As a wedding photographer for almost 10 years, Lara White has always loved the business side of photography. She shares her passion for business and marketing strategies with photographers through her PhotoMint blog and recently authored a free book for photographers interested in learning how to get their images published. Follow Lara on Twitter.
Want to get published? Follow these easy 4 steps and you will be on your way to creating images that wedding magazines find irresistible.
The first thing you need to know is that wedding magazines and blogs are all about details. Their readers can never get enough details. So that right there should tell you that your submission needs to be at least 75% or more details, and you need to have that on your mind when you are shooting your next wedding that you think has a shot at getting published.
1. Plan Ahead
Take the time to plan ahead for your shoot and how to get the most out of it. Speak with the planner and the florist to get an understanding for the décor and the florals. Will there be a cool escort card table, and if so, how will you capture it prior to the guests spilling into the cocktail hour? How about ceremony details-can you get to the ceremony area prior to the guests, in time to capture how the ceremony looks prior to guests putting their purses down and otherwise cluttering up the area? Ask the catering manager to keep the reception doors closed until the reception, and that you’ll be coming in for a few minutes to capture the room before the doors open.
2. Allow Plenty Of Extra Time For Capturing Details
It takes time to capture details in a way that “sells” them. Allow yourself the extra time needed to spend time in the reception finding just the right angle for capturing the centerpieces. Arrive early while the bride is just starting makeup, and you’ll have plenty of time to “play” with the details in the bride’s room. These can include the dress, shoes, jewelry, bouquet, invitation and other items with personal meaning.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Rearrange & Declutter
Nothing ruins a great detail shot like a half empty glass or a partially eaten plate of appetizers. Think of your detail shots like a product shot. You want the image to “sell” that detail. It’s OK to rearrange things a bit or remove bits of clutter from your image. Think of yourself as styling the details. It’s perfectly ok to take the salt and pepper shakers (or the table number sign if it’s ugly) off the table for your shots of the centerpiece. Take the bouquet out of the cardboard delivery box and find a beautiful spot with nice lighting. It only takes a moment and will vastly improve your images.
4. Consistent Photoshop Style
If you create certain looks or styles in Photoshop, be consistent. For example if you go for a desaturated vintage look on some of your images and some of them are just in a “standard” look. Most magazines and blogs prefer to have all the images in a set done as a consistent style and look. Otherwise the overall theme and feeling of the images is lost.
The more time you spend working on mastering the art of detail shots, the better you’ll become. And the better you are at capturing details, the more likely you are to find your images in the next issue of your favorite wedding magazine. If you’d like to learn more tips about getting published, check out Get Published: A Guide for Wedding Photographers.
It takes time and patience to learn to create images magazines will be interested in publishing, but it’s well worth the investment of time, because your brides will love those images too.
Remember – You can pick up Lara’s e-book, Get Published for free. No strings attached. I’ve read it and it’s full of great, actionable topics. Get it now!
One thing I wanted to add is that you might wonder whether it is worthwhile to put all the time into getting published. The truth is, getting published in and of itself doesnt make the time and effort worthwhile. What does make it worthwhile, is when you use your press as a tool to generate more publicity. Most people are not going to see that tiny little credit in the crack of the magazine and then look up your number and call to book you. It doesn’t work that way. However, when you promote the publicity via your blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. that’s a start. The real benefits come when you do things like send a copy of the magazine to the bride-she’s going to keep it in her purse and show all her friends. Send a copy to the venue or the planner, and you’ll get the same kind of results. Tag the other vendors on your Facebook post and share the credit with them. Send the wedding team scans of the piece for their own publicity, so they can share it with their brides. Now we’re getting somewhere. There is so much more you can do:
-Have a sample album made of a wedding that you know is going to be featured in a mass market magazine that is likely to get seen a lot. Now when brides see that sample album during your consultation, they are likely to recognize the wedding, and you can keep a copy of the magazine on hand to show them. You can also feature the wedding on your website, and this builds recognition when brides have a feeling that they’ve seen this work somewhere else.
-Some magazines will offer you a box of the issue to share with prospective brides. We include a notecard at the start of the feature to draw their attention to it, and what bride doesn’t appreciate a free bridal magazine? When we have these we hand them to everyone who comes in for a consultation and will even mail them out to prospective clients.
-Let planners know that by working with you, their work is likely to get published. Most planners place editorial coverage high on their list of marketing wants, so you can bet those planners are going to pay more attention to you (send referrals) if they understand that you are going to help them with that.
So it’s really all about using that press as a way to promote your work and connect with the vendor team in order to cross promote and generate referrals. It’s a LOT of work, but we’ve landed some incredibly lucrative weddings specifically from our features, so I can say it’s well worth the time if you use it as a tool for promotion.