Shoot like an editor: <br> a photographer's guide to getting published

Shoot like an editor: <br> a photographer's guide to getting published

Do you ask yourself if you even need to get published anymore as a photographer?

We believe, depending on your goals as a business owner and artist, there is a real benefit from getting published.

* When your work is published in a catalog, magazine or on a blog you are essentially aligning your brand with theirs.
* Being able to put a trusted brand’s logo next to yours will help you essentially co-opt some of their credibility.
* Validation increases your confidence. As a business owner you need feedback on what you are producing.
* Having a goal to get published in your favorite publications will help propel you to create better work.

Becoming a published photographer is a complex process. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of being chosen for your submission.

Find your style and tell a story.

Your artistic style should be consistent and truthful to what you love to shoot. Your look should be consistent too. You will be vetted by the publications; make sure everything they find is 100% consistent and high quality.  If you love to shoot a variety of things, make sure you have multiple sites and social media accounts that match the publication to which you are submitting.

Make a plan.

A well thought out plan is going to drastically increase your chances of being published. Start by creating a database of local and national publications. Take note of where influencers and peers are being published, these should be at the top of your list. The list should also prioritize smaller publications in the beginning. Once you are published by smaller publications, you are more likely to be considered by larger publications.

Every magazine and blog has a slightly different artistic style. Choose publications that compliment your style. Your plan should include a list of what each publication requires. Include a submission schedule and guidelines. Never submit the same work to competing publications. Keep a record of what was sent to which publication in order to avoid any potentially embarrassing and career damaging situations.

Put yourself in the editor’s seat

Think about which of your photos would add the most value to their publication. Remember they look at many submissions each day.  It’s equally important to pay attention to what they recently published and what is seasonally relevant. If they just published a photo story of a trip to Iceland, don’t submit your trip to Iceland. Send new and fresh ideas.  Curating content is the editor’s job so provide them with fresh, original content and they will be more likely to jump at the chance to publish it.

Curate your submissions.

Don’t submit a bunch of photos. Only submit your best. Be intentional about your choices.
Send complete submissions. When a submission is turned in ready-to-use, it will increase the chance of it getting published.
Paint a story. Magazines tell stories. Create a story behind your images. Create a page mockup in the style of the publication, and don’t be afraid to send a couple variations. Make it easy for them to visualize what your work will look like in their publication.
Note: It can be easier to pitch an article vs. photography alone. If you have the story, write it.

Be persistent and patient.

Follow up! Don’t expect them to call you.  They receive many submissions so it’s up to you to follow up in an appropriate amount of time.  Engage, follow and interact with the editors and their publications on social media. Don’t be obnoxious, but subtly put yourself top of mind. If they see your name in many different places, they will remember it whether they are trying to or not.

Competition is fierce.  Perfect your portfolio. Fine-tuning your approach and be patient. Success takes time.

Photo for this article was created by photography training specialists, Smart.   Smart provides online photography courses that help take your photos to the next level. Click here to find out more.

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