Lately, I’ve been using my own photographs for my LinkedIn updates instead of the usual stock photos.
Photography is one of my hobbies and The Cowboy (Mickey, my husband, who is a phenomenal professional photographer), has coached me on how to take better photographs.
I also have invested in some photography books and a few training programs. We even discovered a local photography club, which has inspired me to widen my horizons.
I’m still learning so much about a DSLR camera. Yes, it’s complex. It’s fascinating, though. As I study professional photographers, I am amazed by their work. Landscape, wildlife, street, still life—all of it intrigues me.
Just recently, I realized there is a connection between photography and writing. Let me explain.
Photography Is a Journey of Discovery
Going on a photo expedition is always an adventure. You never know what you’ll see. One day Mickey and I visited a local lake. We were hoping to catch some bird shots, especially heron.
We got up early when it was dark because we wanted to arrive at the lake at dawn. We had about an hour’s drive ahead of us. We happily arrived at the lake just as the sun was starting to peek over the horizon.
However, what we didn’t expect to see was a fishing club on the lake.
Initially, Mickey was disappointed because he knew that boats in the water could potentially repel any heron activity. But we decided to make the best of it.
Mist was rising from the lake. Mickey headed in one direction to search for heron, and I explored another area. I decided to focus on the fishing boats. I truly loved seeing a bunch of guys on the lake enjoying a quiet morning of fishing.
I ended up taking what became one of my favorite photographs. I loved the composition and the softness of the early morning light. I could see the fishermen in their boats, but they were surrounded by a serene environment. It’s a photo that brings calm and clarity as I view it.
Writing is also a journey of discovery. Often, authors of lead-generation books don’t realize how much information they have between their ears until they start writing about it. You also are taking your reader on a journey. What is the destination you want them to reach? What are the pitfalls along the road you want to help them avoid?
Share your own journey toward finding the solution. As your reader embarks upon their own adventure, they’ll be grateful to discover that someone else made the trip successfully—even though your progress may have included a few wrong turns and dead ends.
In fact, it’s your victory over those obstacles that creates an inspiring story. A well-known fact among email marketers is that a subject line with “My biggest mistake with ______” or “My big, fat, failure with ________” often gets more opens than any other type of subject line.
People like to know about your challenges—but also how you solved them.
What Photography and Writing Share
First, any creative person will say that their art is born from observation. Whether it is an actor studying people’s reactions in a crowd or a pastel artist who observes the way light touches a flower—observation is needed in order to capture what they are inspired to create.
In a similar way, when you write a lead-generation book, you also need to observe. Although you may know your subject matter like the back of your hand, you need to step back and observe it from your reader’s point of view. They may not have as much of an understanding as you, so you need to break it down for them.
Imagine that you’re more at the beginning of your journey than toward the end. What questions did you have? What areas of your expertise baffled you at first? Talk to those who would fall into your target audience. Ask them a few questions and listen to their responses. Observe what confuses them and what brings relief. These observations will be invaluable to you as you develop your book.
There is always the challenge of not writing above your audience’s level of understanding but also not writing below it. People who read books are generally smart. But they may not understand the complexities of your profession. If you can help them understand a few areas that often confuse most people, you’ll gain a new friend who will likely recommend your book to their friends, family, and co-workers.
The Key to a Great Photo And a Good Book
Photography forces you to focus. You can view an entire scene, but you always have to think about what you want the eye to focus on. Then you have to make sure that area is sharp and clear of any distracting elements.
There’s a photography term for it: “tack sharp.”
I’m still wrestling with this because it requires various approaches. Using a tripod can help anchor the camera to reduce any movement from your hands. Also, a camera timer can avoid the camera from moving when you press down on the shutter button. But the lens and camera also play a part as well as lighting and shutter speed, depending on the subject matter.
Writing a book also requires focus. It requires you to focus on your subject matter but also, write it in a focused manner. You want your message to take center stage.
With a photograph, you as the photographer must ask yourself what you want your viewer to see? Where do you want their eyes to notice first in your photograph?
Think of your writing as taking a great photograph. What do you want the reader to notice first? What benefits do you want your readers to gain? Bring those ideas into tack-sharp clarity. Your reader will appreciate it.
Like taking a great photograph, focusing your writing will allow you to create a more concise message that makes an impact. It will achieve your goal of providing valuable information and make your book memorable. You even may want to frame it!