Getting Local Photo Stories in National Mainstream Publications with Anne Readel
Just 2 years after picking up a camera, this photographer is getting her local conservation photo stories into national publications like New York Times, Audubon, Better Homes & Gardens, Sierra and more. Here's how.
Anne is a student in Conservation Photography 101 who took my mantra of finding local stories seriously.
So seriously, in fact, that she didn't even leave her apartment complex to get her first photo story ever published by a national magazine.
So is she a super-experienced photographer?
Anne picked up a camera for the first time in 2019.
After a couple years of learning the ropes, she knew she wanted to do more with her new-found passion than just snap shots to post on Instagram.
(where they wither away as the algorithm is like, ‘nah. no views for you').
She wanted to tell photo stories that
🌟 Make people think.
🌟 Get inspired.
🌟 Have conversations.
So, she made a move I so very deeply admire.
She looked for a fast-track option to gain the know-how and she invested in herself.
“You can learn a lot by just trial and error, but you can learn a lot quicker by working with people that know what to do… I knew I needed a course to help me understand really the nuts and bolts of what it takes to get something done. Then I found Conservation Photography 101.”
In April, it was Better Homes & Gardens and Sierra Club.
Know what her stories so far all have in common?
They're 100% local conservation stories.
They're things happening in Anne's own state, town… heck – she didn't even have to leave her apartment complex for her Audubon story!
✅ The mindset she used to pitch dream publications, even without a photography track record
✅ How she saw an opportunity to grow momentum for a local conservation movement and ran with it
✅ Why “no” isn't a bad thing for a pitch
✅ What she learned from “failures” during the pitching process
✅ Figuring out the goal for your story early, and why it matters
✅ The specific tools from Conservation Photography 101 that Anne used to help shape her stories
✅ And so much more!
This episode is sponsored by:
Conservation Visual Storytellers Academy trains photographers and filmmakers who are passionate about conservation and science.
We are the only online education platform designed specifically for conservation photographers and filmmakers. Our ever-growing selection of robust online courses, in-person workshops, mentorship programs, and membership community are designed specifically to address the unique skills and resources you need as you focus on documenting environment, science communication, and conservation issues. We help you follow your passion to be an effective, successful, and joyful conservation visual storyteller.
Photographers & Filmmakers…
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Take the quick quiz to discover your creative super-strengths as a conservation-focused visual storyteller. Get a custom action plan based on your results so that you know exactly what to do next to gain clarity, momentum and impact with your imagery. This is coming straight from a full-time pro conservation photographer/editor with 10 years experience & an obsession with helping you reach your world-changing goals.
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Episode 098: Getting Local Photo Stories in National Mainstream Publications with Anne Readel
(Digitally transcribed, please forgive any typos)
Anne Readel. Thank you so much for coming onto the podcast. You are I I've been looking forward to this interview. You are someone who has been inspiring, not only me, but a whole lot of fellow students and aspiring conservation photographers with what you've been doing lately.
[00:00:16] Jaymi: So thank you for joining us to talk about your journey and conservation photography.
[00:00:21] Anne: Oh, I'm thrilled to be here, Jaymi so thank you for inviting me.
[00:00:26] Jaymi: Well, so for anyone who doesn't know, you, you are kind of this rising star at the moment, but for anyone who doesn't know you, who is Anne in the world?.
[00:00:35] Anne: Yeah, I wear a couple of different hats, first I consider myself a conservationist. So under that umbrella, I'm a conservation photographer and writer. I hold a PhD in conservation biology. I used to work on fish and turtles and frogs in the United States, Canada and Uganda. And. You know, I'm also very involved with local [00:01:00] conservation and sustainability efforts.
[00:01:02] Anne: I think we need to practice what we preach at home. So very, yeah, very involved locally to try to get different measures adopted. And then I guess the second hat I wear is that of a lawyer. So after I got my PhD in conservation biology, I went to law school and. Now I focus on intellectual property law and corporate law, and I work full time as a lawyer for a biotechnology.
[00:01:29] Jaymi: Oh, my gosh. you have your hands in these fields that make you, at least from the outside, looking in a powerhouse for conservation work and storytelling and understanding the ins and outs of, of this field, Like, do you feel like that, does that something that you kind of embrace or are you always learning?
[00:01:49] Anne: all absolutely. Always learning. I feel like there have been so many different. Things I've been involved with that you wouldn't necessarily tie it to conservation, but absolutely [00:02:00] is tied in some way, either it teaches you a new skill set or teaches you to look at the world a little differently.
[00:02:05] Anne: I think that don't underestimate the experiences outside of conservation. If you are interested in conservation photography. I mean, even in. A lot of people's jobs, you're making pitches to your boss to hire somebody new or start a new initiative. And those are all skills that you can translate to.
[00:02:23] Jaymi: Oh, a thousand percent, a thousand percent. I'm always listening to like business podcasts and marketing and branding and all of these things and, and thinking, okay, so how do we pull that into conservation? How do we pull that aspect? Like how do we bring that strategy into the work that we do as storytellers?
