Expert Advice: Getting Your Wedding Published
When the much anticipated wedding day has come and gone, what’s left is just as special – the remnants of a beautiful celebration eagerly awaiting an artists’ digital paintbrush. After the meticulous process of reviewing, editing and finalizing a couple’s photos has been done, the final product will not only delight the recipients as a treasured keepsake, but also as a noteworthy chapter in a photographer’s master collection. And while the long-awaited delivery of a couple’s wedding photos or video is priority, showcasing that work to prospective clients will help you maintain a strong marketing funnel and nurture your client acquisition flow. Understanding what makes a stand-out submission is critical to ensuring your work finds its proper home. These three tips will help you navigate the process and provide you with the tools needed to submit confidently and with great success.
1.) Play by the rules: Navigating each blog or media’s unique submission requests can be a challenge. Each one will undoubtedly differ in their preferences – from their exclusivity policy, the number of photos, size, additional description needs, vendor crediting, etc… Most submission guidelines will be easily found on the website or in a magazine’s Media Kit. Remember that the guidelines have been made for a reason, and deviating from the policies can instantly land your submission in the trash. If an editor has to come back to you for elements you didn’t include the first time around, it looks like you haven’t done your due diligence. The same applies for exclusivity – be patient to hear back from one outlet before submitting the same wedding to another. It will help you maintain a good relationship with the editors and give you the opportunity to use their feedback for future submissions. Make sure that the file names for your images are titled correctly, clearly labeled with the photographer’s name, the couple’s name, and the wedding details if possible (Samantha Perry & Dan Smith — 12/21/12 — Boston, MA — Photos by StopGoLove). Finally, always remember to include a complete vendor list, with proper sourcing, website and social media links. The less heavy lifting an editor needs to do on his or her own, the better.
2.) Challenge yourself: If there is a blog or publication rising higher and higher on your wishlist, study them. Shoot the wedding celebration with your usual artistic eye, and use what you’ve learned about the target publication to inspire your work, perhaps adding in a few unique and bold perspectives you may not otherwise be encouraged to look for. Blogs and mainstream wedding media look forward to submissions that go far beyond the ordinary. Editors are interested in pronounced details that make an event one-of-a-kind. It could be the non-traditional color palette that somehow works in harmony with the decor, a surprising guest book display, specialty catering set up or wow-worthy floral installation. Likewise, authentic photos that illicit true emotion are almost immediate winners – a sentimental parent/child embrace, first-look, or getting ready photo will always be a welcome addition to a submission. Comical candid photos of children or guests can also be a great way to illustrate your personality and show your versatility as an artist. A few small but noteworthy detail shots can easily shift an editor’s perspective of your entire collection. While some media or blogs simply publish slideshows or a small photo sampling through your online vendor profile, others prioritize a captivating narrative to complement stunning imagery in their features. If there is an epic love story to tell, make sure to give the editor all the sweet details in your submission.
3.) Be the reader: Rethink the publishing cycle by starting with the reader. What kind of couple are you most interested in reaching with this wedding submission? What are their visions and how does your work speak to those elements? Maybe the readers is an industry vendor, sourcing new service providers they would like to collaborate with. Once you know who your ideal reader is and their priorities, go back to the details. As a reader (and potential client), I’m reading a Real Wedding feature to find some inspiration for my own event. I don’t know the happy couple, nor their guests for that matter, so I’ll naturally skim the family portraits. If there isn’t much content outside of the people at the wedding, what will inspire me to keep reading that blog versus another, or even look more closely into the vendors that made it all happen? Reframing your perspective as an artist can help you tap into the natural tendencies of the reader and of the editor reviewing your work. Above all, always act with intention. Review your portfolio, study the overall style and aesthetics of each wedding and select the outlet you think that will showcase your work in the best light. When submitting, take a thoughtful approach to a complete package with confidence in your efforts to showcase a beautiful wedding day.
Natalie Denyse is the owner of In Good Company Public Relations LLC, a boutique PR and social media firm specializing in wedding and lifestyle businesses. In addition to traditional digital and print media relations, In Good Company offers a specialized full-service Real Wedding and Editorial Shoot management program for wedding photographers and creatives.