TOP invites occasional submissions from regular readers and longtime commenters.
Please note that we don't accept submissions from PR agencies or agents, and we ask that you not use this opportunity for purposes of promotion.
If the submission is a repost from your own website, simply send me the link along with information about your regular traffic. Stats for that day are best but general stats are good enough.
Rights and permissions:
All posts must be your own work and you must hold the rights to it. Short quotes from elsewhere are acceptable if they conform to Fair Use.
All pictures must be your own, or else you must have done due diligence to a) identify the rights holder and b) determine if your use of it is adequately cleared. This generally means looking for a creative commons license or looking for proscriptions such as "All Rights Reserved" or "May Not Be Used Without Permission" near where you found the image. Often I will simply contact the photographer and ask if it's all right if we publish their photo. This often works. Note that images can be used without permission and in spite of warnings if your use conforms to Fair Use under copyright law.
Generally, I'm least likely to want to run what I call "photo philosophizing," i.e., your global theories or opinions about what photography is and why and how it works. I can write opinion pieces, so I don't need you for that. I'm more likely to want informational posts that tell our readers something solid about people, events, places or institutions, techniques, or equipment. And I'm most interested in posts that relate to your specific situation, location, access, or expertise.
For instance, we have a reader who is a commerical fisherman in the Bering Sea; a good short post about photographing aboard a commerical fishing boat would be highly likely to be published.
Of course, good pictures would be key.
Anecdotes are also good. A story I heard recently was of a bride who lost her engagement ring during the wedding photography sessions on a beach. A metal detector was secured, and the wedding photographer quickly went through her captures and was able to pinpoint the time and locations of the last photo where the bride had the ring on her finger and the first photo where it was missing. Using this information, they zeroed in on a search area and the ring was quickly found in the sand. A short post telling that story is something I would publish in a heartbeat.
So, pure opinion is least desirable; specifics relating to your particular work, field, special access, location in the world, or unique experiences are best.
Length: The ideal TOP post is 750 words. You can adjust up or down by 250 words.
Illustrations: The ideal TOP post has three illustrations. You can adjust that up or down by two. Indicate in your text where the illustrations should or could be placed, and provide captions at the end of the post if needed.
- sRGB color space
- 800 pixels wide
- tagged with your surname first, followed by any identifier, no spaces
Submission: Send it to me (mcjohnston at mac.com) as an email, with the JPEGs in the body of the email at the end (not embedded in the text).
Special features: Include a small picture of yourself 120 pixels wide or larger, a bio line of two or three sentences telling who you are, and any link you'd like us to make to your own website or your own pictures on a sharing site, whatever you'd like.
Frequency: If we've already published a guest post of yours, you're welcome to submit again, but please wait 6 months from your last publication.
We generally can't afford to pay (the reason I'm doing this at all is just that I get so many submissions and so many people asking if they can write a guest post), but we will pay up to $150 if you need it. I ask that you just be the judge of this, and please ask to be paid if you really need it and not if you don't. A good test: if $150 sounds like a lot of money to you, then please ask!
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I'm happy to answer any additional questions.
Editor and Publisher
The Online Photographer