[00:02:42] Jaymi: Because it's true. Like everything that's that we think of is outside that scope. Absolutely.
[00:02:48] Anne: Yeah. You know, one of the experiences I had that has really influenced my conservation storytelling is I used to be a litigator. So I litigated patents in front [00:03:00] of judges and juries. And what you have to do is.
[00:03:05] Anne: Learn a field of science well enough that you can talk to scientists that might have PhDs, but then also you can tell a jury or a judge who might not have a science background about that same technology, and you have to do it in a way that makes them want to believe you and embrace your story and ultimately give you the wins.
[00:03:25] Anne: So, you know, I learned a lot actually about just storytelling with a set of facts. By being a litigator. So, yeah. So don't underestimate your own personal experiences and kind of, if you're interested in conservation photography yes.
[00:03:39] Jaymi: And, and you don't have to be a litigator, a lawyer, like you don't have to be anything in particular to be able to look at what it is that you do every day and bring it in. Well, so you have this beautiful history that has led up to you being a conservation photographer, but you actually didn't pick up a camera until recently. How did you get into photography?
[00:03:58] Anne: Yeah, no, that's a great [00:04:00] question. I did not pick up a, kind of a real camera until 2019. And you know, it's kind of a funny story. How I got into that. my husband noticed that I loved watching birds at our bird feeder. And one day he gave me this like little lens that you can attach to your smartphones.
[00:04:17] Anne: It's like a magnifier. And I would sit on our deck and I would take pictures of birds that are bird feeder, and I loved it and I loved it so much. I went out and bought an entry level muralist camera, and I was absolutely hooked kind of from that that's that starting point. And spent a few years. Just kind of learning how to use the camera, taking portraits of wildlife.
[00:04:41] Anne: I was really focused on wildlife. And then after a few years of doing that decided I really wanted to try to use my pictures and I'm in a kind of a, a greater or larger way. And. I heard the thing about conservation storytelling and it just really appealed to me. But I had no idea [00:05:00] how to do it, which is how we met.
[00:05:01] Jaymi: Thank goodness too. Thank goodness because it's been incredible watching you over the past almost year. It's been 11 months now, since we've we met and crossed paths and. What you've done as a storyteller already is pretty incredible. tell us a little bit about what it was like to start to see, not just birds at your bird feeder, but really stories happening near you. Like what, what was that like to start to recognize those?
[00:05:31] Anne: You know, I started with photography just because I loved wildlife and I started to treat photography is a mindfulness practice.
[00:05:41] Anne: And it was really this concept of going out in immersing yourself and being present in the moment and just being in awe of our natural world. And that I think has helped me a lot with identifying stories, because most of the stories that I've told so far are [00:06:00] from me. Wandering around or, and seeing things happen and wondering why they're happening and digging around and doing a little research and kind of building stories like that.
[00:06:13] Anne: And, I tell a lot of local stories as you know, and it's been great because I have a full-time job, so I can do that at the nights and I can do it on the weekends, but I think just being in tune with. Your environment and in tune with yourself to find out what excites you. And then if you can articulate what excites you about it, tell your friends, and if your friends get excited about that too, maybe you're onto something.
[00:06:39] Anne: So I would say very basically that's how I have been approaching storytelling.
[00:06:45] Jaymi: I love that. It's, you know, something that I love to teach to as a strategy for finding stories is really taking on naturalist practices. And how do you kind of sit and, watch and observe and ask questions that [00:07:00] dig a little bit deeper and a little deeper because the stories that you've come up with.
[00:07:04] Jaymi: I believe our stories that so far a lot of people would overlook them as potential stories or they would notice it, but not necessarily recognize like, oh yeah, no, this is a story that people want to hear about. So I want to get to that. But before we, before we dig into this amazing trajectory you've been on, I want to back up because we met because you joined conservation photography 1 0 1.
[00:07:27] Jaymi: So what was that like for you to start it on the storytelling process and decide that you want to training.
[00:07:34] Anne: Sure. So I think we'll talk about this later, but I started my NoMo may story. I started planning that and started shooting that before we met. And, I had, I mean, I had no idea what I was doing.
[00:07:47] Anne: I, I tried and I, you know, I tried to visualize and I planned you know, a shot list and things, but I didn't know how to pitch a story. I didn't know how to go about that. Selecting images for a story. [00:08:00] I didn't know how to contact editors. And so I ended up finding your course. I think that that summer, and really with the idea of trying to get the tools that I need to feel confident that I can move forward with my story.
[00:08:17] Jaymi: So you happen to conservation photography 1 0 1. And I remember actually very clearly when you showed like, Hey, I'm working on this idea. Here's some images. I remember giving feedback on what those images look like. And so you started to shape that story, but that wasn't the first story that came out.
