Have you ever dreamed about seeing your pictures in the magazine?
Do you want your work to get published?
Getting published gives you an opportunity to show your work to different people and even more, to expose your work internationally.
It may seem like hard work because you need to learn something new, you need to reach out many people, and you will get a lot on rejection. At the same time, you will see how you grow in your art, which is always awesome.
Usually, projects for publications based on TFP (time for print) or test shots. You bring an idea to the creative team, photograph a series of shots and choose a few the best to submit to the magazine.
In this guide, you will know how to get your first publications.
Note: the high fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar almost never take submissions and have different publishing process.
Before you start sending your work to the magazines, define why you want it and what you want to get out of it.
Why do you want to get published?
- To get a good feeling of being published
- To try yourself out
- To get credits in the magazine and promotion
- To get more followers on social media
Getting a good feeling of being published
Getting published truly gives a good feeling. It inspires to work more and give self-confidence. Especially the first time it is something that you can show your friends and family and they will be proud of you.
Some people want it because others do that. That’s also fine if this is the only motivation for now.
Trying yourself out
You may also want to test yourself:
- To see who will accept your work/what levels of the magazines
- To understand how things work there
- To know how the process goes
- To check what are the requirements of the editors
- To find what works for you and what is not
If you had publications already it’s a jump to the higher lever of the magazines and see if they accept your work and what they are looking for.
In all of these cases working smart you can reach more.
Getting credits in the magazine and promotion
Publishing your photos and articles about your work is the way of getting more exposure. It is credibility for your current and future clients, agencies, editors, other publishers, etc.
They are the part of your portfolio, especially, if you want to build a career as a fashion photographer.
Whether or not your marketing strategy involves direct-marketing or a focus on building up social media presence, cover stories and editorials in magazines or websites are additional press for your name and your brand.
Even if you are not going to the fashion, find the magazines, which post similar to your style photographs and submit your work to them.
Getting more followers in social media
Followers are not your clients. Some of them can be, but most of them just like to follow your work and never will hire you.
However, think about them as your marketing tool. Social media is very popular now.
The more people are inspired by your portfolio, the more they will share it, the more new people will know about you.
In the end, those new may be brands, designers, agencies and others who will want to work with you. You never know who may contact you, especially if you showcase your work in the popular editions.
What to choose: online or print publication
There are two ways to be published: online and in print.
The print publication is limited by the number of the pages and often has a specific monthly theme of the edition. The editors are looking for the high-quality pictures.
For credibility and personal branding the print publication is better as people still value paper magazines more than online.
Getting published online is easier as these magazines (or online editions of the print magazines) accept more work. Also, they often out of the monthly theme of the print magazine.
|ONLINE MAGAZINE||PRINT MAGAZINE|
|Easier to get to get published. Online editions may publish more work.||Harder to get to get published as every edition can feature only limited amount of the photographers.|
|With the bigger online magazines: credit/link on them site to you and the team, shares, social engagements, followers.||Gives more credibility as people value print editions more. Better for portfolio and personal branding.|
|Mostly accept pictures without a specific theme, but still should follow the main genre of the magazine.||Often has a monthly theme.|
|Often could be published before on your social media accounts or in other magazines.||Requires exclusive publication. Shouldn’t be published anywhere before.|
|You can submit one or a few pictures and sometimes they do not require to have the series as often magazines feature only one image through social media or a few on the website.||Looking for the series of 4-10 pictures with the same concept, but different looks.|
|More loyal to the submitted images.||More strict to the quality of the pictures and the concept.|
|May share your photos also online, in digital magazines or through the social media.|
Try to get to the print, but webitorials are good too.
How to find magazines for publication
Go to Google and search:
- Fashion editorial submission
- Magazine submission
- Photography submissions guideline
- Webitorial submission (this is for online publication, but they may have the print edition too)
From the search result choose those, which close to the style you shoot. Some sites in the result won’t be even relative to the fashion photography, just skip them.
When you choose the magazines, look if they have the print edition or only online. Sometimes it’s hard to say how big is the audience of the magazine, but still, here are some criteria for helping to make a choice.
Check them social media channels.
What social media networks do they use?
Facebook has a huge audience. Instagram is getting more and more popular. Pinterest is fine too, but not as trendy as previous two. The rest social media channels are good to have but won’t give much promotion effect.
You can arrange them by the Facebook followers, as now it’s the most popular social media network in the magazine publication. The more followers they have, the more people will see your work if they share it online.
Group the sites you find to the categories:
- Less than 10 000 followers but more than 5000 (magazines with the fewer followers are usually very new to the industry)
- More than 10 000 followers
- More than 100 000 followers
Some magazines have a lot of Instagram followers and just a little on Facebook. If you focus more on Instagram, don’t ignore them, save them too, but maybe into a different list:
- A lot of Instagram followers
When you organize them to the groups, choose the sites and social media networks, which add credits to the author and the team as a link or tag your page. For online publishing that’s how people will find you, otherwise, you still will be an undiscovered artist.
It actually works great for everyone.
‘Win-Win’ tactic is when magazine shares your images online and tag you (and maybe your team) everyone get free promotion between magazine’s followers.
Give some love back. Share this post with your followers. In this case, the magazine may get new followers too.
If it’s very popular magazine with hundreds of thousands of followers, they may not add a link to you. Then think how else it may benefit you, for example, if it’s the popular print magazine (and print is always great) or it has a big online community.
ArtPeopleGallery.com has more than 4,5 million followers on Facebook. If they accept your work on the website, they will share your page through the Facebook.
