When I was first starting out as a photographer, I thought to “get published” I just had to tag accounts on Instagram. I thought getting one picture re-posted on another account would make my business explode! But I can tell you, this did not work. When I learned about getting published on wedding blogs, that’s when everything changed for me! And that’s what I’m talking about here! Not how to get one photo reposted on 100 Layer Cakes‘s Instagram page, but how to get a whole gallery published on their website!! It can be a little time consuming a little intimidating to start submitting to publications, but it is 1000000% worth it!!!! Let me start with why it’s so incredibly helpful!
Exposure – The most obvious reason, free marketing! People come across the blog post and think “wow, these are the most incredible photos I’ve ever seen. I must hire them!” They’ll click the link to your site and you have a new client
SEO (search engine optimisation) – When there are external links to your site on high traffic sites, like a popular blog, Google sees your site as more “worthy” and you’ll become more likely to rank higher in search results!
Credibility – Being featured on blogs can make you look way more credible to potential clients! You can put on your website “featured on” and list all your publications! Even if it’s a small blog that the average person has never heard of, it’s still really impressive to be featured!! And your clients will think so too.
Pinterest – Most blogs will “pin” your photos after the blog goes live. And most have a decent following who will repin them, and then your photos are forever floating around on pinterest getting repined! When I pin my own photos, a popular one might get about 5 repins, but after I got featured on a big publication, their pins all had over 100 repins! Pinterest became my second biggest source of clients.
Email Lists – Wedding blogs will recycle published photos into other articles! Things like “Bridesmaids Dresses that will make you Swoon” and “Fall Wedding Trends”. Now your photos will be all over their site and typically emailed to everyone on their email list. How cool is that?!
The thing about getting published is it usually has nothing to do with the quality of your photos (as long as your photos are of professional quality) it has a lot more to do with the wedding, the style and the details! These blogs are there to give their readers ideas for their own weddings, not to help out photographers. So maybe most weddings you do aren’t the right fit for Junebug Weddings, BUT, I’m a firm believer that there is a place out there for every wedding! There are 1000s of wedding blogs out there and they’re all looking for content! It might just take some time to find the right place. So let’s start with…
A quick google search will give you lists like “Top 100 wedding blogs” and “Most influential Wedding Blogs” take a look at them! See what kinds of weddings they feature. Up front this might be a lot of work, but as you get to know different blogs and what they’re looking it will make submitting a breeze! If you find favorite blogs, sign up for their email list! You’ll get emails when they have new articles and you can stay up to date on trends and inspo. I have a google doc going of all the blogs that fit my style. I also include things like “# of instagram followers” “number of facebook likes” so I can see where I can get the most traffic and have those as goals for when I have the right wedding.
You can also do much more pinpointed research if you have a wedding you’re ready to submit. Think about the wedding’s characteristics and do a search based on that. Maybe “DIY wedding blogs”, “California wedding blogs” or “intimate wedding blogs”. There is seriously a blog for every kind of niche wedding! It might just take some digging to find the right site! Here are some of the super niche blogs I’ve seen–
The Conscious Bride (for ethical and sustainable weddings)This Fairytale Life (for Disney Weddings)The Plunge (for Grooms)
Here’s a great resource for a bunch of blogs listed by category– https://bridalmusings.com/79354/wedding-blogs-for-every-couple/
Once you find the right blog, it’s as simple as going to their site and hitting “Submit”.
Yay so we know where we want to submit! Next, read the guidelines carefully. Nothing will turn an editor off like photos in the wrong size or photos named “The Knot”, but being submitted to Green Wedding Shoes. There will always be specific requirements for size and how to deliver the photos, so make sure you follow them.
Read if the blog is exclusive or not. Exclusive means you are not submitting to any other blogs (at least until you receive a rejection or wait a certain period of time). Most bigger publications want to be the only ones with this content, because they want to be original and have something unique to offer their readers. Definitely respect this, you can get into a lot of issues if you are accepted to multiple exclusive blogs. If the blog is not exclusive, then for sure submit to other non-exclusive ones at the same time!
Every submission form I’ve seen has a spot where you can write about the wedding. Use this to your advantage! If there is anything special that happened during the wedding or reasons why they planned the wedding as they did, use that! Telling a story is such a great way to get your submission to stand out. They are going to use what you write (typically in their own words) for the post, so they want things their readers will find interesting and relatable. Spend some extra time on this step and think about the best way to tell the story.
If you are just starting out and haven’t shot a real wedding yet (or at least one you’re really proud of) lots of blogs accept styled shoots! You can read about their rules when you click “submit a feature” on their site. And then you can plan a shoot to be exactly in line with where you want to get published!!
If you haven’t heard of Two Bright Lights, it’s super awesome. It’s a subscription based website (~$15/month) that makes submitting to publication way easier. You upload your gallery, tell them a little about it, and then they’ll suggest blogs to submit to. I highly recommend using this, especially at the beginning to get your first few publications, but I do have a couple things to keep in mind–
Still do your research. It will probably suggest a lot of blogs where if you look closer you realize your photos are not the best fit. I would never submit to a site without looking at their website first and making sure the style aligns. You don’t want to become remembered as the person who consistently submits photos that don’t make sense to the brand.
You can only submit to blogs that are partnered with Two Bright Lights, so there are lots of blogs out there that might not show up. To me it seems like it’s a lot more smaller blogs and less big ones. So don’t completely rely on it as you want to branch out!
You can find out more info here — twobrightlights.com
Lastly, remember, it’s ok to get turned away!! No matter how many times it happens, it still stings a little to get that rejection email! But it’s just part of it! When you get the email saying your photos have been accepted, it makes it all worth it!!!