Are you looking to get your work featured in publications? Granted this is not something for everyone, but many photographers have been asking for some tips and tricks that could help you get published.
Why get published? Well, it doesn’t hurt, that’s for sure. If you’re trying to build your own following or build your own business, it can help build credibility.
I seem to have been very lucky with over the last few years in getting images selected and in particular, being a featured photographer and artist in quite a few publications.
Sadly many hard copies (or paper) magazines and publications have disappeared and are now digital-only, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for content. The truth is, you probably aren’t going to get rich doing this, but that’s not the only reason for doing it. If truth be told, I have had precious few paid spots, but I still get a kick out of seeing my stuff in print. So hopefully these tips and tricks may help you get your foot in the door.
Is your work a good fit?
When sourcing publications to submit your work to, make sure your work is a good fit for their overall style and aesthetics. No point sending Goth fashion to fairy rags, right?
Often many of the magazine or publications you follow are for a reason. You like what you see and it often inspires you and suits your style. These are a great place to start. If you aspire to a particular genre, that’s great, but you may need a small portfolio, to begin with.
Do your research
Don’t just send random emails. Sometimes editors may, in fact, be in charge of several publications and just sending willy nilly to anyone and every one proves you’re not serious. Most publications have a Facebook group with details on how to submit. There is frequently information within their publications as well.
Often joining their social media fan groups is a great idea, too. They often have competitions (some for prizes, some for glory only) and ask followers to post images on the page. I have been asked to submit images for future publications by doing just that. It can also give you a feel for what they might be looking for. And just because you images are not selected for the very next issue, it may be that they have been selected for another.
Join THEIR click
Many publications have an entire fandom, with social media private groups and events, workshops and more. It can pay to move within these circles.
I am a paying member of a few artistic groups who regularly put out incredible publications. I still have to submit images, but I am a regular contributor and has helped me build my own following. Getting to be a regular contributor to these publications has led to shoutouts, mentions in social media and coveted featured spots. Like I said — it doesn’t hurt your profile.
Only send your best work
If you are sending in images for a publication, don’t send just random images — make sure they are your best current work. Consider sending in one or two from a series, with links where they can see more.
Give an artists statement and biography as well, especially if you’re not a regular. List where they can see more of your work. But keep your emails short and to the point. Often publications are looking for single items, but occasionally they want more of a series.
Know the rules
It’s a good idea to know exactly what is expected of your submissions. Many publications have quite strict rules on maximum or minimum sizing, PPI and resolutions. Often they may ask for no more than one or possibly five images, while others don’t care. Some publications actually have a web portal for submissions and won’t accept via email.
Some magazines will only accept images that have NEVER been seen on any form of social media, too. So watch out for those. Often there is no formal contract — you are agreeing to their terms and conditions by submitting. So read their rules and terms.
Make sure your images are for one use only type deal (as well as any promotional coverage you may get). Check that you’ll receive full credit and link backs (where applicable).
Find out if they will mention hair and makeup artists, designers and models. Many do not, so I always mention them when I put up a post. Make sure you get all names and links correct. It’s one thing if they make a mistake — just don’t you make it too.
This goes both ways … more often than not you will not get paid. Sorry, but it’s true. Some publications actually ask for payment to submit! It doesn’t mean they aren’t legit, it’s just how they work. Make sure you read the rules and regulations. If you don’t control your copyright, consider going elsewhere. Likewise, if they won’t even give you a tear sheet of your page, and can only see it IF you buy a copy … well I think that’s a bit rude.
I once submitted to a magazine (one I normally don’t, but my model asked me too). As I didn’t receive a tear sheet and I didn’t pay for a copy, unbeknown to me they put the wrong credit on the wrong images and even got my name wrong! Of course, they apologized and put a retraction in the next edition, but my name was not in print with my images. Most magazines will at least give you access to a free digital copy.
A final word
Some publications will offer payment in the form of free advertising space or link backs and such. These can be handy too. Often, once you have submitted you may hear nothing for months (or ever) and you can assume for whatever reason your images did not win them over. Try again with different images and a different approach.
If you have received a “thanks, but no thanks” email, politely and respectfully ask if there was a perceived flaw in your work if there was a particular reason it was not suitable. Some may respond, others may not. Do NOT take this as a negative thing — if the criticism is constructive, take it on board. Learn from it. Try again. Any time you put yourself and your work out there, there is an occasion for negative feedback. Learn to live with it, and move on.