They won’t credit you or your team in the Facebook post, but they will give the link to your ArtPeopleGallery page. There you are free to add links to your site, Facebook, Instagram, etc. No bad for some social media promotion, right?
Every time you send your images to the editor you should know what there is for you: print, social share, credit, chance to get to the new audience, etc.
Be smart. Don’t waste your time and energy to nothing.
From those three lists of magazines, which you created, the first one (with less than 10 000 followers) is for your first publications, for testing to see how it works there. If you have good pictures, it’s kind of easy to get published there.
The second group will be your primary focus at least for now as it requires better quality, but still easier to get published there.
For the third group of magazines, you should have high-quality pictures and a clear concept. Because they are already popular, more and more people want to send them photos for getting the print or/and social exposure.
No worry, it’s still possible to get there, just don’t expect it from the first submission.
Some of them don’t exist already, but many are keep growing and accept the submission.
However, do also your own research to find out new magazines, which better reflect your style.
How to submit your work to the magazine
Previously we searched by the “submission guidelines” keywords. Every magazine has its specific rules. Carefully read them. One of the reasons why people’s work get rejected is simply they don’t follow the guide.
Before you submit your work, check if they have an editorial calendar with the upcoming themes. It’s good to know what they will look for, shoot according to the topic and then submit.
Even if everyone has them own rules, there are still some things in common for many print magazines:
- Work shouldn’t be published before in any other magazines, not on your social media accounts, not on your website. It means nowhere.
After the print goes out, you can share your photos wherever you like.
But still, check the magazine rules. Some of them may have a rule that you are not allowed to publish them in other print editions for the certain period.
- The magazines require 4-10 pictures for submission. When you do a shoot, I suggest creating at least six different looks.
For fashion editorial, it’s changing clothes/style/accessories or major changes of the makeup/hair. It should look different.
For beauty editorial, it’s changing makeup, hair or adding accessories.
All the pictures for submission should look as one concept.
- If you shoot fashion editorial, write down the brand name of the clothes. Many editorial magazines require that.
- Check the deadline. Usually, you need to send your work at least 1-2 months in advance.
- Send the pictures in low-resolution format. If the magazine accepts them, send high-resolution photos upon request.
Keep your projects organized
After each shoot for publication, make a note with all the team members and location. Make sure you have them name (check the grammar!), website, social media accounts.
Think about the name of the editorial and the description. You will send everything or some of this information to the editor.
Sending your work to the editor
When everything is ready. Go through the guideline again and submit your photos. Typically, there is an email on the website where to send your pictures or the submission form.
Briefly introduce yourself, tell that you are submitting your work for print or online publication (webitorial), and mention for which theme/issue the series of your pictures.
The doubt point when you are sending emails to the editors is:
Did they actually get and read my email?
There is a service calls yesware, which tracks your email and lets you know when people open your email.
This is a plugin for Gmail or Outlook accounts.
After signing in up, you will have a free trial of the pro version. After it’s expired, you will need to switch to the paid plan.
When you write your email, check the box to track the email.
When someone open or take an action (like open a link in your email if you have it), you will get a notification in your account.
In that case, you will know, that people, at least, got and opened your email.
Analog of Yesware service is rocketbolt.com. It has a free plan with 100 tracked emails per month.
To monitor email actions you need to open a tab:
Some of the magazines may send you an auto respond, like:
Thank you for your submission. If your editorial has been accepted, an editor will personally respond.
Due to a high number of submissions we cannot get back to you if your editorial has not been accepted.
But often you won’t get even that.
If the editor or editorial team likes your work, they will send you an email asking about high-resolution pictures and team names with the credits.
After submitting your work, you just need to wait.
If you submitted to the monthly theme and nobody responded, after issue publication send your pictures to another magazine.
When there is no written deadline when they are going to review your work, then you just wait and keep sending your work to other magazines.
Artpeoplegallery.com replied to my submission in more than half of the year after I sent them the pictures:
Thank you for your submission, it has been received by the Artpeoplegallery.com editorial staff.
CONGRATULATIONS! Your artwork has been selected for Artpeople Gallery Website!
And it took a little more time before publishing photos on them website.
SolisMagazine replied in a year telling that they accepted the project.
Send your work to many magazines. Especially, in the beginning, there won’t be much response. If someone didn’t reply, send to others.
After your work got published
Congratulations! You got your work published. After the magazine is out, the editorial team will send you the tear sheets. Unfortunately, they don’t send prints.
Now you can share the pictures on your social media and show on the website. Share them with your team, tag each other, and credit to all team members. It is your cross-promotion time.
Always open the doors for yourself, because the door won’t be open for you by itself.
If you want to get published, you need to submit your work a lot.
The problem, which some people are facing, is a lack of self-confidence. Think about this as a game to see who will accept your work.
These doubts often comes to the people even before they start sending pictures to the magazines:
- Is my work good enough to be published?
You never know till you try. By the way, this is your work. That is how you see the world. Stand out for this and look for the ways to improve.
- What if they won’t accept it?
Send your work to another publisher. Get ready; many of them won’t even respond you.
- I’m from the small town, nobody knows me, why anyone will want to publish my work?
There are many magazines, which publish the good work of anyone. You no need to be famous to get published.
Here is a brilliant book for every artist, the source of the inspiration to get out of your comfort zone:
‘Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success’ by Mark McGuinness (Read a review)
It is the must-to-read book for all creatives, especially if don’t feel comfortable in your work and have a fear of rejection.
Getting into the publishing will gain your experience and develop your brand. Good luck!
If you have any questions about how to get published, let me know in a comment below. What is your experience in publishing?
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