As a photographer there is no better sight in the World than seeing your images published in a magazine or on the pages of a newspaper. Publications pay photographers to use their
work within their pages too so not only do you get the pleasure of seeing your work in print you also get paid!
Many publications are now reducing the numbers of staff photographers and relying more on freelance photographers and agencies to provide their images so opportunities for seeing your work published are going to grow. We take a look at
how any photographer can get their images on to the pages of the press.
Before You Start
Before you start submitting your work all over the place you should do some research as to which magazines and newspapers would be most interested in your work. For instance you wouldn't submit an image about fishing to a magazine about knitting. Well you could but they would be very unlikely to use it and you'd be wasting your time and theirs.
First then you have to take a good look at what you are going to offer the magazines. If you specialise in a certain subject that will help you see where there are possible avenues who may be interested in your pictures. So sticking with our fishing 'line' for a second, take a look at the shelves of your local newsagent or search online for publications about fishing. Perhaps though you specialise in sea fishing, so is there a magazine for that? There can also be magazines from overseas who might like what you shoot too. The more research you put in to finding target publications the more likely you are to find some that want your pics in their pages.
In the UK at least there is a publication called the Freelance Photographer's Market Handbook which is published yearly and lists numerous UK magazines and newspapers who potentially use the work of freelance photographers. Here's a link to Market Handbook. Note we have no affliation to this publication and provide a link only as a reference.. (Sorry, that's a bit of legal stuff). Perhaps you already read some publications that specialise in what you produce so take a look at the back (or front pages) where they list the people who put the magazine together and see if there are any contact details for deputy editors or picture editors. Perhaps best not to approach the editor or publisher of the mag as they would probably direct you to the staff who put their articles together or deal with imagery. Sometimes they provide details of how you can speculatively submit your work too. There's a lot of research to do before you send anything out so be prepared to put some time in at this stage. It will save you wasting your time by sending work to places that aren't suitable for one reason or another. Having identifed potential publications ther are subtle differences between mags and papers so lets take a look at those.
Newspapers print everyday, some at the weekend but all feature many news-related images. They are always very interested in news-centric images especially if they are running a story about specific news item. Whilst opportunities to sell newsworthy images exist days, weeks, months and years later, the best time to get your images used is when that news is current. Of course this makes it very difficult to submit images to these publications so research these channels before you go out taking news images. Some stock agents offer ways to get your images in front of the newspapers very quickly. Alamy for instance has a specialist stream for news images, making them available to the major publications within minutes of the photographer loading them up to Alamy site. Alamy also has a news option on their Stockimo app (other apps and stock agents may be available) which means anyone who uses an iPhone and has downloaded their app can submit news-based images to Stockimo that are immediately made available to the national press. Note that an account has to be created before submitting so it's worth checking out the app before you intend to start using it for creating those images.
Some photographers do very well by specialising in providing news images from their part of the world as their local knowledge of the location and what's happening there gives them a head-start in finding the most interesting pictures. Finding these niche markets is a real opportunity for image sales. Planning ahead for big events will pay dividends as you can prepare by scoping out locations, times and maybe even requesting press credientials. However don't bank on getting these as they can be restricted to only a few media people. If you look at some of the big UK events of recent years such as the Tour De France, any photographer could go out and shoot newsworthy pictures. No press credentials are needed when the event rides down a road across the countryside. You are though competing with many other photographers so your work has to be very good to stand out amongst the many that will be submitted to the press. We interviewed photographer Keith Morris who spends most of his time working just within his home county in Wales. To read the interview click here.
How often do we see the newspapers use weather pictures? If there's a bad or a good weather day that is newsworthy, they will very often use images of that weather submitted to them just hours or minutes before they go to press. This required a photographer to be out there capturing scenes that typify the weather but photographed in an interesting way. Run-of-the-mill images won't be used because lets face it, we've all seen them hundreds of times and who wants to see another. So there's the challenge for the freelance photographer, find new ways to capture the news. You don't need an exotic location, just the will to get up and out there and a keen eye for an interesting picture. Studying what's used by the press gives an idea of the subjects and standards required to make the press. Of course it's not just weather pics that are used, maybe its a shot of a huge traffic jam or a protest march but it should be noted that these scenes are available for all photographers to get to and shoot.
Most magazines publish monthly and so feature articles about their specialised subject that aren't as time-critical as a newspaper so the scope for images expand greatly beyond just news. As part of your research you should see what kind of images they're already using and aim to create work that matches that style and quality. Most magazines will be happy to accept speculative submissions of quality images that will slot in to their designs.
Magazine requirements are different to newspapers as they're not so driven by current affairs. This means you can submit work you have taken your time to think about and create rather than having to be on top of a happening event. That doesn't mean they aren't interested in newsworthy images, some articles they write will refer to past events so they'll always need pictures for that but you can expect the majority of the shots to be less 'newsy'.
If a publication is interested in your work they may ask you to let them have copies of your images for them to hold on file until such as time as they have an article that needs your shots. Don't expect to make a sale immediately.
Take a look at our interview with cycling photographer Graham Watson. He got his break by photographing the Tour de France in his own time and at his owen expence. By creating a winning image for competition his work was seen by a wide audience and gave him an opportunity to start submitting to the cycling magazines. Here we see a mix of newsworthy imagery and typical magazine imagery, so Graham's work transends both markets which can only be a good thing. To read more about Graham cycling photography career click the link.
We also have an interview with the publisher of EOS Magazine who actively seek images from photographers who shoot with Canon gear. Read the interview by clicking on the Business Insight link below.
Shoot,upload,repeat is the mantra of many a stock photographer who aims to make as much money as possible from their images. See how that's possible here.
We talk to EOS magazine where Canon photographers can submit images to be used in their articles.
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