[00:08:34] Jaymi: There was another story that you kind of moved up in the queue. Can you talk about.
[00:08:39] Anne: Yeah. So while NoMo may was the first story I planned the first story I had published was about our local urban turkeys, our neighborhood birds and it was published in Audubon online. And, again, that was a story that.
[00:08:57] Anne: I had been photographing for months. [00:09:00] I was living in an apartment complex. There were these incredible birds living in the community right outside of my door and was just absolutely fascinated with them. So, you know, when I first started, started taking pictures, I had no intention of actually publishing anything.
[00:09:18] Anne: It was just a fun activity. But again, you know, you, you, you become curious about it. And so I started doing some research and I noticed that. There was a lot published on urban turkeys. I mean, they have they've received a lot of attention, but most of the stories were news stories that painted them in a really negative light.
[00:09:38] Anne: You know, they called them nuisance birds, that terrorized neighborhoods and my experience was really different. And I personally absolutely loved having these birds in the neighborhood. And so I decided to try to pitch a story. Actually painted these birds in a really good light and talked about how some of us [00:10:00] love living with these birds.
[00:10:02] Jaymi: One of the things that I like to teach is the path of a story. So how did we end up in this place now where we recognize something that we want to document, right. What's true in a lot of conservation stories is what is the path forward from there? So, and usually you're looking for solutions or you're shining a light on people who are already doing solutions.
[00:10:20] Jaymi: And so I feel like you really exemplify the path and that you're like, okay, well, here's how we got to this point where there's these wild, urban turkeys living in my apartment complex. And let's look at the solution, which is coexistence. So I love living with these turkeys, but I understand how other people might have conflict.
[00:10:37] Jaymi: So let's talk about like coexistence strategies. What was the experience in actually shaping that style of story? Was that something that you already had in mind when you pitched Audubon? Is that something that you also shaped in conjunction with an editor? How did that work out?
[00:10:53] Anne: Yeah, it was in conjunction with an editor, and I have to say I've worked with some, like, in a couple stories.
[00:10:59] Anne: I've worked [00:11:00] on, had some really great editors that , kind of held my hand a little bit and how. Reshape the story. So I did, when I pitched the Audubon story, it was. It was a first person narrative. But I was even more focused actually on what you were talking about with the solution.
[00:11:19] Anne: So I had interviewed a number of residents. I interviewed a local community officer that often responds to Turkey calls. And so I had been actually fashioning it a little bit more like a standard conservation piece and. I mean, I'm really grateful for the editors at Audubon because they said, well, let's like, let's beef up this personal narrative, more and your own personal experience with living with these birds Which was the original reason why I started this story in the first place.
[00:11:49] Anne: So it was a great, yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was a great experience.
[00:11:52] Jaymi: That's wonderful. So you had this amazing first experience. So, and just in case we didn't really state this before to [00:12:00] emphasize this was your first ever published photo story. And it landed in such an amazing publication that we all adore and look up to, which is Audubon.
[00:12:09] Jaymi: How did that feel?
[00:12:11] Anne: Th this whole journey has been surreal. I wasn't even planning to target Autobon when I first started, dreaming up the story. And in the end, I thought, where would be my dream publication for this story? And it said, well, it would be Audubon. And so I decided why not try what's?
[00:12:28] Anne: I mean, what's the worst thing that happens is that they ignore you or they say. And then you move on. and they didn't say no. So it, you know, it was a really good lesson, I think just to, don't be afraid and give things a try.
[00:12:43] Jaymi: Yep. So from that Audubon experience, you then decided, well, what other stories and what other dream publications might be out there for me?
[00:12:53] Jaymi: And so you went and pitched your next story. What was.
[00:12:57] Anne: Yeah. So the next story I [00:13:00] pitched was , which is a relatively new bee conservation movement. And this movement began in the UK and in 2020 it was actually brought to the U S by a professor at Lord's university. And he started it in his little town of Appleton Wisconsin.
[00:13:21] Anne: And I picked up on this story and actually just the movement when I was looking to make my own yard more, be friendly. I loved the idea and I worked with my local municipality to have them adopt it for 2021. And so I was kind of in that realm, I was researching it, trying to figure out how to bring it to our own community.
[00:13:40] Anne: And I realized there were a lot of other communities in Wisconsin adopting this to. I started thinking a little bit more like a conservation photographer and thought this might be a story. So spring of 2021, I began tentatively planning the story, planning a shot list, and then ultimately went [00:14:00] out over a few weekends and documented the story and a few local communities.
[00:14:05] Jaymi: Wonderful. one of the things that I noticed as you've been working on this story and really developing it is, is not just that you were developing this story itself, but I was watching your photography really grow, like how much your photography itself. Grown. I feel like in the last 11 months, since we first met, it's pretty exceptional.
[00:14:24] Jaymi: So what were you doing in addition to really thinking about story? What were you doing with your camera in that time to develop the images that you really needed to have to be able to pitch this to dream
[00:14:34] Anne: publications? Yeah. I, I tried to first visualize some of the different images that I thought could help tell this story.
