The more pressure you put on yourself to have your work accepted somewhere, the more “getting published” becomes a main focus and there are MANY other things to focus on in your business! I promise, I’ve been there and I had to learn that the hard way! So here are some common myths about getting published and having work featured:
– Editors will find me, I just need to blog and they’ll come knocking at my door. Definitely not true. :) Photographers have to do all of the submitting! It’s only after a relationship with the magazine or blog is formed that the editors will contact you without a submission. That takes TIME!
– Big time photographers always get their work accepted. Now, I’m not anywhere close to being a big time photographer but when I started out, I believed this. It seems like the people I followed who were several steps ahead of me ALWAYS had their work in magazine after magazine!! As I started to grow and learn more about the publishing world, I realized that you have to receive a lot of “NO’s” to finally receive a “YES”. I wish I could show you my track record with Style Me Pretty! Sure, I’ve been featured on there several times… but what you NEVER see is that I have been rejected by them for years!! I’m talking 20+ submissions and maybe 5-6 features over the last several years. That means I’ve been getting “Not a Fit” emails from them consistently for 5 years! You can’t let that get to you. The funny thing is that you guys only see my “Featured” posts…. you have NO IDEA how many times my work doesn’t make the cut!
If you want to be published, you have to be willing to take a risk and possibly fail first.
– If I shoot BEAUTIFUL wedding portraits, it will be featured! I wish that was true but it’s not! Blogs and magazines are looking for IDEAS and INSPIRATION! Beautiful portraits are great but if they aren’t going to attract attention from brides who are planning and pinning, it’s not going to be a great fit for the blog you’re submitting to! Details trump beauty in most cases. I know that seems crazy but you have to think about it from an editor’s perspective. It’s a very competitive world out there in the blogisphere. New wedding blogs pop up daily! So the more popular the blog, the more selective they are with their submissions!
Ok so here are some TIPS for getting your work featured and maybe even published!!
– Have a SYSTEM! Every area of your business needs a system that is easy to do! Submitting work definitely needs a system of its’ own! For us, we tack “Submission” on the end our wedding workflow as well as “Send Vendor Emails”. If you don’t create a system, it probably won’t get done.
– TWO BRIGHT LIGHTS If you’re wanting to submit your work, you need to be a part of this! It’s by far the EASIEST way to manage submissions and send images and credits to vendors! Editors love it (besides a few national wedding blogs) and they prefer it over getting emails with zipped files! It’s a worthwhile investment! Michael uploads EVERY wedding we shoot to our TBL account and then I go through and submit it where I think it would be the best fit!
– Do your Research! Study what certain blogs are looking for! If you have a super vintage, DIY Farm wedding, Style Me Pretty probably isn’t a good fit. However, if you have a stylish, elegant wedding with some unique contemporary details, SMP would definitely be worth a shot! There are DOZENS upon dozens of blogs out there!! Figure out what they want and submit accordingly!
– Fake it till you make it! When I first started, even if a Bride had her own wedding planning blog and she showed off one of their engagement pictures, I would take a screenshot and announced that I was featured! It sounds silly but it worked. I made a big deal out of EVERYTHING! There are SO many smaller wedding blogs just dying for submissions! They aren’t very popular but who cares when you’re first starting!? You should take any feature you can get!
– Start BIG and work your way down! Submit your work to a bigger blog or magazine first (as long as it fits stylistically, don’t submit like crazy and waste an editor’s time. That’s not a good reputation to have!). If you’re rejected from that popular blog, try a blog that isn’t in the limelight quite as much! This worked well for me! So my weddings were being featured, they just weren’t being featured on National wedding blogs and that’s ok!
– Respond quickly and professionally! This is your chance to connect. If you hear back from an editor, respond quickly and do everything you can to give them what they’re requesting. Eventually, as you grow as an artist, you may develop a style that really fits a certain publication or blog. You may even form a relationship with the editor and the he/she will look at your work and will ASK for content.
– Don’t be Discouraged with Print Submissions! If you haven’t noticed, magazines have their hearts set on FILM images these days. If you have a gorgeous, unique wedding and it’s not getting picked up for print, don’t be discouraged. It’s tough to make it into print (besides the Knot) if you’re not a film shooter or have the “look” of film. It’s just the season we’re in as an industry. Film is gorgeous and is in high demand in the publishing world! So if you’re digital and love bright colors and super sharp images, I can relate:) …. It just takes more work for us to have our work in print these days. :) Be patient and just keep submitting!
– Pay attention to the season you’re submitting in! You probably don’t want to submit a super summery wedding 2 months before fall arrives. Blogs will be wanting “FALL INSPIRATION”. Sometimes this isn’t always true but it’s good to pay attention to. Also, if you know that Southern Weddings magazine came out in December, I wouldn’t submit in January because that isn’t their season for picking content and your submission will probably get lost in the shuffle!
– STYLE your details! I’m teaching a break out class next week at the P31 conference about STYLING details and shooting with a feature in mind! I’m so excited that I even made little brochures with tips and tricks! :) When you’re shooting details of any kind, try your best to incorporate elements of the day to tie the theme together! And don’t use the excuse that you didn’t have enough details to style with. I have literally walked outside and plucked a weed out of the ground just to add some texture to an invitation shot! Get creative! This will come in VERY handy when you’re submitting!!