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How do you get your photos in a magazine?

Colton Fischer , May 24, 2009; 03:43 p.m.

Hey guys! I was just wondering….how do you get your photographs published into a magazine? Do you have to send in your photos for them to consider publishing or do they just happen to wander across your website and decide they want your work in there magazine? Also, do you get paid for your photos being published? I thought of this question after I saw an article about our fellow photo.neter Miguel Lasa in my Outdoor Photographer magazine....


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John MacPherson , May 24, 2009; 03:48 p.m.

Start by taking work as good as Miguel's, or if you want to be CERTAIN of publication, work thats better.

Charles Webster , May 24, 2009; 04:31 p.m.

You have to submit your work to them, they won't come looking for you.

Make sure to find out exactly what format/size etc. they will accept. Nothing will kill your chances quicker than submitting in a format they don't want/like.

Look at "Photographer's Market 2009" for magazines that accept photos to see what format, and how much they pay.

I don't believe "Outdoor Photographer" pays for photos, but I can't find my latest issue.


Jeff Spirer , May 24, 2009; 10:42 p.m.

You have to submit your work to them, they won't come looking for you.

This depends completely on what you have. I get magazine work without submitting anything. If you have something they really want, or skills, connections, etc. that they really want, they will find you.

Aaron Hockley , May 25, 2009; 02:12 a.m.

Your chances of publication will be greatest if you actively contact magazines, find out what they are looking for, and submit work in their requested format. As noted, some magazines will go seek what they need; I've had several photos published in some industry-specific magazines because I've had my material online and searchable.

Mikael Karlsson , May 25, 2009; 09:58 a.m.

I agree with Jeff. I too get lots of image-licenses through my site. I am very specialized and I think that's a huge plus. Also, when a client finds me this way they often come around next time they need images for a coming issue.

I also agree with Aaron that the more you market your images to photo buyers, the bigger the chance you'll get an e-mail or call requesting usage fee information. Putting together a well targeted mailing-list is crucial in any marketing though. Know who you're marketing too and never send anything that isn't interesting - for example if you specialize in shooting dog-sledding, chances are slim to none that you'd ever get even a nibble if you market your work to Catfancy etc. As stated above, Photographer's Market is an excellent reference for finding potential photo buyers.

Ralph Berrett , May 25, 2009; 06:51 p.m.

Basically it is very rare for a magazine to publish a photo without some content. So you would want to pitch a story idea with photo. You want to introduce yourself to them. Unless you have a great reputation they are not going to seek you out. You need to engage them. Develop shots and content that fits the magazine.
I use fotoquotes to figure out my publication usage pricing.

Why wouldn't you get paid for getting published? The only reason might be if you were doing it for charity like the fight against Aids or Cancer, that makes sense. Why would you work for free?

J. Harrington USA (Massachusetts) , May 25, 2009; 10:16 p.m.

Hey guys! I was just wondering….how do you get your photographs published into a magazine?

I suspect most of the photos I've had published in books and magazines were found via image search engines.

Making descriptive captions, alt text and filenames helps. Having contact info in image borders is critical.

For example my "hawk eating squirrel" image here on photo.net was found via a search like this:


and was subsequently published.

I'm not saying this is the best way to sell rights but it is how most of my published photos were found.

Charles Webster , May 25, 2009; 11:20 p.m.

@Jeff and Mikael, you guys aren't just starting out. You have the connections, reputation, and skills. The OP has none of those yet . Magazines don't come looking for beginners.


Mikael Karlsson , May 26, 2009; 08:39 a.m.


True. But as far as textbooks etc (and at least a bunch of magazines) goes, the content is the driving force, and the content requests are often very specific. I recently got a request for the stationary metal detectors in Stillwater, Minnesota, prison. Luckily I had the image. But had they asked for the same thing at Angola, LA, I wouldn't be able to meet the request.

When it comes to finding content, the quality (as long as the file meets the minimum for the photo-ned at hand) - sadly - isn't all that high up on the list.

Also, in these low economic days, researchers and editors are getting better and better at searching out content all over the Internet. If they find the content they need down to the last item on the spec list, most often it doesn't matter if the photographer is a pro, just starting out, or even a complete amateur merrily snapping away with a good p&s.

Having said that, personally (obviously I can't speak for Jeff) many of my clients stay with me after an initial photo request simply because they know I can deliver high quality images, am an expert in my field, have the contacts in place to set up pretty much anything within a day or two. Sure, my fees are higher but for a stressed photo researcher on a deadline that knows she'll get all the images she needs from one source within a few hours (unless I'm on a shoot) the higher fees doesn't matter.

I still remember this like it was yesterday only it was in 2000. A photo editor at a book publisher called me needing 10 different images of Police K-9's within three days. They had set up a shoot with a local photographer who was good but didn't understand the subject. There had been re-shoots and the publisher still wasn't happy. Deadline was 3 days ahead. Because I had contacts in place I was able to shoot the images the same day the request came in and have the film in to my local pro lab in time for an overnight processing. Scanning like mad during the morning until noon the next day and having high-res files to the client that afternoon. I was an unknown (to them) photog but they decided - based on my website - to take the gamble. They're still with me and place regular orders.

Point of the above is that you can be unknown to the photo buyer but if your images are good enough and the photo buyer can find you easily, you can get the job even if the photo buyer have no clue who you are.

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