[00:14:44] Anne: And You know, how do you take pictures of people's lawns? I mean, I, you know, I. Had focused on wildlife before and a big focus was macro photography before. So, taking pictures of the bees was one thing, but how do you [00:15:00] like glorify shaggy lawn was another question. And so I spent a lot of time thinking about that and ultimately, tried to use a number of different A number of different lenses and different angles to try to do that.
[00:15:15] Anne: So a lot of the photos that you'd see from that story were shot with macro lenses. So both kind of a standard 90 millimeter macro lens, but also wide angle macro lenses. So I think those are just so important for setting. setting your subject within the environment. So I tried to get a number of bees, you know, within the urban environment, feeding on dandelions and Clover.
[00:15:39] Anne: And then, , it was always a little challenging, not challenging, but I was taking pictures of people's houses, which, you know, I wasn't sure how that would go over. And a lot of them laying on sidewalks, I am walking around neighborhoods with the big camera bag and, , luckily I had a really [00:16:00] good reception from communities.
[00:16:01] Anne: I would see people in yards, I would talk with them. So I think when you're out, just chatting up, people can be really helpful. And I found one of my characters that way.
[00:16:11] Jaymi: Excellent. I was just going to say, like, that is one of the best ways to actually meet people who then become a big part of your story is so what do you think about having a shaggy lawn?
[00:16:21] Jaymi: Are you participating in no may and, and what is that like? So you develop the story, you get your portfolio together and you decide to pitch it. What happens next?
[00:16:33] Anne: Nothing happened. I pitched and I pitched and I pitched the story and I was really focused. Initially on conservation magazines and I didn't get very far, honestly, you know, and I, I really loved the story.
[00:16:53] Anne: I felt very attached to it and really wanted to get it out there. So I, I kind of had [00:17:00] this moment where I sat down and thought, okay, this isn't working. I have to change my strategy and started looking more at mainstream publications and what options might be available for that because. Backyard bee conservation is becoming more mainstream.
[00:17:16] Anne: And I thought this might be something that would appeal to a broader audience that maybe hadn't thought about helping the bees before. And I ended up focusing on the New York times, the world through a lens series.
[00:17:29] Jaymi: And why did you focus on that? What, what made you think? Okay. We work times, we're going to do world through the lens
[00:17:35] Anne: again, what's the worst that happens, you know, we're seeing that happens as they say no.
[00:17:39] Anne: And I think my experience over the, like the prior months of not really getting very far. With pitching helped because, and I think it was a great lesson because it taught me perseverance and to develop some thicker skin. And I noticed that the world through a lens, so it's a, [00:18:00] it's under their travel section and it was created during the pandemic when people couldn't travel.
[00:18:06] Anne: So it was a way to visually take people to. The ends of the earth and introduce them to new cultures that they couldn't do back in 2020. so while they often focus on more kind of exotic or distant locations and cultures, I noticed that they sometimes publish kind of quirky stories about places in the U S and so I thought, why not try and.
[00:18:31] Anne: it worked and I was, I mean, I, I feel incredibly grateful that they. They publish the story.
[00:18:40] Jaymi: Well, they published it and then this whole wave of activity happened. I remembered when you posted, I think it was you, or it was someone else who posted the article in a Facebook group for pollinator supporters.
[00:18:52] Jaymi: And within the first three hours, there were like 300 shares and all these comments and people were fired up. And so it really started [00:19:00] getting attention. So tell us about what, what you did next with that.
[00:19:04] Anne: Yeah, I mean, Stunned. I mean, I was in awe that the New York times published an article and photographs of mine to start with.
[00:19:13] Anne: And then over the next few days, like, as you said, it received a lot of attention. It was, I mean, I think the article got almost 900 comments itself. It was being spread throughout social media and I started getting a lot of emails. From people, which was wonderful. And I noticed a trend, a lot of people were asking, well, I loved your article.
[00:19:38] Anne: I want to participate in NoMo may, but I don't know how, what do I do about lawn and ordinances? What do I do about my neighbors that don't like shaky lawns? What do I, how do I bring this to my own community? And so after a few days, I saw that there was an opportunity. To try to publish a follow-up piece or pieces that address these [00:20:00] questions.
[00:20:01] Anne: So I, I sent, I don't know if you call it a soft pitch, but I reached out to a few different editors and said, I just had this article published. I am wondering if you might be interested. I have some ideas. It, let me know if you want to talk about an idea for a follow-up article. And I had two magazines respond.
[00:20:21] Anne: One was better homes and gardens, and I just had a piece published with them last week. And the second was Sierra. And I am currently working with them on an online article as well. That will be published before May 1st.
[00:20:37] Jaymi: Congratulations. That is a really big deal. And you're living out to two kind of very important things to me.
