Why Writing Well is Important… Even for Photographers.
Such a great deal of our business is centered on writing. Emails, blog posts, bios, website content, marketing pieces, invoices, proposals, etc. If your writing skills aren’t up to par, you could turn off potential clients with poor grammar, spelling or even lazy writing.
Take a look for yourself and see how many blog posts you’ve written lately that are half-ass’d attempts at scrawling something out as quickly and painlessly as possible. (I’m looking at you Wedding Photographers).
I must have read at least two hundred wedding blog posts that follow this general pattern:
“I just shot a wedding this past Saturday that was to DIE for. Jane was SO beautiful in her dress and Jack looked so handsome. They’re such an amazing couple, and I was so honored to be there and take part in such a big moment of their lives.
Here’s the photos. Hope you like them.”
And have you all even looked at your “About” pages? Most of them look like they were taken from the same template.
Your writing style doesn’t have to win awards for style, but if you spend some time with it, and translate the creative juices you use for photography into your writing, you can come away with something far more original, and vastly improved.
For example, look what San Luis Obispo Wedding Photographer, Ken Kienow did with his About page. What’s unique about it, is that it’s simple, but written well, and more important, it’s from his heart.
Writing is a skill, and I promise it can be improved.
Ernest Hemingway once said:
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
It won’t be an overnight phenomenon, but put a little extra effort into your writing from this day forth. Create a backstory from your life experience for your next blog post so that people can not only experience your fantastic photos, but also create their own unique picture of what it was like to be there. One of my own personal favorite blog posts was from my best friend’s wedding in which I was a groomsman and I weaved one of my travel adventures into a special moment that we all shared. Can you bring something from your own history to your blog posts?
Work on it. Push yourself. And in the meantime learn some writing skills. There are great books out there to read and improve. Here are a few:
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White.
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- On Writing by Stephen King
I read Elements of Style 18 years ago and I believe it should sit next to everyone’s computer right alongside a Thesaurus. It’s a very quick read and it will point out many of the common misuses of English that people tend not to catch such as: “there, they’re and their,” “lose, as opposed to loose,” and the dreaded “its/it’s” problem.
The book will also cover other grammatical and sentence structure errors that make the difference between being taken as an intellectual, or …the opposite of that.
The other books can take your skill of writing to levels that you would never have imagined.
In closing, remember:
- When so much correspondence is focused on email and the internet, the way you write creates an indelible impression, on others, about you.
- Stretch your imagination. You don’t have to hit “Publish” or “Send” when you’re done writing. You can save drafts and come back to it later.
- If you take on the challenge of boning up on your writing chops you will have a tremendous advantage over those that resist and are left behind with their poor writing skills.
Grammar and writing is one of those funny things where it only stands out to people if it’s bad. And it’s a terrible thing to say, that if you develop your skills as a writer, you’ll turn off fewer people.
But that’s the truth. So learn to write well.
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