You have beautiful, outstanding work and want it to be seen but how do you get it from here to the pages of a bridal magazine or be featured on a popular blog?
Every wedding magazine and blog has their own style and it’s important for you to submit the right materials to help you get noticed, stand out and get published!
Here are 10 key steps to getting your work published and to start accumulating those tear sheets!:
1. Decide where you want to submit the material
The MOST IMPORTANT first step is to know where you want the material to end up. This is your starting point when choosing your editorial content.
Before you begin planning, contact the publisher to ask if they are currently accepting submissions and then ask if they are promoting a specific colour palette or theme for their next blog post or print issue. This will ensure that your submission will be within the general theme.
2. Read the submission documentation!
So many submission are thrown out because they were not submitted correctly and do not contain the requested elements. Give yourself and your team the best chance at publication by ensuring you have provided and complied with all of the stated requests or rules. If you are unsure about something, ask or look for an FAQ page on the publication’s website concerning submissions. Most will have it listed or will provide a PDF when responding to submission requests.
3. Get creative and pull ideas from unexpected places
Your biggest success will come when you make each shoot different from the last. If you look at weddings for inspiration, try looking at home décor or a travel magazine for new ideas. Keep the tear sheets and ideas in a small notebook you can carry around. I always bring mine when I go out for the day. Creativity strikes at the oddest of times and you want to be ready to write or sketch the ideas.
4. Be original…enough
Publications receive hundreds of submissions with each call-out and yours needs to stand out from the crowd. Look at what they currently publish. What style are the clothes, what lighting do they favour? By keeping their style in mind, try something unexpected or something traditional done in an unusual way.
5. Create an inspiration board
Use your original piece of inspiration and establish a colour/texture pallet. Use Adobe Kuler. It can create a colour pallet from a single photo giving you plenty of options with 5 different palette types, all taken from the same photo.
Putting together a visual plan of what’s inside your head will make it easier to communicate your team.
Add the images and notes on one piece of paper to see how they all flow together. Swap out what doesn’t work or make subtle changes to modify pieces.
6. Sketch and plan out your main shots
This will save you THE most time for shoot day. Draw on paper or gather sample photos together to show how you want your main images to look. This will cut your shoot time in half and will give your photographer a better idea of what you want to see in the final photos. It also helps to know when you’ve got the shot and can move on.
7. Don’t be in a rush
Allow enough time for professionals to gather their materials. Frustrations are felt when work which can normally take two weeks to create is requested to be completed in a matter of days. You want your best work to be showcased and the best way is to have clean, well thought out elements. Post production to fix sloppy work is too time consuming, make look right before you shoot it.
8. Choose the right people
Is Letterpress what you want for the stationery? Is it a cake that has precision piping details or a peculiar shape that requires special knowledge? Identify the key factors for each piece of the shoot and choose a professional who does that skill exceptionally well.
Make sure to check with the publication requirements to see if they have any participant rules or requests. Some publications favour teams which include current advertisers or special members.
If you have someone who wants to give a new skill or material a try, account for the extra prep time in your scheduling.
9. Be open to change
More often than not, your sketches and plans will vary slightly from what is actually produced.
Seasonal and product availability can sometimes be a factor. Roll with it, be open for modification and substitutions and allow for creative interpretation from the professional you’re working with.
When professionals are allowed flexibility in design, it makes them feel that they have contributed artistically to the finished piece and that makes it an enjoyable experience for all involved.
10. Fill out your paperwork AT the shoot
Have models fill out release forms at the shoot or send it to the agency a few days prior to the shoot date. Have the other participants fill out the necessary information before they leave the shoot. Get as much done while you have them in-person. This will save time tracking people down and delaying submission of the work.
Publications do not like chasing after release forms and participant information. Make it easy dealing with you, provide them with what they ask for and they will look forward to furthering their relationship with you.
Remember that the simple keys are to make your submission unique, relevant to the publisher and easy for them to process. Build consistent material not just one-hit wonders and they’ll come back for more!