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Behind the Scenes with Rangefinder: How to Get Your Wedding Work Published

One of our favorite things to do here at ShootDotEdit (besides providing wedding photography editing services) is to share valuable information for you to implement into your wedding photography business. We also love to partner with leaders in the industry who can provide their insights to help you succeed.

In her first post with us, Editor-in-Chief of Rangefinder Magazine, Jacqueline Tobin, shared what qualities she and other judges look for in the 30 Rising Stars. Today, she’s sharing her top tips to getting your wedding work published. Publishing is an important part of reaching larger audience and sharing your style with potential clients. Read through her post to discover her expertise into the subject.

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About Me

  • Grew up shooting film and (practically) living in my basement darkroom.
  • Believe that photographs should be printed, held, touched and cherished.
  • Shameless Power of Print promoter (via Rangefinder and WPPI).

Here’s a revelation: Print is not dead! And, while wedding blogs have more than a solid footing in the industry (and are an amazing way to get your brand out there), I am suddenly getting more inquiries than ever before on tips for how photographers can get published in magazines as well. (Note: All of the following tips apply to blogs as well).

I.) Know the subject matter and figure out ahead of time what editors look for in an image for their specific book (or blog).

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Related: How can you highlight the details from the wedding day shoot?

An editor’s time is precious and ever fleeting. We are always on deadline and always being barraged with email solicitations. So…if I get an email with landscape images attached or wildlife shots, I skip right over it because Rangefinder is a wedding and portrait magazine! KNOW THAT BEFORE YOU SUBMIT.

  1. Do research on a magazine’s style and taste. Pick 3-5 publications you want to submit work to and really get a grasp of the style of imagery they are known for.
  2. Pitch story ideas to those magazines or send your best images that relate to a theme or monthly column and keep in touch (but don’t stalk!).
  3. Be aware of a magazine cover’s logo and format when submitting images for cover consideration.
  4. Cultivate a consistent look and then use it consistently through your own social media as well as through printed mailers and other pieces editors can put on their office walls (yes, we still do that).
  5. Ask for (or find online) an editorial calendar so you can submit work that’s aligned with a specific theme. And, be aware of the deadlines, as well as the seasons you are submitting in. For example, submitting a winter wedding in the beginning of summer will just push you to the back of the line, and by the following winter, your wedding will already be dated.

ALSO…

Don’t be afraid to show it all. Both wedding magazines and blogs alike crave variety and detail. And, location shots are a great way to establish sense of place as well as the honed in beauty of a specific wedding—from reception venue to wedding flowers and cake the to intricate beading or the delicate lace of a wedding dress and beyond.

Related: Are you using proper lighting techniques during the wedding day?

Go wide and dig deep. Images of lovely brides and grooms resonate with an audience, but so do the rest of the wedding party—show off the parents, the friends, the children…as I wrote last month, images of children at weddings (beyond just the ring bearer of flower girl) are everywhere right now and they add a refreshing element to a typical wedding portfolio—let’s see them dancing, eating, crying, and being precocious. These are more real—and precious—moments that often get overlooked during wedding coverage but shouldn’t.

Try this formula for submission amounts: 5-10 portraits, 5-10 detail shots and so on (surroundings, emotional highlights, first dance, venue standouts—lighting, architecture, etc). Most blogs and magazines will post how many images to submit…but if you don’t see a number, just ask. In other words, don’t send 500 images if their guidelines are 50-100 or 75-100.

II.)  Learn how to catch an editor’s attention…both offline and online

Most printed magazines these days have online components (website, blog, Instagram feed). Grab their attention online and it could lead to getting published in the printed publication as well. Catch an editor’s eye by trying these 3 steps:

  1. Tag on social media and ask to do an Instagram takeover.
  2. Submit work to blogs (like Rangefinder’s PhotoForward and Wedding of the Week, for example)
  3. Be on the grid—make sure your emails are visible and your years in business are readily available. There is nothing worse, as an editor, than finding a photographer whose work you love but then going to their website and having to fill out a form before you can locate their contact information. When that happens, I just move on to the next person on my list.

III.)  Think small, build big 

  1. Set your sights on local publications or smaller blogs first… and then try submitting a couple of weddings to a few favorite national magazines after you have some solid clips to show. 

In 2015, Rangefinder did a story on Arizona-based wedding photographers Amy and Jordan Demos. They’ve also spoken in the past at WPPI on “Getting Published in 5 easy Steps.” But at the start of 2013, the Demoses had never been featured nationally—anywhere. They decided to set a goal to get their work featured just once in a national publication.

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“Our very first feature was an editorial inspiration shoot for a one-year-old’s birthday party,” Amy told me at the time, “and it was featured on Grey Likes Baby, which is a really adorable national blog for new moms with style.” By the end of that year, Amy and Jordan’s work had been published nationally in over 15 publications—including People, E!, The Huffington Post, and Style Me Pretty—and they were able to build enough momentum, to double their bookings and prices for the following year.

  1. Befriend just one editor you’ve met at a portfolio review or a conference (like WPPI), and then slowly branch out and network with their contacts (this has to be organic; don’t be pushy and don’t hijack their iPhone or Facebook contacts!). If I really believe in a photographer’s work and talent, I am happy to introduce them to other editors who can help them reach their publishing goals if I can’t at that time. 

Good Luck!!

Jacqueline Tobin is more than happy to view your wedding submissions for Rangefinder’s Wedding of the Week (online), Wedding of the Month (print issue), or consideration for a future issue of Rf.  Email her at Jacqueline.Tobin@emeraldexpo.com. 

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The more you publish your images, the easier it becomes to share about your style and brand with ideal clients. Since the images you choose for publishing are crucial to your success, how do you always know which are the best options? In our Guide, created in conjunction with TwoBrightLights, we share 127 Essential Images from the Wedding Day. The list includes images your couples will cherish, and a ones publisher will love. Download your copy today!

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