How to Create a Winning Submission for SouthBound Bride

A smiley moment with my fab EdWed ladies, Anneli & Louise (pic: Maxeen Kim)

It’s FRIDAY! But before I bring you some bridey inspiration (and boy oh boy, will you love the inspiration I have today), I wanted to do a post for my fellow industry peeps, specifically photographers and co-ordinators, and even fellow bloggers. As you may remember, this week saw the first ever Editorial Wedding Workshop at the fab Cannizaro House, a new venture I put together with photographer Anneli Marinovich and stylist and blogger Louise of b.loved. It’s always a bit scary to do something new, and I must admit that since I was handling all the morning’s teaching, I was a little terrified I would just bore all the students to death. Fortunately, it seems we all pulled it off – one of our lovely students Charlie has already written a lovely post about her day, and feedback from the rest of the class was just as nice. *blushes* We have more workshops in the pipeline (and psst… not just in the UK) but in the meantime, I thought I would tell you a bit of what the day was all about. The Editorial Wedding is all about getting published (both in print and online), publishing and submitting effectively, building relationships and personal branding, and learning to shoot in an editorial way to give yourself the best chance of success. Every day (and I really do mean every day) I see photographers and other suppliers make basic mistakes that mean their work doesn’t get featured, or missed opportunities to promote their businesses effectively. I’m a huge believer in sharing the knowledge I have gained with others (each one teach one, as Miranda Bailey would say), so I thought it was about time I went into a bit more detail about what makes a winning blog submission, with particular reference to SBB. And shared some of the Instagram pics from the day with you as well!

In my other life in educational publishing, I can tell you that when kids hit high school, one of the first things they teach them in English class is about audience and purpose. You have to know who you are writing for, and what your purpose is in writing, so that you can choose the correct register and style. In the same way, if someone asks my advice about submitting a manuscript to a book publisher or agent, I’ll always advise them to research which publishers are looking for the kind of book they have written, and to write them a personal cover letter that shows they have done this research and have something valuable to offer. It’s the same as you might do if you were applying for a job – trust me, as an employer you can spot a form cover letter in a couple of seconds, and it never leaves a good impression. I certainly don’t mean to imply here that bloggers are in some kind of authority position – the blogger/photographer relationship is an equal one built on mutual respect and co-operation. I’m simply saying that, as a photographer or supplier, you are going to have your best chance of standing out amongst the many submissions every blog receives if you make sure that what you send is what the blogger is looking for. The process gets less formal as you build relationships, but when it’s your first time, you definitely have to know your audience.

The EdWed in action. (pics by Anneli Marinovich & b.loved)

So what are the key things to look for on every blog’s submissions page?

1. How does the blog prefer to receive submissions?

There are a number of ways to get your images in front of a blogger. These include:

  • Emailing a selection of images in a zipped file or through a file sharing service like Dropbox or Wetransfer (you’ll have to follow up with a full set later on)
  • Submitting a full selection of images through a special online system (Style Me Pretty operates a really good one)
  • Sending a link to your own blog post, Facebook or Flickr album
  • Using a service such as Two Bright Lights.
Here at SBB, I prefer either a blog link, or a selection of images sent via Dropbox. (I’ll use Wetransfer, but I’m not crazy about it because sometimes it expires within my submission period and then I have to start over.)

Some bloggers won’t accept email submissions, or blog links. They all have their reasons, so don’t just take a one size fits all approach. Check their guidelines.

2. How many images should you submit?

Again, this is a huge area of difference for bloggers. Some are happy for you to send up to 400 images, while others as you to submit less than 10 for consideration. If they don’t tell you, I’d assume between 60-100 images is about the right amount.

At SBB, I’m happy to either receive up to 10 spec images via email and then if I accept them, I’ll ask for a full set, which should be 60-120 images.

3. What size should the images be?

We bloggers all have different blog widths, so again, this varies. The smallest size is usually 600px across and I’d recommend that photographers use this for the length of landscape images and the width of portrait ones to give the most flexibility. If you send images that are the wrong size, the chances are that you’ll have to resupply them or they’ll end up not looking as they should. Nobody wants that. I’d recommend Blogstomp as a super easy way to resize images, so grab a copy if you don’t have one.

At SBB, we ask photographers to send images that are:

  • 610 px across
  • each separate (i.e. no collages please)
  • without watermark.

4. How long will it take before I know if a submission is successful?

Some bloggers manage to do this in 48 hours (I have no idea how) and some blogs ask for up to six weeks to make a decision. Check this information BEFORE you submit, and respect the time given as a guideline. Don’t submit something on a Friday and then send it somewhere else if you haven’t heard back by Monday night – not cool. Once the stated time has passed, it’s acceptable to chase (nicely) or to politely withdraw your submission and send it somewhere else. NEVER SUBMIT TO MORE THAN ONE BLOG AT A TIME. I know you’re dying to get your work out there, but trust me, your patience will be worth it. The scattergun approach is never your friend.

SBB has a two week submission period, and I try to get back to everyone in that time. If you haven’t heard back within that window, I’m always happy to hear from you to make sure that the submission hasn’t been lost along the way!

5. What else is needed?

Sometimes the above is all you need to know in order to make your submission, but some blogs ask for a short description or a full list of suppliers at first submission. My advice is to have all your ducks in a row, so:

  • Make sure you get the couple’s permission (and supply their contact info if needed)
  • Send a list of suppliers (include email addresses and Twitter handles for maximum efficiency)
  • A short description is always a good idea
  • Confirm that the wedding or shoot hasn’t been submitted elsewhere – many blogs ask for exclusivity.
Here at SBB, I welcome all the above, but the minimum for me is the couple’s contact details and information about whether or not you have submitted the wedding elsewhere.

Finally? Find out the blogger’s name and use it. It’s such an easy thing to do, but it really makes a difference. I’m Gaby, in case you missed that ;) (And please don’t spell it Gabby, because I hate that.)

Epic class photo. And our goodie bag! (pics by: Anneli Marinovich)

Now here’s something cool. I mentioned above that we gave our EdWedders a directory to help them with their submissions (it also has lots of space for notes, and it’s a nice slim little book at 40 pages to keep next to your computer or in a desk drawer for whenever you need it). Well, I have a few extra copies, and I’ll be selling them – first come, first served. There really is a limited amount, so get in quickly! The cost is just £8.95 + P&P, and if you’d like a copy drop me a mail at [email protected].

Did you find this useful? I hope so! I have SO MUCH MORE info to share with photographers, this is really just the tip of the iceberg, so if you want to make sure you are the first to know about new workshops, please drop me a mail ([email protected]).



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