[00:20:45] Jaymi: I think one, you have no idea about, because I don't know that I've ever actually said this publicly, but conservation visual storytellers academy, which. The academy under which conservation photography 1 0 1 lives and other training programs and workshops, all that. So the [00:21:00] vision that I have, when I think about what do I want this academy to do?
[00:21:03] Jaymi: The vision is that conservation stories are an in demand story among mainstream publications everywhere. And that means that conservation visual storytellers have this financially supported creative outlet for our work. So. It's a very big deal to me. Every time I see conservation stories in mainstream outlets, not as like, oh, look at this cute thing, but like, Hey, this is, this is something really cool that gets people fired up and brings it to audiences that wouldn't otherwise be getting involved in, or be curious about, or be aware of these conservation.
[00:21:40] Jaymi: The second thing that you're living out is what I call the conservation photography aid framework, the aid framework, where every story that is really effective for conservation, it starts with awareness. Your story just makes people aware. And when they become aware often, that means that they get really inspired.
[00:21:58] Jaymi: Suddenly they have this new [00:22:00] information, or the surprising new element in their life. They get curious about it. They're inspired. And when they get inspired, they want to share that inspiration loves company. So they start sharing it with their friends, their family, and then those folks are now aware and inspired and it starts the domino effect.
[00:22:14] Jaymi: And your NoMo may story. Was like here is the prime example of, of this framework where you created awareness. You got people really inspired to take part. They were sharing it right, and left and bringing more people into the conversation, creating that domino effect. And then you followed that domino effect.
[00:22:32] Jaymi: You're like, I see this happening. And so now I'm going to follow that momentum and help get this out to even more people in a very practical sense. I don't know what you want to do with that, but you're living out this, this like kind of vision where I'm just like, go at, go and go, go, go from the sidelines.
[00:22:54] Anne: Thank you. Thank you. You know, I just, I feel I'm really grateful that I've been [00:23:00] given the opportunity to tell these stories. And one of the reasons I reached out to. Better homes and gardens and Sierra club was just thinking, I'm doing this in part because I do want to help spread this message.
[00:23:13] Anne: I want to try to help inspire people to feel empowered, to do something for conservation in their own backyard. I mean, I feel like we turn on the TV and we are bombarded by news about horrific things happening in the world. Being on fire and it can be disheartening and you can feel like you aren't in a position to change things, but you can do things locally and you can make changes within your community and your own backyard.
[00:23:45] Anne: And I think that that's one of the things I really loved about this story. Is that personally, it gave me hope and I hope it gave others that feeling as well. The one thing too, to always be mindful with these stories [00:24:00] though, I think is you want to inspire people. But you have to make sure it doesn't stop there.
[00:24:08] Anne: So NoMo may is a great, I mean, I think it's a great program. It's for folks that aren't familiar with it, you basically kick back and let your grass grow for the month of may. So. You don't have to do anything. It doesn't cost time. It doesn't cost money. It saves you those things. And what that does is it allow lawn weeds to grow and flower, and those flowers then can feed bees in the spring when flowers or otherwise scares.
[00:24:34] Anne: So it's a pretty, pretty simple concept. And I think it's a great gateway program. Especially for folks that have never thought about pollinator conservation before now, neighbors are talking to neighbors about how we can help the bees, but the danger is that you don't want people to think that that's it.
[00:24:54] Anne: So, so I think it's been really important as part of these articles to try to stress [00:25:00] that, to try to stress this is, do this feel really good about it. But what are you going to do in June? What are you going to do in July and August to help the bees? So I think that's also been one of the things that it's enabled me to talk about a little bit more and try to encourage that this is a gateway program.
[00:25:19] Anne: And there's a lot else out there. People want to participate.
[00:25:24] Jaymi: I want to dig into that even more with what you said earlier about how important it is to make people feel empowered because the New York times, like I love reading the New York times, I'm a subscriber. It's a really incredible publication to get your work into, especially if it's a conservation message, because it's like the third largest publication in the world.
[00:25:44] Jaymi: But one issue that I have with them and why I deleted the app from my phone, I have it on my iPad, because I was like obsessively, reading the New York times when, when it was on my phone, I'm like, you know what, I'm just going to have it on this iPad where I pick it up, maybe once a day and [00:26:00] you scroll through and the way that they have information laid out, I 100% understand why it is this way, but the scroll experience for the user is you start out.
[00:26:09] Jaymi: Right now the war in the Ukraine and then what that means for us and what's going on with our government and what is going on with our finances, what is going on with our economy? Then you hit the COVID section, what's going on with that. And then you scroll through and eventually you start to hit the climate area, which is never positive.
[00:26:31] Jaymi: So you have all of this. Worry, fear, anxiety, stress. That's building up by the time you get to anything having to do with conservation. you ultimately leave that experience if you're a reader, especially without any.
