- Written by David Hemmings
Although my experience in this part of the photography industry is limited to the world of bird and wildlife I would think that the rules are much the same across other genres of this medium.
I am quite often asked during my classes and seminars “how do you get your images published so often”?
There are a few answers to this question which I will share with you here from my experiences.
First of all, very few editors are interested in receiving just a photograph with a caption attached. This may be fine for contests and for posting in forums, etc., but editors are interested in the story behind the photo. And it has to be pertinent and interesting. For example, you may have an image of your cat and it may be the finest cat image on the planet but if it doesn’t make for an interesting story relative to what the publication specializes in it will likely end up in the trash. So make sure that if you are submitting images to an editor of a magazine that you give them something that will be of interest to their readership. Make sure the images are only your best; if the image doesn’t make you say WOW it probably won’t make anyone else say it either. There are courses out there on creative writing and courses specifically designed for writing for magazines, might be a good idea to look into that. I took one at a local college and it helped me immensely. Editors are always looking for good ideas to help make their life easier as well. If you think a particular subject would capture their audience, tell them why and present it with your story and your images.
Secondly, you need to be tireless and persistent. Don’t expect to receive a flood of emails days after you start submitting your articles and images. These people are very busy and they plan their issues way in advance of publication in many cases. Keep a spread sheet of who you submitted to and when and plan a follow up and even a re submission three months or so after your first initial contact was made. If you are receiving no positive responses maybe you need to reconsider your subjects and writing style, maybe the images were not top notch. Take a close look at what you are submitting and put yourself in the editor’s shoes and ask yourself what you think of your submissions and writing style.
Thirdly, make sure that you are submitting to as many publications as you can, large, small and everything in-between. Go to your local book and magazine store and purchase the publications that you would like to submit your work to. Go online and search for online magazines and forums to submit to.
Lastly, do not be afraid of rejection in the form of no contact whatsoever. This could mean anything, it does not necessarily mean that your work is subpar or that they will never be interested, just keep working at it!
Written by: David Hemmings. David owns and operates Natures Photo Adventures and has been published by National Geographic and many other magazines and books.