Tips for Photographers trying to get Published

I have worked with many photographers and photo agencies over the years and I have a bit of insight on what it takes to get noticed, and get published.

  • Make yourself visible

First of all, photo editors can’t ever use you if they don’t know who you are. Get yourself out on the web as much as possible, it’s the first place we go when we are searching for images. Join ASPP, find me on twitter, even send an email introducing yourself. If it all possible work with an agency that will showcase your images. As much as some photographers don’t want to hear this, most of us generally do check major photo suppliers website before we go to individual photographers.

  • Build a website

If you are really trying to go it alone and don’t want to use an agency, by all means do so. BUT. Get a website, and promote it. When you’re building your site, make sure you allow Google indexing and searches, otherwise, again, I won’t ever see your website at all.

  • Who are you and how do I get in touch with you?

Make sure your contact information is clearly visible, and in multiple locations. An email address is crucial and should be on every page, in addition to a phone number somewhere. Link to your Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn accounts. Tell me what kind of photography you specialize in, animals, landscapes, food? Who have you worked for before? Do you only do assignment work? The more I know about you and your photography the more likely I will keep coming back.

  • Keywords

A well designed site is great, but the most important aspect is a really great search engine. Of course, the best search feature in the world won’t do you any good unless you keyword, keyword, keyword. I need specific location information, dates, common names, scientific/latin names, everything you can possibly think of to help me find what I need. You might have the most gorgeous photo I have ever seen, but I can’t use it unless I know the where, when, hows, and whys.*

  • Image Accessibility

So I found that perfect photo in your fabulous search engine, I make it to that individual photo screen that gives me all the info I need to be sure it’s exactly what I am looking for, and I’m excited to pass it along to my editors and designers. But wait. You’ve disabled right click, “save photo as.” Oh no you didn’t.

I understand why you did that, you’re worried about copyright infringement. Congratulations, you’ve (sort of) successfully thwarted thieves from stealing your work. You’ve also thwarted ME from being able to show it to any of my co-workers. When I’m forwarding hundreds of lo-res fpos to them for consideration, how am I supposed to include yours? Your wonderful image has just been bypassed, and your site has been deleted from my favorites.

  • Be upfront

Of course I’m going to pay you for your work, you own the copyright and I respect that. But, do you have fees that you aren’t willing to negotiate? Clearly state those rates right on your website. I have a budget and if your rates are higher than the norm I have to know that, so I can either fit that one-of-a-kind image into my budget or skip it altogether. You are willing to work with what I can offer? Great, say so and we can make a deal!

  • Understand the new world of publishing

Know that I am always going to have legal documents for you to sign, I can’t pay you or publish the book without it. Be aware that we always ask for digital rights in addition to print rights now, it’s part of the standard contract for all publishers. It’s a brave new e-book and app world and we all have to live in it.

  • Looking for an easier way

So you’re brand new to this? You don’t know the ins and outs of website design and hosting? You want a web presence but need it to be a little easier? I get that, not everyone has the resources and/or know how to create their own searchable database and you want to spend your time taking those photos instead.

It is possible to put your images in front of me without knowing html or css. It’s called Flickr. I know, I know, you don’t want to be seen as an amateur. BUT. If you put it there I will find it. Just make sure you keyword properly and their search feature will do all the work. Then get yourself a blog on one of the many free platforms, (Blogger, WordPress etc) set it up with an easy template and your contact information and link to it from your Flickr homepage. Just because these are free tools doesn’t make them unprofessional, it’s how you use them that matters.

The key point here is, if I can find your photos and and then find you, that makes you publishable.

*Know your subject! You shot a great photo of a Canadian Lynx, but you keyworded it Snow Leopard. Guess what? I can’t trust your captioning and I won’t use your images.