10 Tips for Submitting Your Photos to Wedding Blogs
I’m incredibly honored to have my friend and talented wedding blogger Jen Campbell of Green Wedding Shoes offer her insight on submitting a wedding for possible publication…on her blog or a myriad of others. But before we get to that point, Jen helps guide the way with how you can place your best foot forward. Like I said, she’s awesome and I’m thankful she’s here to enlighten us…I’ve included Meg and Tim’s San Francisco wedding photos since they were featured on GWS not too long ago…
First, I would like to thank Jasmine for asking me to guest post while she is on tour with theFix!
As for me, I’m Jen, the editor of Green Wedding Shoes. GWS is a popular wedding blog for creative couples in love. We share a real wedding each day, followed by a post featuring a styled shoot, engagement session, DIY ideas or wedding trends I think would add to your special day.
One of the most frequent questions photographers ask me is, “Do you have any advice for me to consider when submitting my weddings to increase my chance of getting my work featured on my favorite blogs?” Most photographers are already aware that wedding blogs are a great way to reach your target audience and increase your bookings for the types of weddings you want to shoot, but many are not exactly sure how to best reach Editors to get their work published. Hopefully my tips will help you better understand the submission process from the Editor’s point of view, so you can get more features and more new clients!
1. Read Submission Guidelines. Each blog is different and likely has their preferred method of accepting and reviewing submissions (you can see the GWS submission guideline here). You can easily find their guidelines in their navigation and once you do, please read them and follow them. The easiest way to get your submission reviewed is to follow the preferred submission method for the blog to which you’re submitting…..the opposite is also true, ignore the preferred submission method and there’s a good chance that the same will happen to your submission. At GWS, we still review each submission, but those that adhere to our preferred submission methods will have a better chance of getting featured.
2. Be Selective When Submitting. Most of the top wedding blogs share only exclusive weddings and styled shoots. We work hard to share unique features with our readers, so we’re looking to share weddings that won’t be seen on two or three other blogs that same week. That doesn’t mean that we’ll never share a wedding that’s already been featured on another site, but if your submission has already been featured….be up front if about it and let the Editor know when it was shared and on which blog.
Also, when initially submitting a wedding, submit it to just one blog and wait to hear from them before submitting elsewhere. If you send a mass email to five or more wedding bloggers and ask, “Who wants it?” , which happens quite often, the answer will likely be No One. My advice is to review your portfolio, select a shoot or two that work for a particular blog’s style and submit only there and tell the Editor why you selected their blog. As an Editor, I appreciate Photographers that are selective with their submissions and definitely remember their selectivity when I receive future submissions from them.
Obviously not every submission will be accepted, so if an Editor doesn’t feel your submission is a fit, figure out the next best match for your shoot and submit there.
3. Give the Editor Time to Review Your Submission. I receive over a hundred submissions each week and I look at each and every one. I appreciate the time and effort taken to submit, so I believe its only fair that I review each submission. However, given the large number of submissions, it typically takes a few days until I get to a submission after it’s been sent.
Each blog is different, but the GWS policy is that I will respond to you within 12 days. If 12 days have passed (or however long the blogger you submitted stated it would take them) and you still haven’t heard back from me – yes, I do try hard to respond back to each and every submission with a yes or no – then please follow up. A simple “I sent you a submission 2 weeks ago and haven’t heard back. If I don’t hear anything by XX date I will be submitting elsewhere.” works and then I can make sure to review and let you know.
4. Don’t Send High Res Photos. Since your photos will be presented online and not in print, photos delivered at 72 dpi and not more than 900 pixels wide are sufficient. Anything larger risks filling up the Editor’s inbox and increasing the time it takes for the Editor to downsize your images so they can be used on their blog.
At GWS, I prefer images 650 pixels wide, but 900 pixels should cover all blogs.
5. Personalize Your Message. This might seem basic, but I get emails every single day addressed to “Abby,” “Emily,” “Ms,” “Blogger” etc. Learn the name of the Editor to whom you are submitting your work or at least address it to the blog name. If an Editor sees that you’re interested in their blog, they’re more likely to spend time on reviewing your work. As for those submitting to GWS, I most definitely take notice for those of you who include a personal email versus just Hi, here is my submission with link.
Additionally, make sure you know what types of weddings the blog your submitting to typically shares. At GWS, we’re love sharing unique, personal and creative weddings. If you are sending a ballroom wedding with traditional elements, that is not what we’re about at all, so we’ll most likely pass on your submission. The good news is that there are blogs for everyone! For example, Rock N Roll Bride shares wedding with a rock and roll edge, Brooklyn Bride shares only modern weddings..here is a great link for some of the top wedding blogs.
6. Brand Your Submission. If you are sending a zip file or file via Dropbox, always name your file by using your photography name, not the blog name (and especially not a different blog name! No one wants to know they were the second or third choice). At any given time, I have probably ten files my desktop called “GWS_Submission.” If I love your submission, but somehow lose your email, I have no way to know who sent the submission and then have to just delete it. 🙁
7. Seasonal and Timely Submissions. If you’re working on a styled shoot or wedding with a topical theme, state the topic in the email subject line. Especially if you are submitting a Halloween Styled Wedding and Halloween is in 3 days. Most bloggers have an editorial calendar planned, but if something amazing comes in and we just love it, we might be able to move things around to accommodate a timely submission. However, if you didn’t label the theme in the Subject, there’s a good chance your seasonal themed submission will not get looked after your key date.
8. Styled Shoots. If you’re working on a styled shoot and have a blog in mind that you would love to get featured on, email the Editor in advance to share your idea. If the Editor is interested, they’ll likely have feedback or suggestions to ensure that your shoot is a fit for their site. This gives you a much better chance of having your hard work pay off with a feature on your preferred blog.
9. Two Bright Lights. I love Two Bright Lights. If you aren’t familiar with them, be sure to check them out. This is a great way to submit your work to blogs (and magazines). They also make it easy for re-submitting to another blog if your first choice was declined.
10. Get Your Creative Team and Couple on the Same Page. If you are planning to submit a wedding to a blog, talk with your team and the couple about where to submit, so there’s no confusion or disagreement from the start. Since most blogs are exclusive, if the photographer submits to one blog and the couple or designer submits to another, there’s a good chance someone will be disappointed or someone may damage a professional relationship. I’ve had several couples email me to say that they’re totally bummed because they wanted their wedding shared on GWS, but their photographer submitted elsewhere without ever asking the couple if they had a blog to which they would like their wedding submitted.
A simple conversation up front can avoid all of the frustration and help the creative team produce the shoot/photos in a way to best fit the blog that will get the submission. Also, during this conversation, you may discover that a team member has a history or particular relationship with a blog, which could help your chances of getting your submission featured.
11. Bonus – Submit Only One Wedding at a Time. As I mentioned earlier, Editors are busy and really appreciate Photographers that are selective with submissions. As such, please don’t send a link to your website and ask if there are any weddings on there I’d like to feature. Select your best wedding for the blog and submit that one first. If it happens to get declined, you can always ask for feedback on why it was declined to help for your next submission.
I hope this is helpful to anyone trying to submit to blogs or thinking of submitting to blogs. Having your work shared on blogs can do SO much for your business, so if you aren’t submitting, I would highly encourage you to do so. If you have any other questions, I’ll be sure to check the post throughout the week and try to respond.
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