I’m out shooting for PHOENIX magazine this month, a couple of portraits which are fun – I love being given the freedom to create and meet new people while on assignment.

While I can’t show you the images until they come out in the Best of the Valley issue, I figured I’d give some tips on shooting editorial that I’ve learned over the years while showcasing a few shots I’ve taken for PHOENIX.


  • Ask the editor if you they need a vertical or horizontal shot – they might have an idea of layout. If not, shoot both.
  • Consider investing in a battery grip. I used to be a landscape orientation photographer but I now primarily shoot vertical since shooting editorial.
  • Take a step back. Just when you think you have it framed perfectly, take a step back for the bleed.
  • Line up your lines. Otherwise known as, make sure your lines are straight – walls, buildings, horizons. Stand in the middle and take the perfect composed shot.


  • Don’t be afraid to shoot at noon. One of the reasons I love editorial is another artistic approach. I can be bolder with my shots depending on the subject.
  • Don’t fear shadows. Recognize good light when you see it, but you can be intentional with the use of sunlight – see Anthropologie fashion catalogs.
  • Help subjects with wardrobe. I still advise with wardrobe before I show up to the shoot. I touch base with my clients to make sure they feel prepared.


  • Turn in assignments early. I’m not sure why I hear my turnaround is so fast, but it should be since photography is my full-time job. Be quick to complete your assignments to remain professional.
  • Send a thank you card or gift. It doesn’t have to be after every assignment but at least at the end of the year around the holidays send a card and small gift.


Selling editorial images

Just because you are paid by a magazine to shoot doesn’t mean the person you are shooting gets the images for free. In fact, copyrights can typically stay with the photographer unless otherwise specified.

First check with the publication about when you can release the images – some are 90 days after magazine publication, some are 60.

I sell at a discount – so the magazine has already paid me an amount for my time, and I show the client all the images and I sell them by image or by package or the entire session at a discount from my typical $800 portrait rate. A single image is $150 which is a deal for them if they just want that good shot for marketing and I just make a little extra for a job I already shot. I discount as the images as the requested number of images goes up.

For a non-profit, I provide the images for free. I do work with non-profits and charge full-price on my own, but when it comes to magazine assignments and if I’m shooting an organization who benefits the community and works on donations, I’m happy to give them the images to help benefit their cause because I’ve already been compensated. This is of course on a case by case basis and depends on what the cause is.


If you shoot editorial, I’d love to know what tips you’ve picked up!