Tips for Getting Your Photos Published in Print
Though we love creating our own particular brand of editorials at Southern Weddings, what we (and our readers) love best is real weddings. We try to squeeze as many as possible into each of our annual print editions, and that starts with setting you up for success as you consider submitting your work to us. Keep in mind that this info is pretty specific to our publication–some of it might be universal to other print publications, but it’s best to inquire directly if you have questions. With that being said, here are our seven best tips for submitting a wedding for print in SW:
1. Shoot in natural light when possible. We try to keep our whole book visually cohesive, so shooting as many details as possible in natural light helps to keep things consistent when a reader flips through the pages quickly. Readers also want to see the true color of details, and shooting details at night can make the color scheme look like it changed throughout the event. This might mean working with the coordinator or bride to have major reception details, such as the cake or escort card display, ready to photograph earlier in the day. We do often publish more emotional images from later in the night (often in black and white), but for details, the earlier, the better!
2. Do not add filters. For the same reasons above (true colors and cohesion), we don’t tend to publish wedding photos that have had excessive filters added to them in post-processing. Our brand is fresh, natural, and classic, and the photography we choose helps to underscore that.
3. Shoot in a straight-forward way and help us tell a story. No crazy angles, please. No shoes in trees. Shoot details (beautifully) as you would encounter them on a wedding day to help us walk readers through the couple’s story. Readers want to be able to see the details, and simple, straight-on shots are the easiest way for them to do so.
4. Don’t forget the paper goods! One thing that often elevates a print wedding above a wedding featured online is an innovative and beautiful invitation suite–and a styled stationery shot to highlight it. These shots can take a long time (and extra space!) to set up correctly, so we suggest working with your bride to take this shot on a day besides the wedding day. Make sure to use a great background that adds to the color story of the wedding!
5. Communicate with your bride. If she is interested in publication, get her on your side! Ask her to set aside all of her personal or sentimental details for you (shoes, favors, welcome bag, guest book, etc.) so that you can efficiently shoot everything before the major action starts later in the day. If you know the wedding has the potential for print publication and are worried about having time to shoot everything the way you’d like to, consider arriving early on your dime–we would never want you to sacrifice your time honoring the couple, their relationships, and the action as it unfolds just to capture details!
6. Study our past weddings to see if yours would be a good fit. No really, STUDY them! We feature a wide range of aesthetics in print, but there are a few things every one of our print weddings has in common:
— a great love story and a couple whose love, joy, and emotion leaps off the page
— details that stem from the couple’s love story
— details that are unlike anything we (or you, or our readers) have seen before
— a cohesive, tight color scheme or aesthetic (make sure the whole wedding looks like it goes together)
— and last (but certainly not least), specifically and undeniably SOUTHERN details.
7. Think like an editor. When compiling your submission, focus on the most compelling details, and try to make sure everything works together like a “mini feature.” We do not need to see any family portraits, and we only need to see the most stunning 2-3 portraits of the couple. Otherwise, focus on the details. If the details are there and we love the couple, we’ll easily be able to build out their emotional story in the actual feature.
If you follow these tips, I guarantee your submission will have a higher chance of being accepted for print with Southern Weddings! However, the vast majority of submissions are still turned down, especially for the magazine–after all, we receive thousands of submissions a year (about 75-100 a week), and publish just 10-20 in each issue. Don’t hesitate to keep trying–nothing makes me happier than saying “YES!” after ten or twenty “nos”!
Submissions for our 2016 annual issue, Southern Weddings V9, are open until September 1st. You can find the specifics of how to submit right here. Can’t wait to take a peek at y’all’s work soon!