FAQ : Abby Larson + Style Me Pretty


Happy Monday! Today is a great day and I’m so excited to share fabulous information from the one and only, Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty, a bridal inspiration blog. Abby is pretty much the Godmother of wedding blogging and drives one of the world’s most successful inspiration blogs, so it’s a distinct honor to share this tiny piece of cyber space with her.

Like always, these FAQ and Stargazing posts are intended to help people build their businesses…okay, okay they totally help me too! I emailed Abby a bit ago with a few questions on submitting a wedding for a blog feature, and I want to share her sagely advice here today. If you’re a bride or a photographer wanting to submit your work to Style Me Pretty or other amazing wedding blogs, I hope this information helps…

J*: Describe the perfect wedding submission…
SMP: Oh this is easy! Using our nifty new submissions tool, upload 50-100 image (full color, detail driven), a detailed description of the wedding (preferably from the bride) and a vendor list (as thorough as possible). For a long time, we were using a separate gmail account to track incoming submissions. It was the simplest solution and one that didn’t cost us a dime. But submissions began to get buried and we were missing really beautiful weddings because of the masses. This tool keeps everything so ultra organized and allows us to respond to vendors quickly, import the images into our photo galleries and support the high volume of weddings that come in. It kicks butt really.

J*: In regard to blog submissions, what makes you cringe?
SMP: It generally comes down to wedding style. We always look for wedding with amazing details, that’s a given. But to support those details, we want glowing happy couples, a chic bridal party and a beautiful backdrop. That can mean a great restaurant, a simple ballroom, a art gallery, a winery or anything in between. The weddings don’t have to (and really shouldn’t) fit a particular mold but should really reflect the personality of the couples. With that said, If you ever find me cringing, it’s generally because of overstyled, overly cliche weddings. Stuffy bridesmaids gowns, an overabundance of shiny satin, a style that is boring and lacking personality. Cringe central.

J*: What’s a general mistake photographers make when submitting a wedding?
SMP: There are a few mistakes that we see a lot. Submitting too many black and whites, which simply aren’t good for showing ideas to our readers. Not submitting enough images so we have to keep requesting more. Submitting too many photographs that center around the people and not enough of the details that brides want to steal. And not including a description of the wedding. The less work we have to do, the faster the wedding will be published and the less likely it will get overlooked. Oh and one last tip…vertical shots work much better for a blog format.

J*: *Do you prefer when a photographer or a bride submits a wedding?
SMP: Either! The ideal scenario is when the photographer collaborates with the bride so that there is a detailed, personal description as well as the choice photographs that tell the story of the day.

J*: Is there a difference in wedding featured online versus in a magazine? If so, what are the differences?
SMP: Oh I could go on for hours about this one! Magazines have always been the gold standard for publication. Until recently. While there is still a strong place for them, the internet is kind of flipping that idea on its head. And this coming from a total magazine addict. Style Me Pretty has a larger readership than pretty much any major wedding publication on a monthly circulation basis. So in terms of reach, there are a couple of blogs that are very comparable to the best wedding magazines. Magazines are printed quarterly or monthly which means that your going to be 1 of only a few vendors featured in that magazine. That is pretty great. But, brides have to read the fine print, they have to earmark the page and they have to remember to take it to the computer and type your name in. That is a lot of steps to ultimately get the business.

With a blog, it’s instant. Brides see your work, they fall in love, they click the link and voila. New customer. Not only that, your work will live on that blog forever. Brides, far after the publication date, will find you via search so new business and new exposure will continue long after your wedding has past. That’s pretty cool.

So my general rule of thumb is that it’s nice to have both. It’s great for brides to see that magazines love you…but it’s great for business to get your work up in lights on the best blogs with the largest reach.

J*: How many pictures do you like to receive in a submission?
SMP: As few as 40 and as many as 100. Honestly, the more the merrier!

J*: What’s the best way to send photos (size, resolution, FTP, etc)?
SMP: We actually only request that images be sized to our blog at 600 pixels or greater. We don’t define resolution as it’s up to the photographer to determine how they want their images to appear. Every now and then we’ll reach out when the resolution isn’t crisp enough. Our submissions tool actually resized larger images so it basically does all of the work for you.

J*: What’s a common element omitted from a submission you’d like to see more of?
SMP: Usually there aren’t enough floral shots. There are always plenty of portraits, but we have to go back and ask for more details about 90% of the time. It’s the detail shots that our brides love because they give them ideas for their own wedding. The flowers, the paper goods, the shoes, the jewelry, the bridesmaids, the tablesettings, the cake…I could go on and on!

J*: How many weddings should be submitted at once?
SMP: With our tool, each wedding should be its own submission. But vendors should feel free to submit as many weddings as they like. We realize that photographers often take a day or two to package up their weddings past and prep them for publication so it makes sense that they would want to send more than one. Totally fine!

J*: What’s the protocol for submitting the same wedding to different wedding blogs? How long should a photographer wait before submitting the wedding elsewhere?
SMP: Please, please, pretty please don’t do it! We absolutely won’t publish a wedding that has been on another blog. And we’ll pull a wedding if we discover after the fact that it has been on another blog. Blogs work very much like magazines in that the want complete and total exclusivity. SMP has a huge readership that overlaps a little bit with other blogs, thus we try really hard to always give our readers something fresh, new and unique. It’s a BIG no-no to submit one wedding to more than one blog at a time. We need 4 weeks, generally speaking, to determine if we want to publish the wedding. With that said, you are always more than welcome to check on a wedding and let us know that you’d like to release it to another blog if we don’t want it. That’s usually the only push that we need to give you a firm answer.

J*: What type of pictures make the best submission? (i.e. Do textured photos work? How many is too many of B+G photos? etc)
SMP: My favorite style of photography is crisp, clean, without fuss. Every photographer has a different perspective and our readers vary in the styles that they love. Which we can more than appreciate. But in terms of personal preference, a clean, editorial approach always shines the brightest on our blog. And as a sidenote, a beautiful wedding doesn’t always translate to a great blog post. Much of the time, a wedding is beautiful because of the emotion, the love, the pure joy. But a wedding that we choose, has to have that as well as gorgeous flowers, great details and a look that will inspire our brides.

Many thanks to Abby Larson for sharing her time and knowledge today…I’m so appreciative! I hope this post helped you as much as it helped me. Happy Monday!