You’ve just had an AMAZING wedding season and finally caught up with editing – now you are left with a ton of new content. So, what to do with it all? It’s time to submit your photos for publication!
Submitting your photos for publication is a great way to widen your audience, gain recognition from peers in the industry, and book more ideal clients. Gaining backlinks from online publications is also stellar for your SEO (search engine optimization) and getting more organic traffic pointed to your website.
Don’t know what backlinks are? You SHOULD! I’ve written a guide called SEO 101 for Adventure Elopement Photographers that tells you the importance of SEO – specifically discussing backlinks and keywords.
Let me show you a few quick tips, and give you a long list of print and online magazines that take submissions.
Step 1: Research EACH Publication
Editors are busy and get a ton of submissions daily. If your submission doesn’t align with their vibe, style, or voice, it will be dumped right into the trash. Every magazine you submit photos for publication to will have its own requirements, so it’s essential that you follow them strictly. Half the battle is showing the editor that you can follow directions. Ensuring your content fits the publication’s desired content will increase your chances of being featured! Publishers know their audience well, and you should get to know them too. If the publisher’s brand is all about rural settings, country life, and vintage weddings, don’t submit a styled shoot that’s set in the city. Research what style fits their brand by looking at what they publish.
Step 2: Create A Gallery Of Your Best Photos
Editors do not want photographers to submit an entire gallery with 1000+ photos. Publications prefer a separate gallery with only the best photos from one wedding, elopement, or styled shoot. The gallery of images should tell a story of the couple’s day while precisely aligning each with the publication’s niche. For instance, say you want to submit pictures of an adventure hiking elopement. You wouldn’t want to submit that gallery to a publication that predominately features high-end weddings. Editors love a good love story as much as anyone else, so whether you submit a styled shoot or a real wedding, you’ll want them to be swept along in the narrative.
Step 3: Be Original
Readers and Editors want to be wowed by your creativity. Styled shoots that offer unique or unexpected visuals will capture your viewer’s imagination, and if your bride had a truly unique wedding, and will improve your odds of getting featured.
Step 4: Make Your Pitch
With your gallery, you’ll need to include an introduction and a pitch that lets a publication know why they should choose your feature. In this pitch, you will want to include a short description of the day – what made it unique? what’s the couple’s personal story? what were the location & venue details? and what inspired the details of the day and design? what are your favorite memories from the day?
Step 5: Submitting Your Photos
Dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s before you press “submit!” Make sure there are no typos and that your images and submission meet the magazine’s exact criteria. And be proud of yourself! Your photography has the power to touch lives and spark creativity in others. For that reason alone, you should submit, knowing that you may inspire someone else.
Step 6: Exclusivity
Nearly every publication you submit to will insist on some degree of exclusivity. It allows the publisher to feel confident that the content they will publish is unique to their publication. The downside is you may be left waiting for an acceptance email before you can submit your images elsewhere. What to do? Look for publications that promise to get back to you fast or insist on limited exclusivity periods. Many publications ask you to wait ten days before submitting your photos elsewhere.
Step 7: Get Published Locally
Submit photos for publication in local wedding magazines dedicated to the local industry in your specific city or town. There is much to be said about getting published locally, as it will widen your local audience.
Step 8: Follow Up
If you don’t hear back from publications you’ve submitted your work to within 2-4 weeks, send a follow-up email or message. Publications usually only get back to photographers whose galleries they accept. If you don’t hear back, don’t get discouraged! Consider re-submitting a different gallery in 3 months. (You’ll need to weigh your feelings about some of the more established or legacy publications that might wait months to get back to you. It is sometimes worth the wait to reach their audience.
My favorite place to get published: Two Bright Lights
If you are new to getting published. Two Bright Lights has a submission platform that makes it super easy to showcase multiple styled shoots and real weddings to publishers.
Here’s how it’s different from all the rest:
You literally create albums on their website with your best photos, and the album/s becomes searchable by publishers. Yes, publishers come to you. Super easy, right? I love the format and how it’s set up;
They also list hundreds of publications to which you can personally submit your albums on the Two Bright Lights website, making it a one-stop shop. Given that some are “smaller” online publications, your chance of getting published is pretty high. Plus, they’ll track your styled shoot submission and let you know when it’s accepted. Try it! It’s a fantastic place to start!
