How to submit your work to a magazine

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It’s been deadline time in the land of Funky Junk over the past few.ย My next writeup for FOLK magazine will highlight my bedroom, so I’ve been adding the finishing touches for full room shots.

With social media the powerhouse it is today, your door may get a knock one day soon as well. Interested in the process I go through? Read on!

1. Start project WAY in advance.

I started the bedroom revamp about a month ago. I have no idea how TV decorates in a day because that’s not me. Decorating evolves and just improves with age. This is another reason to pick up what you love whenever you thrift. Stockpiling ensures you have the right stock.

2. Work on the project in small chunks.

I don’t have a week straight to devote to any decorating, let alone even one full day, so I hit on the project when I can. I may install wood one day and paint the next. Doesn’t matter.. just move forward with intention to complete by a certain date and don’t stop until it’s done, preferably ahead of schedule. Definite deadlines bring new meaning to projects and it’s no fun pulling all nighters.

I also find I don’t do my best work when under pressure, so starting early ensures I can produce my best work.

3. Shoot good quality photos.

A must! Set your camera on it’s best settings (high resolution), ensure you have plenty of ‘natural light’, and use a tripod.

Different publications will request different desires, however most magazines love high res in case they blow them up to full page size. You can always export the high res lower later if requested, so there’s no loss in work involved if you edit on high and export lower another time, even for blog purposes.

Confession… Editor Ben loved so many of the projects in the Folk linkup but can’t use many due to the quality of photography. So… please heed my advice above and practice. Maybe I’ll do a quick lesson on an easy way to photograph your projects for submission… sound like a plan?

4. Take TONS of photos.

See how the story above changes with the slightest movement of the lens?

Take lots of photos and I mean lots. I lost count on the bedroom reveal, but let’s just say, I’m using photos over several shoots because not all turn out on a given day. Weather, settings, time of day all play a part. Shoot more than needed so you can pick and choose your very best and offer your editor a good selection.

5. Export and edit photos

I have never submitted even one photo that I haven’t tweaked with some kind of photo editing program. I don’t mean add funky hazes or vignettes, you just want them sharpened, saturation played with and brightened up. Just remember, you can’t fix a bad photo. Work on lighting and steadying the camera first.

What I do with original photos is export a copy into it’s own folder. Never ever work on your originals, always create copies. I now bring them through photo editing software to sharpen, lighten, saturate, whatever they need. (I use Picasa and Photoshop Elements)

And always leave your photos without watermarks for magazine publications.

6. Upload online

Yes, you can email them but high res photos eat lots of space. There are many ways to submit to magazines but my favourite way has been to upload them to my own photobucket account, set a password, then give access to the editor. This way the photos are ready for other submissions as well.

7. Submit the writeup

I use Pages on my Mac ($20 program!) to create the writeup, then send as a pdf file. If not self explanatory, it’s also a good idea to either provide a mockup of the layout so they can see which photos go where or simply assign that information within the writeup.

8. Clean up and breathe again!

After a deadline has been met, I always start to breathe again. Cleaning up the mayhem created is first on the list, then a fresh list is started for the next project.

9. Do this anyway ‘in case’.

Haven’t been published yet? Every awesome photoshoot you take, I recommend to edit a copy of the high res photos NOW so you have stock photos ready to submit. When magazines wish to feature you, they are strict with deadlines and you don’t want to bypass an awesome opportunity when offered a chance.

I look forward to seeing your work in print. Now get busy! ๐Ÿ™‚


More related topics



How to work with photos for blogs and magazines



submitting work for websites and magazines – advice from Miss Mustard Seed

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Categories: Photo Tips
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  1. Great post as always.
    Just one question. I am always a good girl and start shooting with my tripod and then it just bugs the hell out of me so I up the ISO and shoot by hand.
    Those minute changes you made to that one vignette, was that all done with your tripod? It would take me ages to do that with mine. Do you have a ball head thingamajig? And is your tripod that flexible?

    • Busted. ๐Ÿ™‚ I personally can’t stand using a tripod for tighter shots, so I attempt all kinds of tricks in order to lean in close while stabilizing the camera in some way. Whether it’s with my body or leaning the camera against a wall or stack it on the back of a chair, whatever it takes. And… I totally hold my breath when I shoot. ๐Ÿ™‚

      For full room shots, I always use a tripod if possible. The photos really are that much better if you do.

      I do have the ball feature on my tripod, but it’s a lower grade model and isn’t as precise as I would like it to be. I do believe that’s part of my problem. I’d like a better one.

  2. Hey there!!
    Thanks for sharing this!!
    Love FOLK magazine:)
    Now…if only I could figure out how to get my jewelry featured in a fabulous magazine:) Oh to dream~
    Have a great day!!!

  3. Hi Donna,
    I edit all my pictures on Picnik… I do fix the saturation, lighting, etc.. but how exactly do you produce a high def. pic? When a magazine asks for a high def pic… what does that mean and how would I do that? Sounds like a silly question and I’m pretty happy with my pictures but the words “high def” confuses me… Thanks for your help!
    Susan
    Homeroad

  4. Great post Donna ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t envision ever needing to submit to a magazine but you have motivated me to get my pics organized and save an original in it’s own folder! My pictures are everywhere and I have been cursing at myself lately when I am trying to find something! So today, I get organized….thanks for the kick in the butt! ๐Ÿ™‚ ha.

  5. Hi Donna, Great Information! I have a question for you about picture size. I emailed a story to Folk and Ben emailed me back asking what size my photos are. What is the desired size photo for submitting to a magazine? Thank you, Janice

    • Hi Janice,

      Every magazine or publication will ask for something different. It’s my suggestion to take all your photos at their highest quality setting possible ( aka high def ) then confirm how that particular magazine you’re submitting to would like them sent. I send mine the highest quality possible to FOLK so they have options for full page spreads. This may not be necessary if a feature is a smaller one but I don’t make that decision myself. It’s best to ask.

  6. You know you have my vote for Best DIY Blogs, my friend! I’m following you via Linky Followers. I’m inviting you to follow me, too, as I’m starting over, leaving GFC to the wind:-) LOVD tidings,
    Lilly

  7. You are SO incredibly generous to offer this, Donna. Thank you so much. While I’d love to submit something, I think I have a long ways to go yet in terms of quality of my work, as well as photographs, particularly lighting. I struggle a lot with that but, for now, I’ll just keep plugging along. I’ll definitely bookmark this post though for when the day comes that I feel my work is worthy of some zine. Again, you ROCK, my dear ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Awesome advice Donna!! I am trying to figure out the best settings for photographing rooms as well- I have a good camera-I think? Rebel t21 but sometimes the feedback I have gotten is that they are not hi res enough. I think it’s 18 mp. and I do always edit on my mac and Picasa too thanks to you and our conversation on twitter not that long ago ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I need a course!! I would love any kind of help at all! Keep up the awesome work you do!! You are such an inspiration to so many!! (btw- I met a friend of yours last night at a bloggers forum- a super sweet 80 year old blogger who spoke very highly of you and how much help you gave her with getting started blogging! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Donna,

    Thank you this is exactly what I’ve been needing! I am starting to take stock scenery photos for a brand new magazine (e-zine currently but available as a print copy). With Picnik going away I am concerned about my photo editing options. Do you do all your editing on your Mac? I have to admit my editing skills are still limited but am working on them on a regular basis… (more so than the blog currently.) And what do you do when you have less than ideal lighting situations? i.e. room with limited light regardless of time of day and living in an area where there are many months of less than ideal conditions (cloudy!) Thank you so much for all that you are willing to share! And for all your hard work!