I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

I’m so thrilled to announce the beginning of a new column that I’ve had in mind for several months now–Editor’s Notes! This column is strictly for the edification of photographers out there who are as much a part of our reader community as brides. With over 2 million weddings annually, 77% of couples are turning to the internet to help with wedding planning (while 67% turn to bridal magazines!). New media continues to grow as a source for brides, and blogs will further offer an ever-increasing influential platform for photographers. Getting your work noticed by editors, and your real weddings accepted for publication is an invaluable marketing resource. More than ever before, many photographers are anxious to know: How do I get my work published?

Here’s where Editor’s Notes comes in. For the last few years, I’ve spent hours and hours every day examining photographers’ work. My job is to edit through all those images to pick out photographs that not only feature great content, but that are also well-shot. I’ve often passed on a wedding, not because the content and details weren’t fabulous, but because the photographer didn’t shoot their details in a presentation that is suitable for publication. There are small simple fixes that can be done to improve the rate of publication, and I’m burning to share this knowledge with you! While I can’t tell you how to go about creating a great image, I can tell you how editors, like myself, identify great images. I can tell you what we’re looking for, what we like and what we don’t, and what you can do to improve your chances of publication.

But first, before we get down to the nitty gritty, for our first post, I wanted to bring in a photographer who has run the ropes of publication, and has some interesting insight to share about the value of getting your work featured. Michael Norwood utilized new media to his advantage, and quickly booked his first wedding season with the aid of online sources. His thoughts here give weight to the value of publication.

Wedding Blog Editors Notes: Ed. 01

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When you started your photography business, how do you think brides began to discover you?

When I began my photography business wedding blogs weren’t really a “thing” yet.  At the time wedding forums (TheKnot, WeddingBee, Project Wedding…etc) were a huge source of referrals for me.  I’d shoot an engagement session or wedding and once it had been blogged on my site, brides would go to their forum of choice and post a link or repost the images.

Has publication on wedding blogs contributed to your business in any way? If so, how?

As artists we like to think that if our work is good, we’ll be successful.  As business owners, however, we have to face the fact that if no one sees our work it doesn’t really matter how good it is. Over the past few years as wedding blogs have gotten more popular I’ve noticed a distinct shift in the way clients find me.  In the past it was word of mouth, random internet searches or as I previously mentioned, a wedding forum. Now more and more traffic comes from being featured on wedding blogs and naturally a portion of this traffic turns into inquiries and eventually clients.  There’s no doubt in my mind that wedding blogs play a significant role in bringing new clients to my business.

How would you compare the difference between wedding blog publication and national magazine publication?

In the past I focused a lot of my attention on getting published in magazines.  I always thought that this was the way to get your work in front of the largest audience.  I submitted weddings, editorial, and shot events for publications all in an effort to be published and for the most part I succeeded.  I’ve been published in all kinds of national magazines and have even been included in a few coffee table books dealing with weddings.  What I discovered is that, while being published in a magazine is nice, it hasn’t directly benefitted my business.  I’ve met a few coordinators that upon meeting me have said they’d seen my work in such-and-such magazine but I’ve never had a client come to me specifically because of a feature in a magazine.

Do blogs lead to an increase in traffic or better yet, inquiries?

Over the past couple of years I’ve shifted my focus to submitting to blogs rather than magazines. One of the main reasons I prefer blogs over print publication is simply the ability to measure its effect.  If I have a wedding published in a magazine there’s no way to tell if the people visiting my site have come because of that feature or if they randomly stumbled upon my work.  On the other hand, the traffic a blog sends is easily tracked.  I can tell exactly how many people have linked to my site because of being featured on a blog. On days when I’m featured, I can see a marked increase in traffic and invariably the inquiries come as a result.

Are you particular about which blogs you allow to publish your work? If so, what’s your criteria?

I’m very particular about which blogs publish my work.  For the most part blogs want content no other blog or magazine has published so you’ve got one chance to capitalize on the exposure if you’ve got a wedding or shoot that you’re really proud of.  I think its extremely important to do your research.  Get to know the style of the blogs you’re thinking about submitting to and then only submit to blogs that match both the feel of the shoot/wedding you’re submitting AND typify the client you’re targeting.  If your ideal client has an over-the-top, big budget, grand ballroom wedding, a DIY focused wedding blog might not be the right blog to submit to… no matter how cool you think the blog is.

Do you submit your work to be published, or do bloggers come find you?

I can usually tell when I’m working on a wedding that it would be a good fit for a certain blog.  In those cases I’ll take the initiative and submit the wedding.  Other times I’ll just post the wedding on my own blog and see what comes of it.  More often than not, if its a good wedding someone will ask about it.  Once you have a good relationship with a few blogs they’ll keep tabs on what your doing and let you know if they see something they want.

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I’m so honored that Michael has been willing to offer up his knowledge about publication, and how it has been a significant part of exposure for him. Michael offers photography intensives, called Woodshop for photographers that want the nitty gritty on how you go about improving your business.

Next week, we’re going to get down and dirty. All bets are off–you’ll be getting the hard facts and tips about how to improve your work for the editors’ eye!

Lastly, as we’ve established the importance of new media for gaining clients and exposure, I’ve decided to create a special sponsored listing section just for photographers. We will be launching sometime next week, so if you are interested in more information, email us here.