[00:26:45] Jaymi: Kind of conservation mindset in that where you're just like, well, everything is screwed. I don't, I don't have the ability to change any of this. I'm just going to go back to worrying about my immediate life right now, because it's the only thing I have a modicum of control over. [00:27:00] When we actually, as conservation visual storytellers, take the time to create stories that explain what the problems are and what's going wrong, but then empower someone to feel like they do have a level of control over that they can, there are solutions involved.
[00:27:18] Jaymi: They might be difficult solutions to achieve, but it's. Participating in, and here's how you can do that. It's a very big deal to help counteract what would otherwise be the experience that people have? So conservation, visual storytellers, we have a big role in, you know, not just being Pollyanna about it, but truly making people feel empowered.
[00:27:38] Jaymi: What is something you can actually do today? Like that is a huge thing to put into any story. So I'm really glad that you had. That up. Is that something that as a conservationist, you were already prepared to bring into your storytelling? Or is that something that you thought about as you started to develop your stories?
[00:27:56] Anne: It's something I wanted to bring in. at least [00:28:00] for me, I want to have solutions. I just think. I, I, we can't always tell doom and gloom situ or stories about the environment. And I think there is a lot that people can do that they don't want. Realize they can do so. Yes. Some of, some of the stories I tell are, or want to tell are planning are very focused on what everyday people can do to help our environment.
[00:28:27] Anne: And actually a big project of mine is the American lawn. And I see it as such an opportunity You know, there's been a lot about planting natives and reducing the size of the lawn, but the fact is most people will want some form of lawn. And so what do we do about that? And, you know, that's really an area that I am starting to dive into that I started with the NoMo may story, but I've had a few other stories I'm starting to plan.
[00:28:57] Anne: You know, a lot of the stories that I like to [00:29:00] tell are also just. Focused on just helping develop our connection with the world around us. And I think that goes back to my comments about mindfulness, where I do think we try to protect the things we love and we need to, I think many of us, myself included need to find time to slow down, to notice things.
[00:29:22] Anne: And if I can do that and help people do that. That is a huge win for me, you know? And I don't think it's necessarily even just beautiful photographs. It's pointing out quirky things that are happening around you, that you might not notice. And so I would say there's a whole gamut, of stories I'm interested in, but I think it, they all do have an action in some way.
[00:29:49] Anne: And I think, you know, kind of going back to your CP 1 0 1 class, You really helped to cover how to draft a story statement, which has been really invaluable to [00:30:00] me because it starts usually with a very vague idea of maybe what the story is. And. Part of developing the story statement is what's the call to action.
[00:30:10] Anne: And what's the point of all of this. And I think identifying that really early on in the story can be extremely valuable. So for no MoMA, My goal was to tell stories that let people feel hope that let people feel connected and feel inspired to do something about the bees in their backyard. And so when the New York times article published and it was well-received knowing that that was my goal, it just seemed like a very natural pivot to say, well, what else can I write about right now when this is, this is kind of a topic that's being discussed.
[00:30:47] Jaymi: Oh man. So we just talked about like how important it is to make a reader feel empowered, but I feel like you just stressed how much power you have and how empowered you are as a [00:31:00] storyteller, because you can literally look at what's happening in your own backyard or front yard in your own community.
[00:31:07] Jaymi: And when you can recognize. Oh, that's something really interesting. That's worth telling other people about that's something that inspires me. And by telling that I can inspire other people, that's a significant amount of power to have to improve your own community.
[00:31:21] Anne: Yeah. And I think one thing that's helped me as I got started.
[00:31:25] Anne: I mean, I'm a year, a year into this journey is. I've been really happy with focusing on shorter stories. You know, I do have a couple kind of longer hoped hope to be features someday, but most of the stories I've been telling have been fairly small, I mean, 800,000 word stories with a handful of images and.
[00:31:52] Anne: I just, I think that that's just been a great place for me to start. And it allows you to tell smaller intimate stories. [00:32:00] It's not as intimidating, I think, as going after the full feature. And I think it's really conducive to these local conservation stories as well, because it's there. They're great kind of bite-size pieces that people can really easily digest.
[00:32:17] Jaymi: and that's often when you're trying to reach an audience that is maybe not very familiar with the conservation issue. Something that is very, bite-size something that is very like, okay, that stands out to me. I can easily absorb it and move on with my life and maybe run into this again. Like that's actually really important instead of requiring people to know every last detail about a concert to immediately.
[00:32:39] Anne: Yeah. And it's been, you know, when I just, my own process of putting together stories. I love writing them as well and hope to continue to do at least some of the writing for my photo stories. And but part of my own process is, you know, with this photo, the story statement, I mean, they almost turn into a a draft [00:33:00] article and it's been great because I have this gigantic article that I've written, you know, Eventually gets cut down by like half, because you have to strip out all of these other details and you have to really laser focus on what is actually the story.
[00:33:16] Anne: I want to tell there's so many facts that couldn't make it in here, but for this publication, for this goal, what's the story. And I think it's yeah, it just helps to kind of narrow that down. And what do people really need to know?
