Wedding Planning Success Lounge – Submitting pictures to wedding magazines


Have you ever submitted a wedding or a styled shoot to a printed publication or to a blog?

Episode 180 of my Wedding Planning Success Lounge series on Periscope was about wedding submissions. Below is a summary – Make sure you follow me @SabrinaCadini for more valuable content!

One of our jobs as successful wedding professionals (whether you are a planner or a photographer, hair and makeup artist, etc.) is to constantly showcase our work and share it with the rest of the world. This is an excellent way to attract potential clients / couples but also to attract fellow vendors: when they see your fabulous work they will want to work with you. And, vendor referrals can be pretty powerful in our business: when you create a solid partnership with a vendor who has your same style and clientele you will receive quality leads and increase your closing rate.

Here are some things to keep in mind when submitting wedding pictures.

First of all, let’s talk about the images you will submit. They should be taken by a professional photographer (if Uncle Joe was the one who took the pictures they will most likely be rejected by the publisher). Keep in mind that the photographer owns the images (forever!) so always ask him or her for permission to submit the images to a blog or magazine. Photographers will love to have their work featured so expect a “Yes, absolutely!” from them. There’s an exception, though: sometimes publications and blogs require exclusivity so if your photographer already submitted the images somewhere else you cannot send them to another blog or publication.

Another piece of advice (and this has nothing to do with submitting images but always good to keep in mind) is, make it very clear that pictures from weddings planned by you will never be given to other professionals in your field. Think about this: you’re a wedding planner and the photographer gives pictures from one of your weddings to another planner who is starting out and needs some “stock” photos for her brand new website… Big no here! Always clarify this with the photographer.
There is a great website that allows you to amplify your exposure in the wedding world: Two Bright Lights, an online publishing platform that connects photographers and vendors with hundreds of editors to help them get published. Ask your photographer to upload the wedding images and editors will have easy access to them.

Ask your couples if they would like to get featured

Most of the times they will say “YES!” so this step is easy! What I usually do is send my couple a short questionnaire with questions about their relationship and their wedding day, a compelling story always sells more (see below)

Get your photographer’s permission

As mentioned above, the photographer should also be flattered and happy to give you the images for the submission. Another easy step!

Fill out a submission form

Many publications and blogs have submission forms that you can conveniently fill out online and a list of vendors is always required, so please make sure you don’t forget anyone! If the wedding is published on a blog, corrections or updates might be allowed and the missing vendors can be quickly added but if the wedding is published on a magazine there will be no changes allowed once it’s printed. And that vendor will be very upset! Yes, it happened to me… The editor just forgot to add the floral designer and that same magazine was sold for an entire year.
Another reason why you want to include your vendor team is that they will be excited to share the feature on their social media channels and on their website or blog so your exposure will be amplified.

Select the right pictures

Gather the images that best tell the story of your wonderful couple. Always include details and elements that can inspire future couples. Submission forms usually include specific guidelines so make sure that you follow them carefully.
Two Bright Lights allows you to submit up to 150 images per event in an album, while other blogs and publications ask for 20-25 to 75-100 per wedding.
Here’s the perfect photo formula from Two Bright Lights: 5 invitation shots, 5 shots of the venue / signage, 15 getting ready shots, 5 ring shots, 10 detail shots of the clothing / accessories, 10 first look shots, 20 couple portraits, 5 wedding party photos, 10 ceremony decor and detail shots, 15 ceremony shots, 35 reception decor and detail shots, 5 cake and dessert shots, 10 reception shots/party shots. Not needed are: family portrait shots (unless they are important to the story), food shots (unless they are really cool, maybe a celebrity chef was hired and he prepared something out of the box), shots of guests (unless they are dear to the couple, or maybe pets).

Resize and edit

Publishers are usually looking for natural light and true colors so don’t go crazy with special effects and filters with your pictures.
Make sure that you resize the selected images according to the submission guidelines. Editors are constantly receiving wedding submissions (on an average, 75-100 a week) and if they have to edit 75 images you sent them they might just reject the wedding – they don’t have the time for this. They should also be high-resolution images and you can send them via e-mail or via Dropbox (again, this will be specified in the submission form)

Tell a story

Pictures say more than words but a beautiful story should accompany the images. Wedding couples love to relate to that story while they see the pictures, and a lot of details will make more sense if they have a special meaning in the couple’s story. Don’t worry if you are not an excellent writer, the publisher will make the appropriate changes (you can even send bullet points and short sentences with the most important details and the publisher will write the story for the feature)

[bctt tweet=”Wedding submissions get more attention when you add your couple’s unique story “]

Choose publications carefully

There are tons of different options online and in print and you will need to do some research before finding the right publications and blogs that fit your wedding (you don’t want to waste your time and their by collecting images, creating the story, sending the submission and then realizing it was not for that audience). You can send your submission to more than one but try to limit this to less than ten publications. Also, make sure that they do not require exclusivity.
For instance, Southern Weddings has specific requirements: When choosing weddings for their site, they look for meaningful Southern details, and the wedding must have taken place in the Southeastern United States or have a Southern component or appeal to Southern couples in some way.
If you don’t know which blogs accept submissions or you are not sure which ones could be a good fit for your work, check out Wedding Blogs 100, a collection of the most popular and influential wedding blogs curated by BrideTide.

Got featured? Congrats! Now share on social media

Brag about it! Let everybody know about the accomplishment and make sure that you tag your vendor team. If you are friends with the couple on your social media platforms include them, they will be excited to share the post with their friends and family.

TAKE ACTION ~~~~~ Find the best weddings you have done in the last few months and work on a submission packet today or this week. Let me know when your wedding is featured!

photo credit: an alarming number of wedding magazines via photopin (license)

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