Today on my blog I wanted to talk about something I find huge value in as a small business owner. Getting your work published in print magazines or wedding blogs is in my opinion, one of the most important things you can do for your business. I think of it as free marketing and a “win” for everyone involved. Editors get beautiful content to share with their readers, you get your work exposed to a larger audience, and couples get beautiful inspiration for their own weddings. I have learned a lot about this topic over the years and so I wanted to share some information I feel would be beneficial for photographers who are looking to get their work published!
1. Think about where you want to submit before you begin shooting: I make it a goal of mine to try and get almost everything I shoot published. Obviously, it is not realistic to get absolutely everything published. But, I at least think about the event or wedding and go through the different publications in my head to see if they would be a good fit for any of them. In my experience, the process of getting your work published begins well before you start shooting. This goes for real weddings as well as styled shoots. I first think about if there is a publication that I have wanting to see my work on and if I am planning a styled shoot I might pick design elements that I think that specific blog might like. I try and study the different blogs and see their different styles and the things they are posting so that when it comes time to submit I have a better understanding of the differences, which will ultimately save me time. When I am shooting a real wedding I obviously don’t have a say in the colors and design elements, which is how it should be. It should be exactly what the bride and groom want. But I still will think about different blogs and who might want to feature it!
2. Read submission guidelines carefully: I can’t stress how important this is! Each blog or print magazine has its own specific submission guidelines and they are in place for a reason. Make sure you follow their instructions because that could be a reason editors aren’t taking the time to look through your images. You want to make it as easy as possible for them. Put yourself in their shoes, if they are asking for their images to be 1000 pixels in width, and you send something different, then that creates so much more unnecessary work for them. You want to give yourself the best chance you can to be accepted.
3. Submit your best images first: This tip is something I was taught a few years back and once I made the change, I definitely noticed a difference! In the past, I would submit my galleries in chronological order, but you have to keep in mind these editors are taking minutes, if that, to look at your gallery. The first few images need to catch their attention and if they are buried down at the bottom of the gallery, there is a chance they might never even get to see them. Take a look a the image below. The first four rows are my “favorite” images, and the ones I felt the blog would like to see. Then after those images, I put the rest in chronological order. You can see that in the last row.
4. Submit as soon as you get your images back from the lab: I find that as soon as I get my film scans back from my lab is when I am most motivated to submit. When I let too much time pass, I find myself becoming more demotivated and am less likely to start the process. Also, it is important to be thinking of which images stand out to you to submit while you are spending the time culling through your images. I mark the images with a certain rating so that it is easy to export just those specific ones you will be submitting. I also create a separate folder within the main folder that is titled “submission” so I can easily access them at any time.
5. Keep a document to track submission progress: I have always been a big fan of staying organized. I started keeping a document that keeps track of each time I submit somewhere and then I update it once I hear back about it being accepted or denied. This way I don’t get confused or forget which blog I have submitted to. This leads perfectly into my next tip, which is…
6. Do not submit to multiple blogs at once: This is a big one! You do not want to get yourself into a sticky situation if your images are accepted to two different publications at once. You may think you are saving yourself time by submitting to multiple blogs at once but this is just a recipe for disaster and can really make you look bad in the industry. You don’t want to upset a specific publication and make them look at your business in a negative way. I know this can be daunting to have to submit one by one and wait until you hear back before submitting somewhere else, but this is why tip number five is so important.
7. Properly credit all vendors: Giving proper credit is so, so important. You want to make sure this is done correctly in the first place so that you aren’t having to email the editor to correct a mistake once the feature goes live. And with print, once it is printed there is no looking back. So you better make sure there are no mistakes!! I know getting everyone’s information and making sure it is correct can be a tedious job, but the vendors will thank you! I am not going to lie, mistakes happen and I have had to email editors in the past to ask for a change to be made, and they are usually very kind about it. But if you can avoid this, that would be great for everyone involved.
8. Don’t be afraid to follow up with blogs if the time is up: Typically on a blog submission form, they will note if they will respond to every submission and if so when they will respond. Some blogs do not reply to every submission, which can be tricky. But most will give a timeframe. But either way, don’t be afraid to follow up in a kind and professional way. Make sure you aren’t constantly emailing them, that might not look too great on your end, but if you send a friendly reminder or email just to check in it might be beneficial!
9. Create a positive relationship with publications: You want to make sure that you are communicating well with wedding blogs and their staff. Keeping a professional and positive relationship is really going to help you and your business in the long run. You want them to remember you! Respond promptly to emails, so that you aren’t keeping them waiting.
10. Don’t be discouraged if your work is denied: There are so many reasons why it could have been a “no.” You will drive yourself crazy if you try to figure out why. There have been submissions that I thought were definitely going to get picked up and they didn’t and vice versa. Try not to take it personally although I realize that is sometimes difficult to do being that it is your art you are putting out there. Rather, take each submission process as a learning experience and grow in a positive way!
If you want to study some of the top wedding blogs, I will list some of my recent publications here: BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, Magnolia Rouge, Wedding Sparrow, 100 Layer Cake, Grey Likes Weddings, Carats & Cake! I hope this information was helpful! If you want more tips like this, I do offer 1:1 mentorships. You can read more about those here! Thank you so much for taking the time visit my blog. Best of luck in the submission process!