So. You have bought a camera, you know how it works, and now you want to take it a step further! You want to share your photos and if possible get them published for other people to see. But where to start?
There are a lot of ways you can get your photos published, below I have mentioned a few ways, which I believe works, or which have worked for me in the past. Remember: there are many other ways, which might work better for you!
However, before you plan to follow these steps there is one thing you must remember: make sure to view you photos with a very critical eye before you ask someone else to publish them! I usually recommend to share them online, either via facebook or in your local photo club (if you are a member of such) and ask for criticism (good things as well as issues where you can improve). The first few times I received negative feedback I was not sure whether this business was something for me at all! I had spent a full week shooting birdlife with my newly purchased equipment and was extremely happy with the result, which to me looked like the stuff I saw in magazines and on posters. My mistake? not knowing my camera well enough, not using a tripod or simply being too biased. Remember: if you wanna make it in any business you have to work hard and dedicated. And it takes time, sometimes very long time.
How to stay motivated?
Every music photographer in the world is dreaming about, one day. to shoot a cover for one of the major magazines in the industry, although it might not happen overnight, you will get closer to that big assignment for every little job you shoot.. remember: “Every time you press the shutter, you are one shot closer to your dream assignment”!
I am personally motivated by two particular magazines, which I know is still not an option for me, but to remind myself every day that this is what I am aiming for, I have copies of these magazines, not just in my office, but also on my bed side table, studio, car etc. I know every single photo editor on these magazines by name, title and I have got their contact details handy should I need it. I do NOT waste their time by sending in average photos, or photos which are irrelevant/not within their specific area of business. Twice a year I produce a contact sheet with my 15-20 best photos taken during the last six months and submit it to the editor. Although I am yet to make it to the cover, I have had a great amount of my photos published in various sub-sections of the magazines.
Get inspired to submit
Once a month I take my notepad and a pen and head into the city. I visit every single magazine and newsstand I know making notes of all the magazines I see, which would potentially be interested in my photos. I write down the title, contact details and the name of the editors (usually found on page 1-3). It is not unusual for me to bring home a list with 20-25 names of magazines or publications. Step two in this process (unless you can afford to buy a copy of each of the magazines) is to check out their homepage, make notes (mental as well as psychical) of their style of photography and feel free to send them an email requesting their submission/contribution guidelines (these are very often also written on their homepage under ‘contact’ or ‘about us’. Read them. and then read them again! If they ask for non-compressed Jpgs, then this is what you send them! do not start sending them tiffs or slides.
As mentioned further up, I do not submit any photos to anyone, until I have had other people commenting on them. If you can guarantee that all your photos are of extremely high quality and that they all are immaculate then it might be YOU they call when they need someone to work on a special assignment, or when they are hiring for new positions.
This is far from a complete guide, It is even far from being any guide at all, but is my thoughts and ideas on how to keep the spirits up and how to stay focused. For me there are no bigger joy than to see my images on print, especially if other people pay me to print them
What is your ‘one’ best piece of advice? please share with us.