Happy Friday! I hope you’ve got wonderful plans for this weekend. I’ll be tackling mounds of laundry, running errands, packing summer clothes (in the middle of January!!), and stuffing all sorts of styling supplies into a suitcase and jetting off to Playa del Carmen for our photo shoot. We’ve got some really great guest bloggers lined up for next week, so get excited!
For today’s Editor’s Notes, I am beyond thrilled to welcome fellow blogger and editor, Jen from Green Wedding Shoes. I sent along some pretty tough questions about her editorial process and I think her answers are incredibly insightful. Photographers, get out your pen and paper, because Jen’s tips are noteworthy and extremely valuable. Alongside Jen’s answers, I’m featuring some of my favorite images from her recent post on Ian and Emily’s wedding shot by Braedon Photography. I had the pleasure of meeting Braedon this week and besides being such a cool guy, he’s also glowing with talent.
Special thanks to both Jen and Braedon for sharing their knowledge, talent, and work!
1. Although most editors are looking for unique real wedding details, what are some things photographers can do to improve their chances of being featured?
If the wedding you’re shooting doesn’t have lots of gorgeous details, I’m also always looking for the story of the wedding day. When you arrive at the wedding, look around, I’m sure there are some unique elements there you can capture – maybe the landscape, architectural elements, the wedding guest fashion – be creative. I also love seeing the candid + sweet moments that photographers capture. Readers really want to see the real emotions from the day besides just all the pretty details.
Another idea if you aren’t photographing the type of weddings you want and are trying to get featured on a certain blog is to contact the editor about submitting a styled (inspiration) session. One idea that I love here on GWS is when a vendor (or team of vendors) contact me about turning one of my inspiration boards into a real shoot. By doing something like that, you know the editor of that blog will most likely like the style since it is based off their ideas.
2. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to photographers’ bad habits?
I absolutely love photographers who are tying new things with wedding photography – unique angles, mixing holgas and older film cameras into the day, and just putting their own spin on their photos. So, keep doing that! Brides + readers love that also. But to all of you doing a lot of post processing, please make sure it isn’t ruining your photos! Sometimes the submissions I receive have so many different post processing techniques on each photo that the wedding doesn’t look like a cohesive event – big disappointment and not a fit for a feature. Make sure you pick a style for your photos that you submit so they all look like a cohesive event. I do like when photographers submit a mix of color and black & white photos though – but the submission should be mainly color photos – readers like seeing all the details in full color!
3. How can photographers make themselves stand out and get noticed by editors?
It might seem obvious, but address your email to the editor with their name. Write a sentence or two so we know you really do read our blog and we aren’t one in a mass email. Also, learn the type of weddings that an editor likes and try to send ones that seem best for them. And please don’t send 10 weddings at once. Pick 1 or 2 that you really think are the best for that site and submit those with a sentence or two about why you loved that wedding and think it would be a good fit for that blog. If your first submission isn’t a fit, don’t give up! Wait until you have another wedding that you think is a great fit and submit again – a lot of it is also timing as sometimes I have features planned for the next 3 weeks and sometimes I’m looking for something for the next day.
In every real wedding I feature I’m always looking for one unique thing – it could be a unique detail, stylish fashion, a new idea (the couple got ready for the wedding together!), or a sweet story. Something that sticks out. Let me know what you think that is when you submit also.
4. What can photographers do during the submission process to make their real wedding easy and quick to feature?
I absolutely love Two Bright Lights. It’s really easy for me to see the photos, they are the correct size, and all the vendors and details are included. If you aren’t familiar with TBL, check them out for more info.
If you are emailing editors a wedding submission, please, please don’t send editors hi res photos! They take forever to download and often those submissions get pushed to the back since there are others I can look at much faster. Also, when you send a zip file, label the file with your (the photographer) name, not the blog. I think I have about 10 zips right now called “GWS_wedding.zip” Those are all on my desktop so if I decide I like one, it’s going to take some time to figure out who it is from (ie, your submission just got pushed to the back of the line). These little things make it a lot faster for us to look at your submissions.
5. Do you ever have to pass on a real wedding feature because the photographer didn’t capture it well? What could they have done to improve?
This does happen a lot. Much more from weddings brides submit when they didn’t hire a professional photographer or the photographer didn’t have the experience to capture all the details and moments. It’s a shame since you can tell they put a lot of work into their day, but the photographer missed all the details. Photographers – take some time to find out what details are important to the couple and make sure you capture those. I also really want to see the real moments from the day – the walk down the aisle as husband + wife, the first dance, the first look, the reception moments. I love portraits too, but the intimate moments the photographers capture are what often stand out – and are often missing. These are so great to mix between all the pretty details – it now feels like a real couple and not a staged photo shoot.
6. Many photographers blame their inability to get published on the type of clients/weddings they are booking. Is there anything a photographer can do to attract a client base whose weddings are publishable?
It’s true each editor is looking for a specific type of wedding to share on their site. If you aren’t getting the type of clients you want I would suggest these three ideas:
1 – Offer free wedding photography to a couple and have them share their ideas with you for the contest. If you are looking for an outdoor diy wedding, look for that in your submission. You will be giving away a free wedding, but hopefully this wedding you photograph will be great enough to get picked up by a blog or two and then you will attract similar clients once they see your work.
2 – If you are looking to get on a blog quicker, I love this idea that goes along with what Summer posted about last week on her engagement photo feature. Work with a stylist/designer and style your dream engagement shoot for a couple – and yes, styling an engagement shoot does not mean it’s a vintage picnic – thanks so much for saying that Summer!! There are so many other ideas – the best ones to me have meaning to the couple whether it’s a place that met, thing they love doing together, inspiration from a fave movie, etc. Blogs love engagement shoots that go beyond the normal and if you have one, this is a lot easier than an entire wedding and has the chance to get featured on your favorite blog.
3 – Advertise on the sites you are trying to attract brides from. I can’t speak for all sites, but for GWS 90% of the real weddings I share, the bride (and sometimes groom) read and got their ideas and vendors from GWS (as well as maybe some other blogs). The couples you are trying to attract read those blogs and often book a lot of the vendors from those blogs whether they found them on an ad, editorial or vendor guide. So support them!
Thanks again to Jen for sharing so many great tips! I hope our photographer readers (and some of you brides as well) are enjoying our Editor’s Notes. You can catch up with the entire series here! As the column continues, I’d love to hear from you. If you have questions you’d like answered about getting published, want to know what’s going on behind the scenes with editors, or want details from photographers who are getting features and bookings, chime in! Ask away and we’ll work on helping get you honest, meaty answers.