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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 23 May 2013 (Thursday) 17:05
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selling photos to magazines

 
Thomas78
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May 23, 2013 17:05 |  #1

Hey all, pretty new to selling my work. Been working on my craft as a surf/bodyboard photographer and starting to get some quality photos that I'd like to sell to magazines but I have no clue how to go about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


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Tom ­ Reichner
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May 23, 2013 22:53 |  #2

I have "broken into" selling to magazines, but with much different subject matter (wildlife). I will tell you what I have learned about the business after several years of both failures and successes:

Most publishers will not accept images from any other than a few select photographers that they already have a well-established working relationship with. Magazine staff members are busy people with a lot of work to do. Like everyone else with a job to do, they want to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible - this is most easily accomplished when they work with contributors that they already know, and have "in the system". Remember that many of these people don't take much time deciding what photos to use in the magazine - as long as they have something decent to fill the page, they've done their job and can move on to the next task.

My advice is to be honest with yourself about your imagery. Look thru the pages of the magazines you want to submit to, and realize that your work will have to be both better than what is there, and different from what is there.

Also realize that, when you see an image that is in there that doesn't seem to be as good as some of yours, that it may very well have been taken by the author of the article it is supporting, or it could be one that was taken by a member of the editorial staff. Magazines will always prefer to use images that are submitted as part of a "text/photos package", and to use images taken by their own staff members. It is both cheaper and easier to do so, and they don't really care that the photos may not be as good as ones from other sources.

When making initial contact with the editor or art director, do not ask if you can submit images to them - rather, ask if they would send you their submission guidelines. That is a more professional approach, and shows that you are familiar with the publishing industry and how it works.

Do not be surprised if the submission guidelines state that they will only accept unedited, unmanipulated images. Many magazines have an art director with a graphics design background, and he will prefer unedited files to work with so that he can do the editing himself (if any editing is even required). For this reason, it is very important to get the images as good as possible in the camera, because the SOOC images are what they will be seeing when they review your submission. Most of the magazines I submit to require unedited image files, and, oddly enough, they frequently don't even bother to edit them before printing. I submit an unedited version of the photo, and they often take it just as it is and print it that way. So, getting it right in the camera really is very important.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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JacobPhoto
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May 24, 2013 01:48 |  #3

There's some search results down there \/ \/ \/ that will help you out.

It's not easy. You need to prove not only that you're a good photographer, but that you're better than the photographers they're already working with. It's about 18% talent, 31% who you know, 57% luck, and 6% being at the right place.


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P51Mstg
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May 24, 2013 06:26 |  #4

Nice post Tom, that pretty much sums up what I've learned over the years......

Mark H


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PhotosGuy
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May 24, 2013 09:06 |  #5

More: Submitting my work to magazines

JacobPhoto wrote in post #15962179 (external link)
There's some search results down there \/ \/ \/ that will help you out.

"Similar Threads" at the bottom-left.


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
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Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
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Kronie
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May 24, 2013 10:05 |  #6

P51Mstg wrote in post #15962470 (external link)
Nice post Tom, that pretty much sums up what I've learned over the years......

Mark H

Agreed. That was pretty spot on. Even though its true that some places work with a handful of established photographers, it doesn't hurt to keep submitting your work. Its no different than what a writer does. Keep sending stuff and if its good then eventually an editor will use it.

The part about getting getting it right SOOC is important. No cloning or dodging or altering images. Apparently its OK to use a warming filter, a GND, a CPL and other filters and whatnot in front of the lens for one shot but many editors view merging exposures and adjusting in Photoshop to be a composite. Which is a no.

Most of the places I send stuff to will accept a TIFF but I have had a handful of images where they requested a RAW file after. They want to use the image but they need the RAW. For landscapes especially I sometimes have 5 RAW files that I merge. Which one do you send? I send all of them and sometimes, they will use my original TIFF and sometimes they dont publish.

Also don't think your going to pay your mortgage selling to magazines. $50-$1,000 per image? Depending on the size. (I just got a $75 check for a quarter page image) Its great advertising though and its good for your ego I guess....




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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May 24, 2013 14:45 |  #7

Kronie wrote in post #15962969 (external link)
Also don't think your going to pay your mortgage selling to magazines. $50-$1,000 per image? Depending on the size. (I just got a $75 check for a quarter page image) Its great advertising though and its good for your ego I guess....

Kronie, that is pretty much spot on. $75 for 1/2 page or less, $150 for a full page, $250 for a double truck (2 page spread), $300 to $600 for a front cover is pretty much what the big, national magazines pay. By "big", I mean anything with a circulation of over a quarter million units per month.