ThE following list includes everything from publications for boho weddings, adventure elopements, rustic weddings, black weddings, plus-size weddings, and LGBTQ weddings.
Not only that, I’ll give you a link that takes you right to their submission page! Half the work is already done for you!
Boho Weddings loves all things “Boho” from luxe to rustic, modern to vintage. They’re interested in many different styles of weddings: Bohemian, luxe, rustic, alternative, glam, modern, quirky, DIY, whimsical, destination, anything goes as long as it fits with the boho brand. Submit here.
Wedding Chicks is a stylish wedding blog with wedding inspiration, wedding ideas, and vendor deals for the modern bride. Submit here.
Hello May publishes a broad range of styles, from classic to quirky. The story and inspiration behind your styled shoot will go a long way in getting you noticed there. Submit here.
Green Wedding Shoes started with us sharing amazing weddings and has grown to share entertaining, travel, DIY, and fashion + beauty features. For styled shoots, they look for new, fun ideas. For these types of submissions, they are looking for a distinct style, unique themes, or just great editorial photos. Submit here.
Junebug Weddings looks for a distinctive personal style. We love to see unique wedding planning ideas and details that our readers can get excited about and find inspiration in. They also love a great story or connection to the couple and their wedding planning experience. Finally, solid, artistic, and consistently-processed photography is a must. Submit here.
Emmaline Bride is “The Handmade Wedding Blog,” and they’ve been sharing our love for handmade wedding finds since 2009. They only accept submissions from members. More info here.
With millions of readers, Rustic Wedding Chic is now a leader and trusted resource for couples seeking inspiration and ideas while planning their beautiful, elegant, rustic & chic weddings. Submit here.
Focusing on destination weddings, Destination I Do prefers submissions via Two Bright Lights but also accepts submissions via email. Submit here.
PNW Weddings looks for all kinds of weddings – from intimate elopements to micro-weddings to elaborate celebrations, highlighting wedding professionals and couples traditionally marginalized by the mainstream wedding industry. Submit here
Pacific Weddings is a destination wedding magazine that accepts styled shoots. Submit here.
Wedding Day Magazine
The best guide for the Midwest bride. Wedding Day Magazine looks for brilliant ideas, remarkable little details, never-been-done-before traditions, fascinating venues, and heart-stirring moments. The weddings they feature tell a story through words or through photos; it’s intended to be an inspiring tale that ignites a creative spark for future brides. Submit here
Rock N Roll Bride is a magazine dedicated to alternative brides. They prefer real weddings but do accept styled shoots. Submit here.
This website is the ongoing celebration of folks daring to walk off the beaten aisle. They only accept wedding & styled shoot submissions from members of our curated Offbeat Bride vendor community. If you’d like to get in there, here’s more info. Submit here.
Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine accepts submissions only through Two Bright Lights.
Dancing With Her is dedicated to celebrating lesbian & same-sex couples in love. Submit here.
Equally Wed showcases gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and queer weddings that traditional bridal magazines often don’t show. Submit here.
Signature Bride is the ultimate digital bridal destination for black couples, providing products and services and comprehensive content, among other features. Submit here.
MunaLuchi Bridal is the leading multicultural wedding publication catering to women of color. They accept styled shoot submissions along with real weddings, engagement sessions, and proposal stories. Submit here.
Pretty Pear Bride looks for photos showcasing plus-size brides with extraordinary photography. Submit here.
Grace Ormonde is the leading influence in the world of luxury weddings. Their focus is on high fashion, but they do accept styled shoot submissions. Submit here.
A classic in the wedding industry, Martha Stewart Weddings mainly publishes real weddings. Submit here.
Style Me Pretty is your go-to destination for all things pretty. When it comes to submissions, they say, “Every. Single. Day. We are asked, “What are you looking for?” Style Me Pretty most definitely has a look. A feel. Pretty. Fresh. Clean. Classic…with a twist. Those that we carefully choose to publish on-site have something extra. A sparkle. A hint of wow without being over the top. Rooted in the classic but with a fresh, modern approach.” Submit here and read these tips.
