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photographers guide to getting published
Let’s talk about getting published! As a photographer, you have probably heard that you should be submitting your work to be featured. There are many benefits to having your work featured on a blog or inside a magazine. For internet-based features like blogs and e-magazines, you benefit from the SEO (search engine optimization) boost when a high-traffic website links back to your website. This is super valuable for getting a better google ranking! Features are also great for building social proof around your brand, and is essentially free marketing directly to your target audience. Also, I think we can all admit it feels awesome to see our work featured, especially in print! I know this process can be a little confusing so I’ve created a simple checklist to walk you through it. Grab a copy of the photographer’s guide to getting published checklist so you can be sure not to miss any of these important steps as you submit.

Ok! Now you know it’s important to get featured and the benefits are amazing, so how do you start?

Know your ideal publication/blogs.
Before you invest time into the whole submission process (and boy does it take time!), know the aesthetic of your work and where it might fit well. You’ll notice blogs and magazines range greatly in the types of work they feature and the look and feel they tend to gravitate towards.

For example, if your work is gritty and features unique details, it could be a great fit for a blog like Green Wedding Shoes. If your work leans more romantic and airy, Style Me Pretty will be your best friend! All my DIY lovers will find Wedding Chicks is all about those handmade details.

As you do your research, make note of the publications you think could fit nicely with your work and follow them to see the kind of work they feature. As you get experience going through the submissions process, finding the right magazine or blog for your work becomes easier.

Anne Arundel County Bridal Guide 2016

Shoot with getting published in mind.
Because detail photos make up 70-80% of features, I take extra time to style my detail photos. The better the detail images, the more likely it is to be featured! I have a styling kit that I bring along with me to all weddings and engagement sessions. The kit includes ribbons (I use Adorn Co.,) vintage stamps, a pretty hanger for the gown (from BHLDN), and a command hook to hang the dress anywhere. These styling aids, in my opinion, really take detail images to the next level and make them appear much more polished. I also try to photograph details both vertically and horizontally so that the editor has options for the layout of the feature. Keeping these things in mind as you shoot can really help you out when your work is being considered for feature.

Here’s a closer look at some of what I carry inside my styling kit!

photography styling kit by Joy Michelle

Read all requirements before submitting.
When a given publication says they don’t want to see watermarks on photos, or dancing reception images, they mean it! I have even seen a friend of mine get turned away from a blog because the images did not meet the size requirements. All these little details really matter. Don’t risk being turned away for such an avoidable reason after you’ve spent the time making the images and curating a submission.

Build relationships.
Seek to make genuine relationships with editors and bloggers. They’re human too, so let’s remember to give them a little love. They like to see you use their first name in your submission instead of a generic template. Just imagine how much more likely they are to consider your images when you have gone to the effort to find out and use their name.

More thoughts & tips.
Submissions do take a fair bit of time, but I think of it as an investment into the marketing end of my business. There are options to streamline the submissions process. The tool Two Bright Lights is a paid subscription service that makes the process a little quicker and shares the images with vendors at the same time. There are many high-end blogs that don’t accept submissions from the Two Bright Lights platform however, so consider your submission goals before you sign up.

Blogs and magazines are a little like fashion. You’ll notice that publications tend to stay ahead of the seasons to provide inspiration for their readers. They also schedule their publication calendar pretty far in advance, so a winter wedding feature will need to be submitted months before it’s actually winter. This delay between when you submit and when the images are featured is even longer for print. Sometimes we cannot control when we photograph a shoot (like a wedding) but styled shoots are the perfect chance to be ahead of the season.

Get the most from your feature after you’ve been published.
Ok, so a blog or magazine has decided to share your work. YAY! Here are my tips for getting the most from that feature.

  • Share the news on your social media platforms.
  • Comment on the post (if it’s a blog post) and thank them for featuring you.
  • Grab a badge (most blogs provide one) and display it on your website & blog with a link back to your post.
  • Let other vendors involved know about the feature so they can also share.
  • Cheers to your feature!

I hope these tips help you to share your work and get published! If you haven’t already, be sure to grab a free copy of the submissions checklist and check out the post 6 Ways to Find Wedding Photography Clients in the first year!

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