Learn which photos to submit, which publications to pursue, and how to impress photo editors. Get published with these straightforward steps!
When photographer Kyleen Cleaver and designer Stacey Fay began collaborating on a styled shoot for submission, they were certain of two things: their inspiration would be the 1920’s-era Netflix series Peaky Blinders, and they must have their work published.
For six months, Kyleen and Stacey researched, planned, purchased, and prepared. The result was an authentically styled photography project perfect for publication. Explore Kyleen and Stacey’s challenges below, and getting your photo submissions published with our five-step process.
How to Submit Photos to Magazine
Submitting photos to magazines involves a process. You must choose which photographs to submit, find the right magazine to send your images submission, and understand submission guidelines before a magazine accepts your submission.
Step One: Know What You Want?
Recognition as a professional photographer is fun, without a doubt! However, make sure you define why you’re submitting photos. Consider your photography portfolio.
You’ve filled it with the genre and style of images you most want to produce, right? You must create and select your photography submissions with the same approach.
Stay Focused on Your Brand Voice
All publicity impacts your photography brand – for worse or for better. You must stay in control of your brand voice, and be choosy about which publications you pursue.
Look for particular magazines that fit well with your type of photography. Your submission is best enhanced when it’s shared by a blog, online, or print magazine whose values align with your brand vision.
Determine What’s Your Reason for Publishing Your Work
You must establish why you want to submit photos and publish them, which will help you refine your photo submissions. Here are some examples:
- Reach a broader audience with your images
- attract more ideal client
- build your reputation in the photography industry
“Metrics are great for many things, but sometimes you just need to dive into a creative project that feeds the soul. Passion projects help turn your creative energy and business in directions you couldn’t imagine.”
Step Two: Where Do You Like To Be Published?
Not every photography genre or style suits every publication. Make sure that the photography magazine appreciates your style before you submit a project to their blog or magazine.
Each magazine has its preferred post-production style, and they would publish images that complement their brand’s look and feel.
“We focused on vintage-minded publications.”
Magazines That Accept Photography Submissions
Whether you prefer print or online magazine, there are many magazines that accept submissions. Be sure to take time and read their guidelines before submitting images.
Outdoor Photographer: The Outdoor Photographer magazine is for those who have unique techniques in photographing nature, travel, wildlife, and adventure sports. However, the Outdoor Photographer magazine doesn’t accept digital photo submissions, so you would need to send a maximum of 20 physical copies in the mail.
F-Stop Magazine: For photographers who prefer digital submissions, F-Stop Magazine publishes different genres per issue. The photography magazine’s website has detailed instructions on how to send files.
Monrowe: Monrowe is a New York-based magazine that accepts photojournalism submissions from around the world. The magazine prefers photographers who can send submissions relating to visual storytelling, fine art, and fashion editorials.
One Magazine: One Magazine is another New York-based photography magazine with specific guidelines for accepting high-end fashion editorials, fine art, and womenswear submissions.
Atlas: While this photography magazine no longer has a print version, it continues to accept photography submissions that focus on fashion and editorial. It also has a quarterly issue.
Dwell: Dwell is another magazine that has an online and print version. It’s one of the best magazines that accept submissions via email.
Ask Yourself: Do Your Styles Align?
- Does the magazine or website prefer color or black and white images?
- Are their images bright and airy, or moody and dramatic?
- Do they focus on details, portraits, or moments?
- What audience does the magazine speak to?
- Do you love this magazine, and would you read it yourself?
“We researched publications that might be a good fit and took a risk by pitching solely to Vintage Life and Style. Since they are an exclusive publication, we couldn’t publish elsewhere if they accepted our project. However, getting published by them was worth the risk, so we took it!”
Understand Submission Guidelines
Remember that each magazine may have different criteria, so be sure to read their websites for submission guidelines. These are often the most important details for submission.
- The image should depend on the theme, composition, or subject.
- File name format
- Image file type
- Image resolution: To ensure image quality, don’t submit lower than the magazine’s minimum image resolution, or else your image won’t scale properly.
- Post-processing limitations: Can you edit an image heavily or use graphics before submitting?
Step Three: Curate Your Submissions
Appeal to your dream clients and the magazine’s target audience by carefully curating the photographs you submit. If a magazine doesn’t demand exclusivity, you may be able to repurpose your submission for multiple publications. For magazines that accept photography submissions, simply create a unique gallery of submissions for each photo editor.
For example, most wedding blogs go for detail shots galore! A lifestyle magazine, however, will focus more photojournalistic images that feature people.
Create a Template for the Submission Process
After curating your submissions, it would be best to use a form to speed up your submission process. Each magazine may have its own instructions, although these are essential information you should include for submission.
- Full name
- Contact number
- Email address
Step Four: Show What You Desire to Shoot
You already book amazing clients who want exactly what you do well. If you’re like most photographers, however, you can never have too many dream clients.
Determine why you’re yearning to publish your submissions. How will you achieve your goals? Define your top three goals, and focus on the steps that will get you there.
Send Your Best Work
Book more dream clients by showcasing truly only the best examples of your preferred style and genre. If you don’t yet have many magazine-worthy images, plan a portfolio-building session or launch a passion project. These include:
- styled shoots
- free sessions offered in exchange for signed model releases
- personal projects
- any photography that gets you the images you need in order to book the clients you want
“The biggest benefit of the Peaky Blinders photo shoot was the way it elevated our individual brands. Many people in our network responded positively – and immediately – to the photos. Getting published in a major magazine delivered a ‘wow’ factor. It was a real feather in our cap!”
Step Five: Get Your Submissions Published – Period
Sometimes you’ll try and try (and try some more), and publications won’t publish your photography submissions. Don’t give up! Even when different publications reject your submission email, you can still maximize your exposure and make your work work for you.
Maybe your dream was to get your work on “Fancytime Megabride Magazine.” If they don’t appreciate your talent, however, consider submitting to “Basic Bride Magazine” instead. It may not be as exciting, but you’ll still earn bragging rights when you get published – and reach a new audience.
“For me, the freedom to create is the key to staying happy and content.”
Ask for Feedback
Some photo editors will tell you why they didn’t publish your submissions. But if they won’t or don’t, ask a respected colleague to review your submission. While a photographer friend may do this for a cup of coffee, you can also purchase a portfolio review from a pro you don’t already know. Constructive honesty is the most important factor in any review.
Remember Your Photography Blog
When someone else won’t publish your submission, you should publish your work with an article! If you’re diligent, your photography blog can become your best source of referrals.
What Works for You?
What are your ways to get your photo submissions published? How do you follow submission guidelines? Have your submissions brought you more potential clients?
Share your tips and ideas below!