Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Teaching Writers How To Be Photographers

I had been holding one class spot open at the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference III Jan. 22-23 at Hollins because I just knew something interesting would come up that I hadn't thought of--and it just did.

Huong Nguyen Fralin (right) and I are going to teach a class on photography for freelance writers at 1:30 on Saturday. I simply can't tell you how many writers over the years have asked if I would take an hour and teach them to use a camera for illustrating their stories. This is the perfect opportunity for that and you don't just get me, but you get a much better photographer than I in Huong, who is so good that she's even had a photo on cans of soda (as well as magazines and newspapers).

Huong is a trained photographer, while I learned on the go and out of necessity, so you'll get both perspectives in this basic course. My feeling is that a freelance writer increases his value exponentially with each skill he adds to writing--and photography can be expensive for a magazine using professional shooters for every story. If the writer is competent, he can increase his income, save the magazine a little money and time and--most important--make the editor happy. I like it when I am a happy editor. People who make me happy tend to get the most assignments.

In addition to the added photo class, we seem to be getting a lot of buzz about the lunchtime roundtable discussion on self-publishing. At each of these conferences, people have asked if we could have something on publishing and I've always replied, a bit bluntly I fear, "NO! This is a WRITERS conference, not a damn publishers conference." So now we change ever so slightly and if you have a book you want published, here's how you do it.

More information on the conference and registration information are here.

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