This post has been on my mind for a very long time. I’ve been thinking about writing it for a while, but for some reason I just never got around to it…until now. Why now? Well, at the time I started writing it a few weeks ago, I had just reviewed at least 20 real wedding and engagement submissions which I unfortunately had to decline to publish. I know, its terrible. There are so many amazing photographers out there and I want to publish them, but why am I not? The answer is because the submission guidelines which I provide on this blog under “Submissions” to help anyone looking to have their work published here are not being read.
I know this may be a controversial blog post, but I’m not afraid of controversy. Bring it on! We have a place where people want their work featured. We also have guidelines that need to be met. I don’t see any harm in telling it like it is. Yet, at the same time I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus. So this post is not going to be one long complaint on how people don’t follow directions. But I will say this…if you follow directions, you will get published. It really is as simple as that. And I know I’m not the only blogger who gets frustrated with this. Yet as a photographer…I simply don’t understand why more photographers wouldn’t want to make EVERYTHING perfect for a publication. I mean, don’t you want your work, (and your name), to have the best possible chance?
Okay…I will stop right there because I’m not going to change the fact that sometimes people don’t pay attention to instructions. What I can do, however, is provide you with some specific reasons why we ask for certain criteria to be met. Listed in italics below are some of Fab You Bliss’s submission guidelines which seem to be the most ignored. I have listed them here with answers for why we require them to hopefully help anyone out there looking to get published here.
1. Submission images must meet the highest of quality standards, meaning excellent composition, technique, lighting, exposure, editing and creativity.
This should be obvious, but the basic reason is we want to feature the best work possible for our readers who are looking for just that. This guideline is probably the most subjective though, because what we think constitutes high quality may not match yours or anyone else’s. Your best bet is to look through past posts and see what kinds of submissions generally get featured. If your submission looks like it might fit with what we post…then by all means, send it our way.
2. We prefer to have first exclusive rights to publishing and although at this moment we still accept submissions which have been sent to other publications, we do request any event or project submitted must not have been sent to more than two other publications. Yes, the word two is actually is in bold, italics and underlined…hopefully this stresses the importance. Submissions sent to more than two other publications will automatically be disqualified.
Most bloggers want to be the first to publish anything. That is the plain and simple truth and there’s nothing wrong with it. On the other hand, as a photographer myself I do understand why photographers want to submit their work to as many publications as possible. The more their work is out, the better. So…this is a dilemma, isn’t it? But since I’m discussing how to get published, let’s stick with why it’s important for bloggers to be the “first” at publishing something. With as many blogs as there are out there, we are all competing for the same audience. So how do you think it would look to the bride who follows 10 different blogs to find a wedding you shot on all 10 of those blogs? Pretty boring, right? Would you go back to any of those blogs if you saw the same content? Probably not. You’d most likely pick your favorite to follow while dropping the rest. Because why go to 10 different blogs when they all have the same content, right? So here’s my suggestion…rather than submitting your work to as many blogs as possible, be selective. Make a list of blogs you want to be seen in and submit to each of them from top to bottom. And by all means, even if they’re not exclusive blogs…if you’re submitting to other blogs at the same time, try submitting to only a couple at a time. The bloggers receiving your submission will be very appreciative and your submission will have that much more of a chance.
3. Please submit at least 50-100 images for both weddings and engagement sessions.
More is not always better. But, it is wonderful to have a good mix of images to choose from. We usually publish between 50 to 70 images per post, hence the need for as many as are asked for.
Image credit: Simply Bloom Photography
4. Make sure your submission images are ordered in the best way to present the event, meaning please present them from start to finish, (i.e. getting ready images to end of reception images), so when reviewing your submission we get the feel for the story of the day.
This is a huge one here at Fab You Bliss because we always publish weddings from the getting ready stages to the final goodbye going away shot. So if your submission is received out of order and especially if the images are all over the place, guess who has to put them in order? That’s right, me. And while there’s always going to be some organizing on our end, the less editing we have to do…the better.
5. For engagement sessions, please submit only sessions that have at least one outfit change or a significant location change as to have a variety in the shoot’s imagery.
Engagement imagery is tricky because usually couples visiting blogs don’t really care about them. It’s the weddings and the details that couples are after. So, why do we post engagements? Because I love photography and we want to promote talented photographers. And the reason we ask for at least one outfit change is because it’s boring to look at 50 + images where the couple is in the same outfit and same location. Sorry to be blunt, but it’s the truth.
6. All submissions must have taken place within last year.
This guideline is in place because we want to stay with the current trends and have the most recent work featured.
7. Submissions must have all vendor contact information listed.
It truly makes me sad to receive submissions where there are no other vendors listed. Or if there are vendors, there’s no contact information for them. Sometimes, if I’ve accepted a submission without knowing all the vendor information has not been included, I will Google the vendor’s name and presto, there they are on the very first line. Pretty simple, eh? If I can do it, you wonder…why didn’t the photographer? Here’s a tip…you look much better in the eyes of anyone reviewing your work if you provide ALL vendor information. It shows that you pay attention to detail and…it also says you want to help promote the other people who worked on the wedding with you. And that, in my opinion, is a trait I love to see most. Just sayin’.
8. Please provide a good mix of images. We are looking for as many detail images as possible, as well as nice variety of the bride and groom, some shots of the bridal party, reception images and getaway shots. Please do not submit too many images that look the same. Variety is best.
How do I say this is the nicest way possible? Please don’t submit more than two pictures of nearly the exact same pose. We don’t want to see 15 pictures of the bride and groom in the same pose and those same 15 pictures in black and white as well. Or even 3 for that matter. Take your time and go through each image meticulously to pick the very best one or two of any given pose or location. As a publisher, we’d be thrilled if instead of having to spend hours going though images, they were pre-edited and nearly ready for us to publish them.
9. Please do not submit too may vertical shots. Some vertical images are okay, but too many makes it difficult for our layouts. Again, a good variety is best.
The answer to this one is already stated above. It’s all about layouts and editing. But if you provide a good mix of horizontal and vertical shots, you should be good.
10. We would love for you to provide as much detail about the bride and groom and their special day as possible. Submissions without such information or ones that leave the photographer’s blog or post url for us to gather such information will not be accepted.
Bloggers want to write the best we can about the wedding or engagement you’ve shot. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do if there’s no information given about the day or the couple. So…help a blogger out and give us some detail. Even just a few pieces of information about the couple, the location or anything so we can be weave it into a beautiful story to compliment your images. Leaving your blog address or post url for us to dig out the information from your blog is a huge NO-NO. What do you think doing that says to us? I will let you ponder that as it is an important one.
11. Please do not submit any watermarked images.
Some bloggers are okay with publishing watermarked images, but I think watermarks detract from imagery. Believe me I understand why photographers watermark, but I think…sometimes you just have to let go of trying to control so much. In our digital world there’s no preventing ill-willed people from trying to steal your work, whether it is watermarked or not. If your work is good, people will try to steal it. I think you need to just look at it as a compliment and move on because there are more positive things to focus your time on.
12. We only accept single image files. Please do not submit two or more images Photoshoped together.
We are seeing more and more submissions where the photographer has edited a few images together. Please don’t do this. We have a layout style here at Fab You Bliss, so it’s important to have individual images in order to create posts that fit with our brand.
And there you have it, our submission guidelines and reasons why we request them. I hope this article did not come across too harsh as that was not the intention. This is a difficult and controversial subject, but I always think honesty is the best policy and I hope you do too. And like I said in the beginning, I’m not afraid of controversy so feel free to share your opinion as well.
Have a Fab You Bliss day!