So you’ve been doing photography for a while, and you think you are at the stage where your images are good enough to get published by magazines. However, your submissions keep getting rejected, and you are unsure why. I am here to give you a little help from the magazine’s perspective. Here are some of our dos and don’ts when submitting your work to magazines.

Let’s start with DOs.

  1. DO Introduce yourself

It is simply a matter of manners to introduce yourself when you submit your work for a review. It doesn’t take any effort to type, “Hi, I’m [your name], and I’d like to submit my work to your magazine.” There, it is that simple. Of course, once you’ve become a regular contributor to a particular magazine, you can skip the introduction.

  1. DO write a brief intro about your submission.

It’s always good to provide a brief introduction to your submission. There has to be some kind of inspiration or concept that inspired you; otherwise, you wouldn’t have created your images. Your introduction will give your images meanings, so they are not just pretty pictures. Also, some publications have themes, and your introduction may help them see how your submission might fit in with their themes.

  1. DO include the team and styling credit with your submission.

The images you are submitting are not just the work of one person but also the rest of the team involved, such as the hairstylist, art director, stylist, assistant(s), model …etc. When you submit an editorial to a publication, you represent the whole team. So you have to credit everyone involved.

A fashion editorial is not a fashion editorial without clothing. Both time and effort have been put into designing the garments. So every item of clothing must also be credited to respect the fashion designers or brands.

  1. DO check all the credit, social media handle, and styling credit is correct, and spell correctly.

One of the thing that drive publications crazy are correcting credit and spelling. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure all credits are included and spelled correctly. Mainly social media handles and brand names. Those with more than 1 underscore in their social media handle are particularly difficult to see. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a message asking why they are not tagged when we were provided with the wrong social media handle in the first place.

When it comes to the styling credit, there are millions of brands out there, and some do have an unusual spelling that we are not familiar with or heard of. So when you provide your styling credit to us, we assume that’s how the brand name spells. Once your submission is published, it takes a lot of work to correct spelling mistakes. So don’t be surprised if a publication charges a fee to fix them.

We love full credits and simple file naming like 1, 2, 3 etc.

FEMME Rebelle Magazine and BOMBSHELL Magazine
  1. DO simplify how you label your image files.

Simple file naming will make our work much easier. Instead of leaving your image file name like IMG648523, simplify them to 1, 2, 3 …etc. This will also make style crediting much easier to follow for us.

  1. DO look at the submission rules and criteria

At a glance, all magazines look the same. However, every magazine has its own submission rules and criteria. Some may be similar to each other, but if you don’t want to waste your time spending hours sending out submissions just to get rejection back. You should do your research on the magazine you are planning to submit to.

  1. Do look at the type of editorials the magazine published to get an idea of what they are looking for before submitting your work.

Apart from rules and criteria, there are also different types of editorials magazines look for. Some do accept nudity, some don’t. Some take both men’s and women’s editorials, and some don’t. So don’t just submit your work to all magazines and hope one of them will take it. Not only are you wasting your time, but you are also building a bad reputation for your name. And when you DO eventually have a suitable editorial to submit, you will likely get rejected even before your work is seen. Do magazines have a blacklist? Yes, we do.

  1. DO try to build a relationship/connection with the magazine

Most independent magazines are run by a small group of people, so the same people likely go through all the submissions that come in. If possible, it is always a good idea to try and build a good relationship or connection with them.

One way to build a relationship with the magazine is when you have become a regular contributor and notice that it’s always the same person responding back. You can try being more casual with your e-mail. You can try mentioning other topics in your submission e-mail. Typical conversation topics such as the weather, traveling, and food are a good start. If the person is also interested in making a connection, they will respond to you on those topics. And before you know it, you have built a good relationship with the magazine, which will surely give you an advantage over others.

Unfortunately, many magazines nowadays use publication platforms to deal with their submissions. In that case, it’s not so easy.

  1. DO ask for feedback

If your submission has been rejected, asking for feedback is also one way to build a connection with magazines. However, remember that their feedback is based on what the particular magazine is looking for. DO NOT take any feedback as a personal criticism, as it is not meant to be. If you are an easily offended person, just ask which images they like instead and figure out why they like those particular images more than the rest.

Again, unfortunately, quite a few magazines have started charging for feedback. By all means, if you think it’s worth the money, go ahead, but your relationship with them might become money-based.

  1. DO personalized your e-mail

Personalizing your submission e-mail makes you seem more sincere. Even if your submission e-mail is a copy and paste. Yes, it’s trivial, but it does make a difference. Try to include the magazine’s name in your submission e-mail if possible. However, make sure you spell the magazine’s name correctly, or worst, forget to change the magazine’s name from your previous submission e-mail.

  1. DO give time for the magazine to reply

Most in-demand publications receive a lot of submissions daily, and it takes a lot of time to go through them all. Most people are so accustomed to immediate responses nowadays that they expect the same with magazine submissions. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Not only that you won’t get a quick reply; sometimes you won’t get any responses at all. But don’t get discouraged. If you don’t hear anything back, try again.

Now let’s talk about the DON’TS.

  1. DON’T send a blank e-mail

If you submit your work to magazines by just writing “Submission” on the e-mail title, attach some images, but no writing. Then you are wasting your time. Sending a blank e-mail is just rude, not to mention it shows that you are lazy and insincere. Those are not the kind of people any magazine would want to work with. Besides, if you can’t be bothered to write anything in your submission e-mail, then we can’t be bothered to respond.