Smaller and/or regional magazines pay significantly less. Some pay as little as $35 for a front cover, $10 or $15 for inside use, regardless of size.

There are many misconceptions out there (amongst the general public) about how much photographers get for images - hopefully this will help to clear that up.

_______________

By the way, I spent a little time thinking about shooting for surfing magazines. How would you make your images "stand out" from what they are used to seeing? I admit I know little to nothing about surfing, but I would think that anything taken from the shore is pretty much just going to blend in with all the images they see all the time.

Maybe approach it a little differently and get in the water - out there on the waves with the surfers. Shoot with a waterproof camera. Even a good quality point and shoot that is especially made to go underwater. Shoot wide angle stuff from just a few feet away from the surfers & bodyboarders. That's the kind of stuff that may stand out, and have a completely different look and feel than the images that people take just standing on the shore. You've got to offer them something very different, or else they will have no reason to use your stuff.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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redvoodoo
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May 24, 2013 15:12 |  #8

Great info in this thread. I am honestly a bit shocked at how paltry the pay rates sound for published photos. Do these rates differ based on the type (ie is a half-page sized portrait more or less versus a half-page sized automotive shot) of photography?


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Tom ­ Reichner
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May 24, 2013 15:49 |  #9

redvoodoo wrote in post #15963932 (external link)
Great info in this thread. I am honestly a bit shocked at how paltry the pay rates sound for published photos. Do these rates differ based on the type (ie is a half-page sized portrait more or less versus a half-page sized automotive shot) of photography?

No, the subject matter doesn't matter. Rates may vary greatly from one publication to another, but each publication has a set rate based on printed size and/or usage.

If I sell a portrait of a buck deer to a magazine, and it's a very basic portrait that practically anyone could take - just a buck standing there looking at the camera, and they print it at a half page, I get the same amount of money as I would if they used a once-in-a-lifetime fight-to-the-death photo of two huge trophy bucks battling it out.

1/2 page is 1/2 page, period. There's really nothing subjective about it. You agree to their pay rates when you sign the contract (which is normally signed and turned in with your first submission).


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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JacobPhoto
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May 24, 2013 16:50 |  #10

Rates are tied to circulation, which has been plummeting over the past several years.

In the automotive circles, circulation is 1/2 to 1/5 or less of what it was 10 years ago


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Mark1
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May 24, 2013 19:11 |  #11

JacobPhoto wrote in post #15964175 (external link)
Rates are tied to circulation, which has been plummeting over the past several years.

In the automotive circles, circulation is 1/2 to 1/5 or less of what it was 10 years ago

This is true, but as I have found out, for different reasons. How much they pay is directly to how popular the magazine is. Mags you have never heard of pay a lot more than popular ones. Simply because everybody wants to get published in the popular ones. So why pay more when you have a desk full of people that will do it cheaper. Then the magazines nobody heard of are dieing for quality shooters and cant find many so they pay better to get them.


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JacobPhoto
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May 24, 2013 19:21 |  #12

Mark1 wrote in post #15964525 (external link)
This is true, but as I have found out, for different reasons. How much they pay is directly to how popular the magazine is. Mags you have never heard of pay a lot more than popular ones. Simply because everybody wants to get published in the popular ones. So why pay more when you have a desk full of people that will do it cheaper. Then the magazines nobody heard of are dieing for quality shooters and cant find many so they pay better to get them.

I'd be curious what magazines are 'dieing for shooters'. I've worked for more than 15 different titles as a freelancer and have never found that to be the case.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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May 25, 2013 22:07 |  #13

No magazine is dying for shooters. There are many stock agencies with tens of millions of high quality images that will all sell to any publication for extremely low rates. All images are extensively key-worded so that editors can quickly find exactly what they are looking for.

Also, the popular magazines that are nationally distributed and have high circulation typically pay more than the little magazines that "nobody ever heard of". In fact, it is the little magazines that I was referring to when I said how some publications pay as little as $35 for a front cover.

I just thought it was important to debunk any inaccurate information that may have been posted here.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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slartibardfast
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May 26, 2013 02:48 |  #14

One thing I have found is it is all about who you know in order to get work as a photographer. 12 months ago I joined a networking organisation (BNI) and realised pretty quick that the web developer was a key person. He is meeting with companies who are looking to update their image and require photos and he puts me in contact with them.
Whilst this is slightly away from magazine photograhy it certainly contributes quite highly to my income stream and I get varied assignments with anything from stately homes to health and safety companies.

I have also built up relationships with various retail outlets who sell my own prints from small A4 prints up to 16"x50" canvas prints, ok they take a % but you are buying access to their clients and display space.

Hope that contributes
Andy


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