Having your photos published brings a level of prestige and can give your studio the edge among discerning clients. It can also help you stand out among your competition.
Here are a few tips to get started:
Start with Blogs.
Because they’re updated daily—and often even more frequently—and incur little or no cost for publishing pics, blogs are a good place to start.
Local and regional magazines don’t have the kinds of big budgets national publications do, so you’ll have an easier time getting editorial pick-ups.
Submit as a Photographer.
Many outlets are wary of submissions from vendors, mostly due to potential copyright issues. However, as the photographer you own the images and have shared permissions from the subjects, making the publishers’ lives easier.
Stay current—and real!
Keep this in mind especially if you’re submitting wedding images. Wedding guides need to be up on the latest trends, and are particularly interested in real weddings. Share amazing, relatable photos and gorgeous detail shots—the shoes, table settings, bouquets. Don’t send black & white. A publisher can easily convert your color shots, but can’t convert back to color.
The hows of submitting: Most publishers have an email or online submission process, but you should still be mindful of what you’re sending. If it’s a number of huge files, for example, don’t clog up their inbox and, instead, send a customized CD or flash drive. No matter how you submit, make sure everything is labeled, including your name and contact, and that there are no watermarks. And remember, be sure to check any exclusivity clauses and issue close dates.
Write if you can.
A writer/photographer is a huge asset for smaller publications. If you can deliver a polished, professional article or post to go with your work, then do it!
Get on the list.
Most publications keep a running list of photographers to whom they reach out for editorial submissions—get on it! Try coming in as an advertiser and leveraging your buy for editorial inclusion. Or reach out to the junior editors and assistants who can add your name to important listservs.
Share, share and share.
Once you’ve been published, post it to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and your blog. Send tabbed copies or emails to those who are in the published photos, including the venue and vendors. For national publications, develop a press release and submit it to local outlets. And be sure to include all published work on your website in a section clearly labeled “PRESS.”
Remember, ask about shared permissions: Let your clients know you’re frequently published, and make sure they’re comfortable with any shared permissions. Most of the time they will be happy to see their photos in print or online and—bonus!—you’ve found a way to tout that you’re an accomplished, published photographer. But respect clients’ wishes not to be published: While copyright laws heavily favor the original creator it’s an emotionally charged issue and you’ll likely wind up with negative reviews or, worse, a lawsuit should photos be published without permission.
Now get shooting—and start submitting!