Do you dream of getting your work published someday? Do you crave that special kind of validation of your work that comes from seeing your work featured in print or on a famous blog? Read on for nine insider secrets on how you can go from zero to 100 in no time at all. It’s really not very difficult, once you know how to do it.
Details are Key
75% of your submission should be details. This is the number one tip. Wedding blog and magazine readers want to see design ideas for their wedding. There is no better way to convey these ideas than through clever detail images. Such as how the cake was set up, how a bride incorporated heirloom pearls in the bouquet, how the escort cards were uniquely displayed, interesting after-dinner snacks and so forth. Ask any editor and she’ll tell you there can never be enough details. It’s what they live for, and what their readers want. Understand this, and you’ll unlock the key to getting your work published.
To ensure you properly capture all the details of the day, advance planning is essential. Be sure to discuss the overall décor scheme with the bride as well as the planner or floral designer. If there is heavy ceremony décor, you’ll want to arrive at the ceremony early to photograph the setup prior to guests’ arrival. Those gorgeous pew decorations look best photographed without guests, purses and jackets cluttering up the image. Same thing goes for the reception room, which should be photographed during cocktail hour to ensure a clean, empty room. Without a timeline and a specific plan, you might not arrive at the reception room until after the guests have already claimed their seats with drinks and coats.
Details in Horizontal and Vertical Formats
In order to maximize your chances, you need to think like a layout designer. You know how when you are putting together an album design and you just really need a certain image to be vertical (but it’s a horizontal and won’t crop)? Magazine layout designers go through the same thing, often at the last minute as the rush to meet deadlines. They need an image in a specific orientation to fit the layout. If you haven’t provided the image in both formats, instead of contacting you and asking if you happen to have more shots of that detail (takes too much time) they will simply move on to something else that does work for them.
Follow Facebook & Twitter
Follow Twitter & Facebook streams of magazine & blog editors, as they will often put out last minute requests for specific types of images. If you just happen to have a great shot of a cute flower girl in a yellow dress (or whatever type of image they need that moment), you might have a good chance if you respond quickly.
Submit to Smaller Publications
Local magazines and trade publications have a smaller following than mass-market wedding magazines. This means the competition will be much less, thereby increasing your chances of having a submission accepted. There are trade magazines specific to the catering industry, wedding cakes, event planners, floral designers and of course photographers. Many communities have local or regional wedding bloggers as well as community wedding printed resources. Additionally, lots of community newspapers and magazines will do an annual weddings issue. Once you start thinking outside the box, you will find there are many opportunities.
Create a Process
By creating a process for your editorial submissions, it is more likely you will complete the process regularly. If you feel like you are starting from scratch each time, it’s much harder to get the motivation.
Include Submissions as Routine Marketing
Our studio submits about four-six times per year, as part of a quarterly process plus extra submissions during summer and fall. Other studios make submissions a part of their standard wedding workflow. Choose what makes the most sense for you. Develop a routine and stick to it.
Schedule the Editorial Submissions
By actually putting dates on the calendar of when your studio will focus on editorial submissions, you are making a commitment. By allocating a block of time to the project, it is more likely it will be completed. As part of our quarterly process, it takes us about six to eight hours over a two-day period for this project to get completed.
Other than your grasp of photographing detail images, this is perhaps the most important factors in getting published. How frequently do you submit? If the answer is not very often or never, it’s time to get going. Your chances of getting published are pretty much zero if you don’t try. By submitting frequently, you dramatically increase your chances. It’s how we went from having three images published in three years to having more than seventy images and features published over the last four years.
Would you like to learn more secrets to getting published? You can download my free ebook Get Published: A Guide for Wedding Photographers and see examples of what magazines look for in images, how to create them and how to organize the entire process. It’s a culmination of everything I’ve learned about submitting to magazines over the past 9 years.
There you have it. Getting our work published has been absolutely integral to the success of our studio. It has opened doors and taken my career to new heights that I never could have imagined. Because of it, we have been able to steadily increase our rates and book more jobs all while meeting the most interesting people and celebrities.
You are now armed with my very best secrets, so let’s see what you can do. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments below. Do you have other tips to share? Please share your ideas or ask questions!
As a wedding photographer for almost 10 years, Lara has always loved the business side of photography. She shares her passionate for business and marketing strategies with photographers through her PhotoMint blog and recently authored a book for photographers interested in learning how to get their images published.