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How to get your photos published

Getting your work published in magazines is a huge bonus if you’re looking to increase the value of your portfolio. Many photographers see this as an impossible feat due to the saturation of the industry and the constant struggle to try and get noticed in their field. However, if your work is good enough for the glossy pages, the reality is it’s now easier than ever to get published – if you know how.


Photographer: Hex Photography; Models: Kae Bambi & Paranoir

Requirements

There are hundreds of magazines out there in need of content. Some of them are online only, some are in print, some are both, and they all vary in size and theme as to what they’re looking for. The best part of being featured in a magazine is that your credited work gets seen by thousands, and it’s a great achievement worthy of noting in your creative resume. The down is side is that most magazines don’t pay you for your work; the exposure is considered compensation enough. Also, a lot of the independent magazines require that your editorial be unpublished. This definition varies from publication to publication, but it could mean that even the photos on your Model Mayhem account would not meet the submission criteria, as they’ve been published on a public website. On the other hand, some magazines don’t mind this at all. It’s a tricky balance finding a publication you like and that suits your style.

Magazines vary as to what they are looking for, some require x amount of looks or require themed content for their upcoming issues. Some want only fashion and others might venture into fine art photography. Some might require the model be signed to an agency or that the clothes featured not be from a generic supermarket. After browsing through hundreds of magazines open for submissions, it normally boils down to only a handful that meets all the criteria of your particular submission. This can be a frustrating process.


Photographer: Hex Photography; Model: Mia Leng

Ownership

The general consensus throughout these magazines is that the photographer always retains their copyright on the images submitted, and after publication the photographer may use the accepted images for personal use as well. For this reason, the best type of work to submit may be your tfp or creative collaboration work, minimizing the cost of creating the shoot and getting more out of the shoot than a simple portfolio addition.

Submissions and wait times

Another frustrating aspect is the long waiting time before you get a response, especially if the work in question is unseen and unpublished; resisting showing your work to all your Facebook fans might be your biggest test in the whole process. Most magazines will not respond if your submission is unsuccessful and some may respond weeks (sometimes months) later wanting to accept. Patience is the biggest factor. If the publication does not state the waiting time, I recommend giving yourself one. This helps you move onto the next magazine who might appreciate your work more.

My greatest advice to all who submit to magazines is to read the submission guidelines very thoroughly. Something as simple as forgetting your website details may just be enough to be unsuccessful.  Keep in mind these magazines see hundreds of submissions and they simply do not have the time to chase down something you forgot.


Photographer: Hex Photography; Model: Jazzombie
Makeup Artist: Makeup by Meg & Em; Designer: Lillie Jean

Who’s looking for your work?

Here are some magazines, just to get you started, that are currently taking submissions. Please note this is just a guide and the information might have changed since writing this article:

  • Dark Beauty Magazine (alternative fashion and fine art)
  • Vigore Magazine (fashion)
  • Freque Magazine (weird fashion & fine art photography)
  • FaceOn Magazine (makeup and fashion)
  • F-Stop Magazine (contemporary photography)
  • NIF Magazine (nude fashion)
  • Retro Lovely (Pinup)
  • Pretty in Ink (Tattoo)
  • Superior Magazine (Fashion)
  • Peppermint (organic/green fashion)
  • Factice (Fashion portraits)

Hex Photography

Hex Photography specializes in affordable model portfolios, creative concepts and fashion photography. Her work has been published internationally and received numerous awards. It's often a little bit dark, unusual or mystical, and always unique.

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