Getting your first photos published in print is a dream that comes true. The feeling of seeing your signature below the photo in a magazine is all the incentive you need to pursue your career further.
The only problem is that you are not the only photographer on the market and the market is saturated with amateurs and people who work closely with editors for years.
The truth is that it became very difficult to break the proverbial ice when it comes to photo-reporting. Agencies and publishers alike are keen on hiring people they know well and don’t want to risk using a new photographer. How can you get recognized and get your photos featured in magazines and print in general as a photographer who is just getting started?
Create a portfolio
Even though you may already have a portfolio, go over it again. What kinds of pictures are getting published these days? Are they documentary pictures taken quickly and in the heat of the moment or are they staged photos that convey certain messages. Depending on your style and passion, the portfolio you create will vary vastly. This means that you will be approached by some publishers but avoided by others – it’s only natural. Don’t create a portfolio filled with pieces you don’t feel comfortable with. If you want to get your photos published, make sure that you select the ones you are most proud of.
Focus on your best work when creating an online portfolio and use a very clean and accessible WordPress theme in order to do so. Make the job of browsing through your pictures as easy and fast as possible for the visitors. Picking a short catchy name for your professional career as a photographer is going to help you in spades because word travels fast between editors and publishers alike.
Think about the purpose
Why do you want to have your photos published in magazines? This is the most important question you have to ask yourself before doing anything concrete about it. As a photographer, your job is to find a certain niche in which you will create photos. If that’s magazine publishing, it will require a studio and equipment that will allow you to stage and direct photos for your publisher.
Create a series of demo photos that will showcase what kind of equipment you are dealing with and what you are passionate about. Convey the message that you are willing to work with magazine publishers in your portfolio and in the application paper that you send to the publisher. The more special they feel about you approaching them, the more likely you are to get hired long term.
Choose your publisher(s)
Instead of applying for as many publishers as you can think off, try making a shortlist of candidates that would suit you. Just like they are picking and choosing photographers. If you land a spot as a photographer in a magazine that you despise or don’t feel comfortable working with will affect your work drastically. Having a job that you don’t like is counterproductive, and it goes for photography as well as any other job employment.
Your quality of work might drop and you might feel depressed or stressed because you have your photos in a magazine that you don’t like. Focus on three magazines at most that work best for your style of work and approach each of them with an offer of cooperation. If you need help writing a letter or an application for a photographer’s spot, you can always get academic help online and have your paper written and edited, allowing you to focus on photos instead. If one refuses, you still have two more to contact, leaving your information with each one for further consideration. Don’t settle for anything less than what you think is worthy of your time and effort.
Use Creative Commons
Using Creative Commons (CC) license is essential in photography – you don’t want anyone to trick you into giving up your ownership rights. These licenses are free to use and should be applied to any photo that you create.
Depending on the type of photo that you made, try to give more or less rights for printing and publishing to your publisher. Don’t give them free control over your photos and always have a way to revoke them or charge for any additional use they make. This is an essential part of photography practice that many newcomers fail to grasp quickly enough, leaving them used and confused by the publisher.
Believe it or not, social media networking is the best way to get noticed by the public. Even though you may not have connections inside the publisher’s firm, this is a good way to place your name on their radar. While it may take longer to get hired, it’s not impossible to be asked to work for a magazine publisher instead of you coming to them. Social networking is very cheap and accessible, and all you have to do is create profiles on a couple of different platforms and start posting your watermarked photos.
The watermarks will help people recognize you as the author and also stop anyone from using them as their own. Approach and talk to as many people in the industry as you can, as soon as you start actively making photos. Everyone wants to publish photos from a photographer who is reliable and social. It will not only help you make friends and acquaintances but also get you exclusive photo opportunities that you would otherwise miss out on.
Patience and passion
The truth is that photographer’s lead a very difficult life. You are constantly on the move and thinking about your next photo-shooting. Not only that, but as a freelance photographer you are constantly thinking about your income and if you will have enough money to last through the month. The best photographers are the ones who didn’t give up when life was hard on them.
It will take patience to get hired by a magazine and have constant work coming your way. The only way to get there is to be passionate about your work and love to make photos. If you are doing it only for the money, you might be in the wrong line of business. Think about your purpose as a photographer and your passion will attract the publishers to you. Photos that are made by heart are easily spotted, and this will be your ticket to become a professional magazine photographer.