The marine biologist whose photography pastime became a profession – Nature.com

If you are a scientist hoping to photograph and share your own research:

•    Don’t underestimate the power of modern media and social-media platforms. Content is changing the world and people’s lives, and it can easily change your life. Stay at the forefront of media technology, or at least be aware of developments. It’s a never-ending race, but it’s easy to get into.

•    If you plan to share your work with others, imagine what will be of interest to them. If you can excitingly describe your work to a 5-year-old, you won’t have any trouble getting anyone interested. Beautiful pictures help, but the story always comes first.

•    You will stand out much more if you have a niche and unique story. It could be your rare field of science or a special angle that you use to tell the story of your work. Being different is awesome.

•    Set the bar very high. You can find dozens of examples of truly high-quality content on the Internet. And you can almost always find resources that can help you to learn how to create work of the same calibre. With practice, your skills will inevitably rise — but at any given time, it’s important to know the level you should aim for.

•    Find people who are cooler than you. Don’t hesitate to ask them for advice or to shadow them. Have them share their experiences, stand behind them and observe their work if they’ll let you. Few things are more useful than real work experience, both your own and that of others.

•    Take on a project. This could be a an illustrated workbook for colleagues or students, a guide book, a lecture for schoolchildren with compelling visuals, a course for students or a documentary on your topic.

•    If you work in a team, you can raise the bar even higher. Use each other’s strengths, share experiences, make plans, apply for grants and take on challenging science-communication projects together. This multiplies the fun and the results.

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