[00:33:30] Jaymi: Yes. I'm curious what it's been like for you to have. The conservation photography 1 0 1 course to help.
[00:33:39] Jaymi: Cause you, you were mentioning before, like, I didn't know where to start, so I wanted this roadmap in order to just be like, I want to save time. I want to get to it. So you joined conservation photography, 1 0 1. And with that is access to the student group and ongoing feedback. What does that been like for the story creation process for you or kind of moving in, having, having people to bounce ideas around [00:34:00] with, or to go through images?
[00:34:02] Anne: I think it's been amazing. I mean, it's, you can, you can try to do all of this on your own. And I think a lot of people are successful doing that, but I, I, I'm a big proponent of education. I've gotten a couple of degrees and I just, I very much embrace joining workshops. Trying to get plugged into other people in the field.
[00:34:25] Anne: I think it's just really important because you're going to develop a greater understanding. Of the possibilities. I think we get very tunnel visioned on our own projects and our own way of doing things and just hearing what other people are working on, hearing their ideas for photos, seeing the photos that they take and, you know, maybe the tweaks that can be made to make them even better.
[00:34:50] Anne: I've just learned a tremendous amount from that. And. We talked about the Turkey article and also NoMo may, and both of those pitches were submitted [00:35:00] through the CP 1 0 1 course. I got great feedback from you and from other people. And I just, I think it's been really invaluable to be able to discuss the story and, you, you can guide it and kind of get uh, some feedback on.
[00:35:15] Anne: Issues, you might face with the story too, because people will point out the good things and ask questions about where you might stumble. And that's been really helpful too, to be able to anticipate.
[00:35:26] Jaymi: Absolutely. Oh, I'm so, I'm so glad that you mentioned that too, because. When you take the time to have other people read through what you're working on, the questions they ask are like, oh yeah, this is going to be a question that other people are going to have about this.
[00:35:40] Jaymi: I also want to mention too, like you talked about how great it's been to see other people's work and what they're working on, but you're also showing your work inside of this group, which is huge. And one of the other members mentioned, I'm not sure if you saw this or not because the posted just recently, but he's like, I just want to say thank you [00:36:00] for sharing what you've been working on because I started to get really kind of down and out about my own pitches.
[00:36:05] Jaymi: Start to give up on them, but seeing what you've done now, I'm fired up. I'm getting pitches out there again. So it's like that ongoing motivation. When you see other people around you having success, you're reminded. As possible. And so you stay fired up. You're like, I can do this too. I can do this too. And you also have done something incredibly valuable, which is, as soon as you got published, you put your successful pitches into the student group.
[00:36:29] Jaymi: So other students could see, okay, well, here's what worked for this publication for me. And, take what works for you, move on. And so you're, you're giving these examples that is really invaluable because then others can look at it, reverse engineer, it, be inspired by something. Think about their own voice and tone about their own stories.
[00:36:50] Jaymi: And that's really helpful too. So thank you very much for being so generous with your own experience and knowledge for your fellow student. Yeah,
[00:36:57] Anne: no, I, I have learned so [00:37:00] much from hearing everybody else share their experiences and I'm very happy to share my own. I mean, I think we're all doing this for the same reason.
[00:37:10] Anne: We, we feel passionate about the environment. We want to help, help the environment, and we all have different causes or different areas that we're interested in. And You know, I think being able to have really open conversations with people in this field is just so helpful because it's, it's not necessarily an easy field to understand if you're an outsider or to feel.
[00:37:35] Anne: You can break in. I mean, it's it, there's a bit of a catch 22 that you reach out to, to publications or editors. And you say, look at my, look at my work. It's the first one. It's the first thing. And you know, a lot of times people are, they pay a lot of attention, I think to what else? Where else have you been published?
[00:37:52] Anne: What else have you done? And so. I think having a group of people that you can bounce ideas off off of, you [00:38:00] can learn about what's worked and not work for other people. And I I've tried to be really open About what hasn't worked for me too, you know, it's, I think you see a lot of people that have a successful story and it looks really easy just suddenly they got a story published and it's not always the case.
[00:38:18] Anne: It might be months or, you know, I've heard other people talk about years trying to get a story published. So I think it, it's just very helpful to hear other people. Experiences with that and know that you're, it's okay. You're not an outlier. You're not failing. This is in part some of the process.
[00:38:38] Jaymi: Absolutely. And I mean, it's, it's true that often we see conservation visual storytellers you know, on social media and they're like, oh, I just had this publication come out and a week later, and then this came out and then two weeks later, and then this came out and you're like, oh my gosh, they're just constantly getting published.
[00:38:53] Jaymi: But the reality is like, they may have had. One in the works for two years, one in the works for a [00:39:00] year, one, might've just been this lucky chance. And it's about always having irons in the fire. And sometimes it'll take a long time before a story that is worth being published. That is a good story before it finds the right home.