  1. DON’T write an essay with your submission e-mail

So we mentioned writing an intro and a brief about your submission in your e-mail, BUT we don’t mean to write an essay. So don’t write a life story. As I said previously, some magazines receive a lot of submissions every day. We don’t spend too long on each one so that we can get through all the submissions quickly. A paragraph that’s no more than 50 words is usually more than enough.

  1. DON’T provide credits in social media handles only

Yes, social media seems important, but not enough to replace your name. First of all, not everyone uses their name as their social media handle. So if your social media handle is @pinkpolarbear, for example, we cannot credit you as pink polar bear. Secondly, social media will not stay forever, but your name will.

  1. DON’T forget to include yourself in the team credit.

Some people think that just because they are the person submitting work to a magazine, they don’t need to include themselves in the team credit. Unless you were not involved in creating the images, everyone’s name should be in the team credit, including yourself.

  1. DON’T submit hundred of images.

There is no reason why a magazine would want to see ALL of the images that you’ve taken. Most magazines, if not all, are only interested in the final images. That means a handful of images you’ve chosen out of all the photos you’ve taken. These images should represent the story that you are trying to tell. If they are interested in seeing alternative image options, they will ask. Submitting hundreds of images shows that you don’t care, are too lazy to sort through them, and are not confident about your work.

  1. DON’T submit color and B&W versions of the same images.

Suppose a magazine wants to see an alternative version of an image. In that case, they will usually ask for them, providing they are interested in publishing your submission. It doesn’t add any benefit if you submit both a color version and a B&W version of the same images. It will also take twice as long to go through your submission, which we don’t have time for.

  1. DON’T submit low-resolution and watermarked images.

If you are going to submit low-resolution image files, make sure they are not so low that your images are pixilated. Or your images are so small that we can barely see any details. Watermarked image is a thing of the past. If a publication is not interested in publishing your submission, then they won’t use them watermarked or not. And if they are interested, they will usually ask you for higher resolution image files and permission to publish them.

  1. DON’T submit unfinished images.

If the images you are submitting are not published ready, don’t submit them. Imagine going to a restaurant, and they bring you a half-cooked dinner; it doesn’t make any sense.

  1. DON’T send group submission e-mail

Most publications like exclusivity, and they don’t want to have to fight with other publications for editorials. Therefore, when we see that you have submitted the same editorial to other publications, we will most likely reject them, unless they are amazing and worth fighting for. How do we know you have submitted to other publications too? Well, we can see all the different e-mail addresses you have included in the e-mail’s “To” bar or when it says “undisclosed-recipients.”

  1. DON’T retract your agreement

A big no no is when they submit, you accept, they declined because another magazine accepted their submission.

L’Affaire Magazine

This is probably the quickest way to get your name on the blacklist. If you have submitted your work to a magazine, and both of you have agreed to publish it. Don’t retract your agreement because another magazine that you prefer has also accepted your submission. This is a very unprofessional behavior.

  1. DON’T give up

Getting rejected is never a good feeling. Some people only get a couple of rejections before getting published; some may take over twenty submissions. Remember, it is your images that are being rejected, NOT YOU the person. And that’s ok because you will improve yourself with more practice, and your images will improve with you. Before you know it, your work will be published on multiply magazine covers. So don’t give up.

Bonus note: A pet hate for all publications is when we are asked to follow you on social media, but you don’t follow us in the first place, or worst, not follow back.

More like this

Lock-down in style

Lock-down in style

While 2020 was set to be “the year that changed the world”, I don’t think anybody thought that by changing the world they meant that we’d be in the current situation we face. And as we embrace each day and it’s news, the worlds lock-downs have seen much of the workforce turn their homes into […]
Vague Sensations Photo Book

Vague Sensations Photo Book

Vague Sensations Photo Book by Alion Kuznetsova This September San Francisco photographer Aliona Kuznetsova is releasing a new photo book called Vague Sensations. The photo book will be a result of 12 years of visual research on complicated emotions. It will include 53 best pictures and several short essays put into stylish linen-covered coffee-table book […]
IMPULSE NYC Launches Its Take Flight Campaign at WorldPride

IMPULSE NYC Launches Its Take Flight Campaign at WorldPride

IMPULSE NYC Launches Its Take Flight Campaign at WorldPride With a Party Aboard the Intrepid hosted by Scandal’s Guillermo Diaz and a performance by RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Honey Davenport Impulse NYC will launch its new campaign for 2019, Take Flight, at WorldPride with weekend events including its Pride Kickoff party aboard The Intrepid hosted by […]
Dr Humble

Dr Humble

Dr Stephen Humble, Medical Director at Harley Street and Twickenham based Hedox Clinic, has developed the Exfoliating Enzyme Mask by HDx SKIN. It is an exciting new experience in exfoliation, to rejuvenate and brighten dull and uneven skin within 30 minutes.
Beach Rats (2017) USA

Beach Rats (2017) USA

A troubled young Brooklyn man begins exploring his sexuality in a time of turmoil for him.
X by Charles Moriarty

X by Charles Moriarty

A new limited edition photography book, “X”, from Charles Moriarty that captures the last decade of his work photographing men.