer. Any tips?

    Best, -John

  2. There’s really not a great way for ideas to get from people in the field to the editor, who ultimately okay’s everything.

    The easiest way for a photographer to get a story approved is attach a writer who already contributes to the magazine. I actually know a few writers who would get more work but they readily admit having a hard time coming up with good ideas to pitch. Make sure it’s a writer the editors like. Doesn’t have to be a huge name just a somewhat regular contributor. I’ve had photographers pitch ideas with bad writers attached and that never goes well.

  3. My personal favorite was the PE that asked me to rent a boxing ring to stage a tag team wrestling photo. He didn’t bother to check with the subjects to see if they’d go along. The subjects were a man and a woman (not married) who did mergers and acquisitions for a major corporation. Needless to say I ignored the request and had a laugh with the subjects over his idea.

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