5 Musts to Get Your Submission Game On Point

September 26th, 2016

Getting published in a major outlet is the cannon in a professional photographer’s  promotional arsenal. Our partners at Two Bright Lights are a leading content source for over 400 major publication outlets, and they’ve given us the scoop on the best way to get your submissions ready for the big leagues. Plus, a 10% discount for our readers with promo code: ZFTBL.  For more info on Two Bright Lights, check them out here.

You’ve shot an amazing wedding or event, and KNOW that it’s perfect for publication. But then what? Don’t worry, we’ve got you… Follow these five tips and your submission game will be on point! 

1. Choose publications carefully

There’s an old adage that says “There’s a lid for every pot.” The same is true for submissions! Find the right publication for your album and avoid mass-submissions. Publishers can see where else an album has been submitted and they want to know that you think this album is perfect for them, so choose five to ten publications at most. Be sure to read the submission guidelines for each publication that you are targeting. Don’t waste your time – or theirs – by submitting to publications that are clearly not a fit.

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2. Make sure your album story rocks

Editors want to publish the best looking photos, for sure. But they need a great story to tell too! And they don’t want to have to do all the heavy lifting. Include as much of the backstory and as many of the details as you know. If you aren’t the event or wedding planner – call them! They usually know lots of great little nuggets since they spend so much time with the host or the bride and groom.

Worried that you aren’t a great writer? Don’t be! The publisher will finesse the story, they just need the raw ingredients. One editor even told us they’d be thrilled with a bulleted list of details if the submitter is not a strong writer. And often it’s the details – along with great pictures – that cinch the submission.

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3. Provide plenty of image options

150 images may seem like a lot, but really, it’s not. Think about it from the perspective of the editor – they want options! They need to be creative, and especially for non-exclusive publications, they want to create a feature that is unique to their publication. Even when it seems like you have added enough detail shots, add some more. Remember, that is what editors use to inspire their readers with lots of new ideas.

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4. Tag your fellow vendors

There are lots of excellent reasons to tag ALL of the other stellar event professionals in your submission. Those vendors will promote you in return and you’ll grow your professional network. When the submission gets published, they’ll be automatically alerted and will share the feature on their social networks.

But the #1 reason to tag the fellow pros that you worked with is that publishers are looking for that information! 70% of editors say that it is critical to include vendors in your submissions, and 89% say it is very important. Nearly half of the editors we surveyed want to see 8 or more vendors tagged in an album. So grab those business cards, and get tagging!

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5. Keep your images in the order they occurred

Let’s pretend you’re watching a movie that you’ve never seen before, but for some reason it started right in the middle, then skips from there to the beginning, to the end and then back to the beginning. How frustrating would that be?! Just when you think you’re getting the story, it completely changes on you. When you’re submitting your album to an editor, it’s like they’re viewing a “movie” for the first time, and you want to help them understand the story.

With that in mind, make sure you keep your images in the order they occurred – If there was an amazing first look, make sure that is before the ceremony and even if the send-off is absolutely breathtaking, keep it at the end of the album.

Helpful hint: If there is one image that you want the editor to see first, regardless of when it occurred, make it the cover image!

*Photography by Zenfolio and Two Bright Lights user, Derek Chad Photography

Only 40% of wedding professionals get published – join their elite ranks! Two Bright Lights makes it fast and easy to get published and costs less than $15/month. In just three quick steps, you can submit your work to more than 400 magazines, blogs and websites, including The Knot, POPSUGAR, Brit + Co, MunaLuchi Bride, Every Last Detail and more.

So what are you waiting for? Sign-up today at twobrightlights.com.

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