Getting your work in front of the right audience is more than half the battle of running a business (in my opinion) and getting featured is a great way to expand your audience and reach a larger group.
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I’m going to be speaking in “wedding photographer terms” So if you are not in the wedding industry—the same concepts apply just swap out the word “wedding” for your industry (i.e. fashion, architecture, design…)
Before we talk about the different places to get your work featured, just remember to do your research. Look at what each feature account, blog, or magazine has featured in the past—and submit to places that accept work that looks like yours (if you don’t have any elopement style brides, don’t submit your work to an elopement style bridal publication because your work isn’t a match for their publication). You’ll have much more success if you identify what each publication is looking for in their features and submitting work that makes sense for where you are submitting it to.
Now onto the places of feature….
There are several avenues to get your work published. The easiest way is through social media:
1) Instagram features
This way is easy for a few reasons; Mainly because you don’t have to put together a special submission. You just have to have one good photo. This makes it an ideal “feature” for newer photographer’s or businesses because sometimes when you’re first starting out your career, you don’t have a whole gallery that is submittable but you do have a few really awesome images.
Another reason instagram features are easy is because there are SO MANY feature accounts. More than you could count, which means more opportunities to get your posts shared on a feature account.
It’s also easy to get featured on instagram because you can “submit” everything you post through hashtags and actual tags. Take some time to discover a good group of relevant feature accounts for your business, identify how they choose work to feature (most will say in their bio something along the lines of “use our hashtag to get featured here”) then tag tag tag! Some feature accounts also accept email submissions of single post photos. Get a good list of tags, and just copy it into the comments section every time you post. You can have a couple varying lists and shake it up from time to time—a bonus of using hashtags to get featured is that other accounts follow hashtags and look them up, and if your post is under a hashtag that people are following, that’s another opportunity for your work to be seen outside of the audience you have on your own instagram.
2) Online Blogs
Online blogs are another great place to be featured. Most online blogs accept submissions year round and are open to both real weddings and styled shoots. Read the blog’s submission guidelines carefully and follow through with their instructions. You are less likely to get featured if you neglect to read + follow their submission directions.
PRO TIP: Some blogs require “exclusive” submissions and others do not, or they want to have exclusive features locally but don’t care if it’s been featured nationally… read the fine print and create a “funnel for features” because if you submit in the right order to the right places, you might be able to get more than one feature out of your single gallery. This is a huge game changer since creating new content is a never-ending job! If you can get multiple features out of one shoot you are being much more efficient with your time and talent.
3) PRINTED FEATURES
Getting featured in print is a little bit trickier than getting featured online or on social media but YOU CAN DO IT!
First and foremost, its harder to get printed than published on line because theres less printed features. period. There’s way more blogs than print magazines, and blogs can feature shoots every single day—sometimes multiple shoots a day, while print publications are often a once or twice a year type situation, and theres only so many available pages per magazine to get featured on. It makes it much more competitive because of the sheer photographer’s submitting their work to the amount of work that can be accepted for printing ratios.
One other reason it can be difficult is because many printed publications try to feature “real weddings” almost exclusively, so even if you have great work and great ideas with your styled shoots, unless you have clients with lots of original ideas and beautiful style it is a little harder to come up with “submittable” work, since you’re not in control of the “real bride” set ups.
It can also be hard to get featured in print because many magazines have a “vendor list” that is given priority over non”vendor” submissions. Most of the time the “vendor list” for a publication is essentially a pay-to-play sort of thing, where you pay the publication x amount of dollars per year to be listed as one of their “vendors” and one of the perks is that your submissions are given priority when it comes down to deciding who makes the cut.
The final reason print features are less accessible for getting your work featured is because they are usually not accepting any work at any time. They likely have an annual (or seasonal) deadline for print submissions, and have parameters like the wedding has to have been shot within the last 12 months. You have to pay attention to the deadlines and get your work finished and submitted in time.
Those are the reasons it is difficult, but don’t be discouraged. Do your research to find out when the deadlines are, strategize which publications are most likely to accept your work. Save your best shoots and weddings for the print submissions, consider becoming a part of their vendor network, or keep an eye out for when you work with someone who is a preferred vendor. (i.e. if you shoot a wedding and the florist is a preferred vendor of a certain publication, you would have a better shot at getting featured there since your work includes one of their vendors)
At the end of the day, just create good content and submit as much as you can while taking the time to follow the guidelines and put forward quality submissions.
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I hope this was helpful! good luck getting featured! Feel free to leave any comments, questions, or insight in the comments below!