Submitting your work to be featured is probably one of the most stressful things you can do as a photographer. Not only are you putting your heart and soul into every photograph you take, but you’re also then passing it off to someone to judge and decide if it’s worthy enough to be featured in their online or print publication! Talk about something that will scare the shit out of you! If that doesn’t then I don’t know what will!
When I first decided to submit my work it was just for personal validation of ‘am I doing this right?’. It was really just a confidence booster. As someone who believes photography is the thing I was put on the planet to do, it can be really scary putting yourself out there. I was also really shy and I just wanted someone with some status to say, ‘hey. This is good.’.
I began submitting my work and was denied the first couple of times. Instead of allowing this to scare me off, It actually instilled some epic work ethic in me. Those who said no motivated me to shoot more, get better and gain more experience.
I remember the first time I ever submitted an image that was actually featured…
I had done this little shoot with Jensen, who was 2.5 years old at the time. I remember loving the images and deciding on an image to submit places. Lemonade & Lenses was one of the places and, after submitted, it was a stressful few weeks waiting to hear back. One day an email appeared in my inbox and, lo and behold, they wanted to feature the image. This was back in 2013!
Since that first feature on Lemonade & Lenses, I have been submitting my work to be featured in multiple publications and am always so grateful when someone says yes to featuring my work. Since 2013, I’ve definitely learned a few things about how to submit your work and what to look out for to be sure you give yourself the best chance. Take a peek at my tips for submitting your work as well as my favourite places to submit!
1 – Read the Guidelines
Publications will be REALLY specific about the size, how to name your files, how many you can submit, etc. Be sure to read all of the guidelines closely and pay attention to all the specifics. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you run the risk of being disqualified.
2 – Cater to the Publication you are Submitting to
Are you submitting to a publication that generally features bright and airy images? Or, are you submitting to a publication that features more dark and moody images? Be sure to submit images that match the aesthetic of the publication you’re submitting to. If you do a bright day session then the images should be submitted where they have the highest chance to be featured. If you’re shooting outside as a storm is rolling in and the images are dark and dramatic, submit them to where they would have the highest chance of being featured. So how do you know what the publication features most often? Browse their blog and social feeds. Check out the work they like to submit before you submit your own.
3 – Join Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are the photographers best friend. Joining groups with like-minded photographers is a great way to submit your work and gain feedback from peers. Some Facebook groups actually source the images to be featured on their blog this way, so jump in on some groups and become part of the community.
Some of my favourite places to submit to are Shoot and Share. You can submit up to 50 photos for free but the contest only runs once a year, usually in January. What is especially cool about Shoot and Share is that it is all viewer based voting! 4 photos show up, you pick your favourite, then the next 4 photos show up.
Having your images featured is one of the best feelings. Not only is capturing moments for your clients an extraordinary feeling but having those images featured for other photographers to see as an example of work that is worthy of viewing for inspiration.
Have you ever had your work featured? What was your experience like? Share below!