I get asked this question a lot, and recently I was asked to give a short talk on tips for getting a wedding published, so I decided… why not share? You can view the full presentation here, but it is lacking what I actually said in person, so here goes!
Why get published? This may seem like a “duh” question because you are here reading this, but there are some reasons you may not have thought about for being published.
- Gain exposure for your business. Getting published opens up a whole new realm of people who will view your work.
- Build relationships with wedding publications. If you start getting published, the source will recognize your name, and you will be more likely to get published with that source again after a positive experience.
- Have credibility. Many sites have buttons that you can add to your site, which will show that you are a published photographer.
- Create social media buzz. We all love social media! Getting published provides fun and interactive content for your friends and followers to share in the good news.
- It will increase inward and outbound links. With crediting publishers will link to your website, which helps with SEO as do outbound links if you blog about getting published or add a button linking back to the publisher’s site.
- Provides camaraderie within your local wedding vendor community. If a wedding you photograph gets published, that means that not only you get credit but the venue, florist, makeup artist… etc. all end up getting kudos. How nice!
- It feels great to get published!
Think outside of the box! Obviously submitting weddings is very popular, but have you thought about submitting wedding related photography? Here are a few examples of things you can submit (as long as they are great!).
- real weddings
- styled weddings
- rehearsal dinners
- engagement sessions
- bridal portraits
- bridal showers
- bachelor/ette parties
- day after sessions
BUT also think about non-wedding related photography as there are many blogs and magazines out there. The possibilities are endless, but here are just a few. Actually having your work on a few different types of blogs and print media will vary the exposure you will get.
- home decor
- diy projects
Where do I start? The best thing to do is actually research the media outlets where you would like your work featured.
- Check for their specific submission instructions. Ours are here, and on many sites they are easily found and will tell you about how many images, what types and in what format. Check it out before submitting!
- Fill out their submission information fully. They tell you what to include for a reason. Be sure to abide what their wants are, and fill it all out as best as you can!
- Find out if they are exclusive. Many media sources want exclusivity – or at least first dibs – and they will not publish anything that has been shown somewhere else. It loses the excitement when it has been seen before. If they are exclusive, a good rule of thumb is print first, then web. For my personal preference, I am exclusive with Hill City Bride blog, and I am a little more picky with submissions to clutch, the bride’s guide to have and to hold since it only comes out once a year.
- Be familiar with the media outlet to whom you are submitting. You don’t want to submit a fru-fru wedding to an offbeat type of blog, so just be sure you know what type of look the media outlet is going for before you submit.
What makes a great submission?
- It’s ALL in the details. Okay, maybe not all, but it’s still a high draw when there are lots of details. The bride obviously wants photos of sweet moments and fun with friends, but when it comes to blogs, they do not want to see a plethora of family portraits and late night dancing. What we do want to see are the details so that brides can get some ideas. This means the cake, favors, flowers (all of them including boutonnieres), centerpieces, seating charts, place cards, signage, pew decor, invitations, shoes, dress details, hair details, jewelry, makeup… etc. It’s a lot, but that is what is going to give the brides the ideas they are going for when they look at magazines and blogs.
- Submit cohesive images that are the same style and similar lighting. Editing all with one style is so nice and key to a great submission. Be consistent! Also, bright day images don’t mix well with dark/yellow night images, so cultivate what you are sending.
- Keep the photos simple and uncluttered. A media source is going to give the submission a quick glance, so be sure that what you are photographing stands out, and send uncluttered images.
- Be unique! If you are seeing trends on Pinterest and there is a LOT of the same thing, don’t copy it when doing a styled shoot. Truly think outside of the box with this. If it’s all over the place, it’s overdone! That is one bad thing I see about all of this Pinterest and blogging… we get sick of seeing great ideas in a hurry.
- Submit 100-150 images. Again, do what the media source says, but don’t just submit 20. It doesn’t give the source any to choose from, and chance are you can’t give a full scope in 20 or even 40 photos.
- Describe the event in your own words. Write from the heart in the introduction. Did you connect with the bride? How was this wedding unique? What struck you as an intimate observer? Share away, but don’t write a book, either.
- Include words from the bride about her day. We love this! Sentimental words, special moments and fond memories… include a tidbit or two about the bride and about their story as a couple.
- Credit other vendors and include links. Yes, yes and YES. I do not want to spend time researching the vendors so that I can link to them, and I am not a big fan of just crediting the photographer. Give kudos to everyone! You wouldn’t have beautiful images to submit if many vendors didn’t work to make it a spectacular event.
- Don’t submit too many events to one source at the same time. You have 5 amazing weddings. You give them to me all at once. I will most definitely shuffle through quickly and pick a favorite. If they are all publish worthy, maybe wait until one is published or at least accepted and then submit again.
- Be kind and personable in your contact. Being kind and respectful goes a long way!
So, all of that to say, have fun and submit those weddings… to whomever! My last piece of advice? If you don’t get a “yes” try again and also ask why. You never know what you will learn from a “no”. Happy submitting!
PS. I also wanted to take the time to list a few “pet peeves” or problems I encounter at times, so here are a few extra pieces of advice.
- Please try to list and credit ALL of the vendors. If a wedding or event is featured, and the blogger doesn’t have all of the information, they tend to get emails (sometimes not so nice!) from participating vendors who aren’t credited. Media outlets can only work with the information given, but it is also human to make mistakes!
- Promote the post on social media. Just like a blog is using their platform to promote you and showcase your work, please, please, PLEASE do the same and share the love on your social media platforms. Post the blog to Facebook. Show a photo on Instagram and direct them to the publisher’s Instagram account or blog. It’s a tad disappointing to spend a lot of time working to promote an event only to have crickets chirping from the submitter, so share the love!
- Again, please read the submission information! I know some of the information can be lengthy, but please read through all of a particular blog’s standards before asking questions.
PPS. What am I specifically looking for? I only take Virginia based weddings and events, unless it is a DIY project or collaboration that I am involved in. I am looking for detail filled events – and I LOVE showcasing different brides when I can – ethnicity, age range, size range. Feel free to send things my way!