With the explosion of digital photography, it has created a lot of opportunities in photography that once were not available to anyone but professional photographers. With so many new photographers in the profession, it has helped expand the market for both publications and photography opportunities and created new sources of images and places to sell them. But as a new photographer it may seem challenging to get started so let's take a look at the world of magazine photography.
The World of Magazines
Although there are lots of magazines covering celebrity gossip and trendy news, there are also thousands of other magazines on just about every subject. There are magazines about dogs, cars, computers, architecture, fitness - the list goes on forever. Magazines like these are always on the look out for relevant and useful images for their audiences.
One way to think about it is that these magazines will always need images of their topics and are happy to pay for them. Dog magazines will always need good pictures of dogs, and are more than willing to pay for them.
How to Get Started?
First, you should look for a niche that you find interesting. Whatever topic you love, chances are good that there is a magazine focused on that particular subject. So, select a market, and then head to the bookstore and pick up a couple of magazines focused on your topic. Take a look at the kinds of photos they are using, and ask yourself if these are the kinds of photographs that you will enjoy taking. It's also important to be honest with yourself at this step - can you deliver photographs that are at or above the quality of the photos they're using? If not, work on your photography until you can.
Look through each magazine and find contact information for the photo editor, or information on how to go about making submissions. It is important to figure these guidelines out before sending anything, as submissions that do not meet the guidelines will likely not be accepted. Once you know where and how to send your photo, send it in. It's always good to accompany the photo with a brief note - this is a good place to link your portfolio.
It's Time to Wait
Anytime you submit a photo to a magazine, plan to wait several weeks for a response. Magazines are a print media, and even if accepted your photographs will not show up for a few months. Additionally, it's always best to only submit each photo to one publication at a time, this way you don't run the risk of having to decline an offer because another editor has chosen to use your image.
Most magazines will note their usual wait time for a response, which can be anywhere between two and eight weeks. If after that time you still haven't heard anything, then send a polite follow up message to the editor about your submission.
What's really amazing about selling photographs to magazines is that the process is so simple. All you have to do is find it, shoot it and mail (plus a little waiting). Selling your first photo to a magazine may sound like a crazy dream, but once you get into the habit of making submissions you'll be amazed you didn't try it sooner!
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