Unlike today's landscape in the photography industry, getting your work published used to be the only way to get your photos seen by the masses. With the rise of self-publishing social media platforms and personal photography websites, one can see that the number of ways of showing your work to the world has increased, but has it made getting your work published any less important? Our view is no, it hasn't.

Why do you want to get published, is it for credibility for your profile, bragging rights, or satisfaction? Whatever the reasons, we all have many I'm sure, making your profile more credible gives a little added extra weight to your work and will make aiming your sights higher and higher that little bit easier as your experience grows.

It is true print is in decline, but online submissions are plentiful, despite not having the gratifying turn of a page that a magazine does, you can broaden your audience and online following significantly with online submissions. Not as tangible perhaps, but definitely nothing wrong with it!

 

 

Next up is some key points and benefits of submitting your work to publications...

Firstly, contact publications directly: Get on with the 'doing' rather than just 'wanting'; people can spend their whole lives just 'wanting' and never actually 'do' anything.

The general approach to getting published is by contacting publications directly, them coming to you first is rare. Publications also include blogs on various photo companies' websites (e.g Abobe, Affinity, Billingham Bags etc..) which can help raise your profile.

Don't forget that when you're getting your work published you are aligning your name, your brand, with that of the publication. You are drawing parallels between your style and theirs, and increasing the strength of your profile and brand. Putting their brand next to yours, in turn, allows some of their credibility to flow over to you. Not to mention that it validates and increases your confidence. You can't deny the emboldening power of positive feedback. It also galvanises you to continue to make great work. Having goals such as getting your work published in your favourite publications will propel you to make better and better work.

 

 

Next, email writing skills: master the art of composing a compelling email!

First impressions are almost as important as your photos. Don't be lazy and copy and paste your text, or use a flurry of emojis and abbreviations. You want to show that you are informed, and well researched - this person you're writing to probably receives many pestering emails.

  1. So find exactly who you have to email, find with Google Search, LinkedIn etc, be polite and courteous, use a proper greeting, not "Hey there", and address them by their proper name.
  2. Make sure what you write and your work is 100% relevant. Select your work carefully. You want everything you send from your photos to your writing to be top quality.
  3. Make sure there are no errors, grammatically or spelling wise, don’t just rely on spell-check. (Grammarly is generally great though)
  4. No copy and pasting, and don’t send the same message to half the industry!
  5. Paint a story. Magazines sell stories. Write the story behind your images (literally or metaphorically). Create a page mockup in the style of the publication, and don’t be afraid to send a couple of variations. Make it easy for them to visualize what your work will look like in their publication.
  6. Don't forget to give links to your photography website and social media accounts.
  7. Show all of your contact information in a clear and orderly way.

Be professionally persistent and don’t give up! Wait a couple of weeks then send a follow-up email. Resist the urge to call unless explicitly asked to do so. Harassment will not get you anywhere with editors. One technique for getting noticed is to follow and interact with the editors and their publications on social media. Try to subtly put yourself at the top of their minds.

Here are some potential reasons why no one's got back to you:

  • Sadly your work is not as good as you think it is. You must be your worse critic!
  • Your work was not relevant, you sent fashion shots to a food editor
  • Despite the advice… your email was rubbish and full of spelling errors
  • You caught them at a busy time and they didn’t read your email
  • You emailed the wrong person
  • They recently covered a very similar body of work, not wanting to bore their audience

A top way to identify who best to approach in terms of potential publications is to look at your competitors, people in your niche who shoot similar stuff of similar quality and have already been published. A lot of them will talk about where their work was published, usually a section on their website called “Features”. Or if you're on PurplePort.com, in their Profile Notes.

 

 

To conclude, don’t rely on photography skills alone - improve your writing skills today. Your photos coupled with a strong and passionate writing style will give so much more weight to your submissions to publications. It might be worth considering writing an article illustrated with your selected works and submitting that along with your wonderfully engaging and concise email. Whoever you’re contacting won’t be needing to come up with as much original content of their own in that case, and they’ll be grateful to you for making their lives easier. And people love that. Remember though, keep it relevant, polite, and improve your writing. For some magazines, photography alone simply isn’t enough.

Note: 'Why not contact publications which have nothing to do with photography itself but a lot to do with another one of your passions/interest? Say for example you're a landscape photographer but on the side, you love taking photos of classic cars. Contact classic car publications. Or if you love gardening... gardening mags...' - Nico Goodden

To help you a little further here are some useful links to get you on your way to becoming a published photographer:

 

Photography by Russ FTL: Facebook, Instagram, Website - Thank you from the PurplePort Team :)

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