Ultimate Weddings features real weddings, styled photoshoots, blogs, and article content from all faiths and cultures and couples of all shapes, sizes, races, and sexual orientations. Submit here
Brooklyn Bride accepts real weddings, showers, engagement parties, day-after sessions, rehearsal dinners, tablescapes, inspiration shoots, and even products like invitations, jewelry, cake toppers, etc. Submit here.
Their focus is on simple, classic, elegant, understated, and original weddings and styled shoots. They love celebrations that are surprising, inspirational, and are a true reflection of the couple getting married. They look for unique details, like a fantastic venue or one-of-a-kind dress. Submit here.
Carats & Cake is the premier network representing the best of the wedding industry. Launched in 2013, the platform is an edit of the best of weddings across the country to allow couples to find vendors and venues in their location of interest. Submit here.
Remember to include detail shots or anything noteworthy about your submission. Their readers love content that is romantic, trend-setting, creative, handmade, unique, or any combination of the above. Submit here. They also accept submissions via Two Bright Lights.
At its heart, The Perfect Palette is a blog that explores the color palette possibilities for weddings and parties. From styled shoots to color tips, The Perfect Palette is all about sharing creative and colorful styling ideas. Submit here.
Bridal Musings features real weddings, styled shoots, and films that can be described as one (or all) of the following: chic, stylish, creative, beautiful, or romantic. Submit here.
Belle The Magazine aims to be a resource for the sophisticated, fashion-forward bride with an eye for luxury details and creative ideas. In their words, “My ideal editorial content includes extravagant weddings and engagement sessions that are lush, glamorous, luxurious, and absolutely breathtaking.” Submit here.
Whimsical Wonderland Weddings is a friendly & inclusive wedding ideas blog featuring weddings that are not necessarily traditional but utterly gorgeous & filled with love. Submit here.
They specialize in film photography as we think it emotes simple, raw, and unadorned feelings and style. Wedding Sparrow only accepts submissions from its members, but details are available here. Submit here.
NNW doesn’t specify their aesthetic preferences, but my impression is a classic with a touch of whimsy. Since NNW is a dress-centric site, I’d recommend submissions focus on bridal wear. Submit here.
Their readers love to see plenty of details, floral designs, tablescapes, and other creative décor inspirations. B’LOV’ED celebrates diversity and welcomes various styles, including modern elegance, boho chic, vintage glamour, botanical beauty, and minimalism. They also love destination weddings with a WOW factor. Submit here.
They prefer submissions to be detail-heavy and as colorful and bright as possible. Submit here.
They only feature styled shoots online (not in the magazine). If you would like to submit for the website, please upload your images, a list of vendors, and a description of the inspiration behind the shoot via the actual wedding submission page. Submit here.
The focus of Un-Wedding is on non-traditional, bold, quirky, and unique choices. Submit here.
They aim to inspire our readers with unique ideas, styles, colors, and themes that they can incorporate into their own wedding day. In short, weddings with pizzazz! Submit here. They prefer submissions via Two Bright Lights.
Glamour & Grace loves all things chic with vintage touches, handmade details, and phenomenal photography! They are focused on heirloom and handmade details, so please make mention of any unique details that would be of interest. They also feature select unique or vintage-styled engagement sessions, bridal shoots, anniversary sessions, or boudoir.shoots. Submit here.
Every Last Detail only accepts submissions from members. Learn more here.
Such a prominent magazine, Brides Magazine, only accepts real weddings, Submit here.
Another big magazine that prefers real weddings, but you can contact their editorial section here. Submit here.
Bridal Guide accepts both styled shoots and real weddings. They highlight all aspects of a wedding day: detail shots, great candid moments, beautifully posed portraits, and more! Submit here
Submitting your photos for publication is the best thing you can do for your business. Not only do you gain a wider audience, better targeting your ideal clientele, but backlinks to trusted online publications. Backlinks are one of the most important things you can do for your SEO. Want to read more about getting started on SEO? Click here for my free guide to SEO 101 for Adventure Elopement Photographers.
Good luck getting published, hopefully, multiple times! Leave me a note below WHERE you got published; I’d love to hear from and celebrate you!