First, let’s address the elephant in the room. As a wedding photographer, your goal is to capture your couple’s love story and give them a tangible way to reminisce on their most special day for years to come. That should always be the primary goal. It’s the why behind what you do, after all! But you can capture a couple’s wedding in a way that both serves your client, as well as helps you book more clients. Ready? Let’s talk about leveraging what you’re already doing to make the wedding submission process work for you.
Here’s the good news–the same things you love capturing for your couples, those sentimental moments and unique details, are the same things editors are looking for. So, you don’t have to take the attention off pleasing your clients to also make a wedding more appealing to an editor. Make a wedding more publishable by following these 5 simple tips!
1. Research Publications
Spend time researching your goal wedding publications. If there’s a target blog or magazine you want to get featured in, familiarize yourself with their aesthetic as well as the way they tell a couple’s story. Some publications focus more on portraits and less on the details, for example. Others cater heavily to the design and feature fewer images of the couple. You’ll start to get a feel for what types of photos you’ll need when submitting a wedding there.
2. Create a Shot List
Next, take all that knowledge from your research and create a shot list. Even if you’ve been shooting weddings for years, I encourage you to make a brief list (even if it’s a mental one) of some things to remember so that you can package the wedding perfectly for submission! Some of my clients have told me that they make their shot list their phone’s lock screen for the day for easy access.
3. Give Editors Options
Remember this–options, options, options! It’s always a good idea to shoot the design elements in a way that will give an editor plenty of options. For example, close-up shots of the estate table and all the pretty little details, as well as broader views of the tablescape within the reception space. Get a good mix of horizontally aligned images and vertically aligned images, too. This will help give editors a better look into the day and give them plenty to work with when formatting a feature for their blog or magazine.
4. Diversify Your Backgrounds
Building on the above, style the invitation suite and accessory details on a couple of different backgrounds. It’s a beautiful way to begin a wedding feature and editors love featuring these details! If this is something you feel too rushed to do, ask the couple for a copy of their invitation suite so you can take it home, style it, and shoot it at your convenience. Are there a couple of different backgrounds or locations you can use for portraits? Maybe use one for solo shots and another for portraits. If you can do this (sometimes it’s out of your hands due to the venue), it will go a long way in diversifying your images.
5. Double-Check Surroundings
When shooting, double-check your surroundings for things that make a wedding less publishable. Are the tablescape candles lit? Is there a trashcan photobombing that stunning bar setup? Are there jackets and purses cluttering up the lounge area? Is that angle capturing the parking lot in the background?
The wedding is over and you’ve done the hard part! When the photos are edited, go back to the submission guidelines of the blog or magazine you want to submit to. Check for any hints on what they may (or may not) want to see in a submission. Create a gallery just for that publication–they’ll appreciate that you took the time to curate a set of images just for them based on their guidelines. Remember, it’s all about packaging each wedding perfectly to make it an easy “yes” for the editor!
Hero photo courtesy of Ray Photography Co.