[00:39:13] Jaymi: And so even though you might look at others and feel intimidated by that, the reality is that they're working just as hard as. And, and they're having the same number of successes and failures as you. It just looks different, you're not seeing all of the steps that they're taking and all of the work that they're putting into pitching and and the, the down moments that they're having.
[00:39:36] Jaymi: You're only seeing like when they actually get published, you're not seeing the thousand and one nos or cricket responses. Anyway, I'm rambling, but yes.
[00:39:47] Anne: And you know, one thing that having experienced on pitching to a number of different organizations that haven't necessarily taken my stories it has really helped me better think about what kind [00:40:00] of stories different organizations might be interested in.
[00:40:02] Anne: So like the NoMo Mae story is kind of one example. I mean, there were a couple of different ways to tell that story I told it differently in the New York times, I focused on a different aspect of it than I did for better homes and gardens. And going through that experience, I think has really helped me think about the future stories I want to tell, and maybe I have a main objective with that story, but I think it's really worth sitting down early on and thinking, well, what else could I tell?
[00:40:32] Anne: Maybe it's not what I want to tell, but what else could be told and. I think that's important too. When you're visualizing the pictures you want to tell for your story, because I'm working with an editor, the editor could say, well, I'd really like to go a different direction. And do you have pictures that capture that?
[00:40:53] Anne: And I think it's, it's been a lesson I've learned with the direction of some of the stories that, you know, you add, you're thinking, oh gosh, I [00:41:00] wish I would have thought about getting an image like this. And so. kind of look at maybe this, the failures of pitching isn't so bad, it makes you think about maybe what you could do differently in the future.
[00:41:11] Anne: And I don't know. It's I just, I think it's part of the process. So don't get disheartened. Yeah.
[00:41:16] Jaymi: Yeah. Oh man. I love the, you said like Azure story shifts, depending on the publication, that means that the photos are going to shift too. And so you have to be really thinking about What are the photos overall that I'm going to need to tell for this? And then are there particular photos that I'm going to need depending on the storyline. like I just had this experience where I was doing the photo edits for an article months ago, the article got put on pause. Some things shifted around and the angle completely changed.
[00:41:44] Jaymi: So I got the new top edit of the article and I was like, oh, I can, I'm sure. It'll probably be basically the same images. And I looked and I was like, Nope, we're going back to the white edit. We're pulling completely because the way that the article ended up panning out, I'm like, no, these images, like the whole [00:42:00] town is different, who is in the article is shifting.
[00:42:03] Jaymi: And so we had to go back to the wide edit, completely pull new images, completely changed the layout because it matters every version of your story. It means that there are different images that you may be pulling in.
[00:42:13] Anne: And, you know, to go back to your point about you know, a CP 1 0 1 and having these, these groups that you can tell.
[00:42:18] Anne: Talk to about ideas. I mean, that's been really helpful because you do have. 10 other people that are weighing in with different perspectives and saying, oh, well, why don't you have a, why aren't you going to try to get an image like this? Or what about this? And, you know, it's very easy for us as a photographer to get very, I think, tunnel vision with the story you want to tell when there might be a lot else out there that you just haven't really thought
[00:42:45] Jaymi: about.
[00:42:46] Jaymi: Great point. Well, and thank you so much for. I mean, honestly, for everything. I know I get a little bit gushy when I, when I talk to people, but I genuinely feel grateful for every [00:43:00] conservation visual storyteller out there because of the work that you're doing, because the mission that you have because of what I know goes into it, the time, the energy, the effort that goes into doing what you do, and you're willing to do that for all of us.
[00:43:12] Jaymi: So thank you so much for. Taking up this field for being part of it for dedicating so much of your, you know, mental and creative energy to it, your physical energy to it. I, I really appreciate you so much.
[00:43:27] Anne: Oh, well, thank you, Jamie. Well, I appreciate you as well. And I am very grateful that we met because I would not be here and, and have these kinds of experiences, I think, without having run into you and, and gotten some really key guidance early on.
[00:43:41] Anne: So thank you.
[00:43:41] Jaymi: Oh, thank goodness. I'm, I'm grateful that we've crossed paths Also just a reminder for anyone who's listening, you know, we've talked a lot about conservation photography, 1 0 1. So you can go to conservation visuals.com to find out more about that course and other courses that we offer.
[00:43:58] Jaymi: It's a whole lot of fun hanging [00:44:00] out. Yeah. Student group and chatting and brainstorming and, and doing more. So and for anyone who wants to find out more about like, I want to see that Turkey article, I want to see that V article. I want to see her work. Where do they go to learn more about
[00:44:12] Anne: you? Sure.
[00:44:13] Anne: I have a website it's www.anneriedel.com. So I have my published work on there. I have some of the. I have information of the stories that I've
[00:44:22] Jaymi: polished. Perfect. And that will also be linked in the show notes.
[00:44:26] Anne: Thank you so much, Jamie.
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