02 Aug Is It Worth Being Published?
‘Being Published’ – exciting words for anyone including us photographers for sure! But what does it really mean?
I’ve been re-examining my goals for my business in regards to how I show and publicize my images including getting them ‘published’ in the mainstream media and blogs.
What prompted this post is a change in how publishers themselves have been treating submissions, photographers and clients over the past year or so. It’s a relatively new field especially in the wedding market, where there is a vast and growing array of blogs, ezines, magazines and other wedding-centric sites out there looking for content to feature and grow their own audiences.
Prior to 2013 especially, content creators (us photographers) had a win-win situation with the publishers. They had new eye balls, we had the goods! It seems to me that many have simply started taking things for granted and the balance has shifted so much that many think they don’t need us. It may be due to the flood of ‘photographers’ in the market, or it may be due to the lowering of standards for entry which also opens the flood gates to submissions.
‘Styled Shoots’ as they say have begun during this time especially to be very popular with mixed reaction. On the plus side they can perfectly highlight products and vendors in beautiful photos depicting fake weddings or moments. On the down side most of us know these types of photos can never happen in real life, at a real wedding with real clients. It sets a lot of expectations unnaturally high for the clients especially. Many published shoots have been these productions, taking away further real submission slots.
Now of course, every publisher has the right to do as they will, no doubt there. However, there comes a time for every photographer when the balance shifts far enough, that the cons out-weigh the pros of participating in the whole process. What are those pros anyway? Well honestly the #1 reason we do it is for fresh exposure and SEO. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want the great feeling that comes with it, or the influx of new people browsing the website and enjoying the pics! On the client side it’s more of the same, just a great morale boost and bragging rights to say ‘look at that, MY wedding was published!’. But that’s really it.
Most people have no idea the effort it takes to regularly actually GET events published. Is it rocket science? Heck no. Actually once you figure everything out it’s pretty easy. I have a laundry list of published shoots and believe me if I can do it, anyone can. But it DOES take trial and error, careful shooting and planning for color and composition, having the right mix of clients, ‘looks’, vendors, details, timing, knowing what each publication looks for, etc.
Now how about those cons…well there’s really only one and up until recently it was no big deal. You see most publications that matter at all, like to be ‘exclusive’. There are 10 little unimportant publishers for every one that’s beneficial but it’s the ones that like to be the first to show an event that have the big audiences, the ones with better spending clients reading them. This means they don’t want the event hitting the internet BEFORE they show it. See where this is going? It used to be a few weeks, maybe a couple months wait to have an event covered and released. Past that point it would hit the blog, facebook, other smaller publishers, etc. and all was right with the world. Now? Now it’s several months just to hear if something MIGHT be published sometime in the future. Which means events get put in limbo WAY past the relevant date in time for the photographer, the client and fresh exposure. If it’s not a win-win situation, one party will back out. And that’s what I’m doing.
I have events going back to early spring, 6 months, without any mention, blog posts, Facebook, etc. That hurts me and pisses off clients, not seeing their wedding or whatnot anywhere, waiting for some blog or mag to release first. From here on out, if someone wants to publish my stuff hey great, feel free. But no longer does anyone but ME get to dictate when I post my own stuff. Publishers, you need to get off your high-horse. You think we need you a LOT more than we actually do. You are a fun extra, but you are NOT part of our business model. You will impress and intimidate new shooters forever, but they will soon figure things out for themselves or just read posts like this one. And for all you little blogs, local mags, etc. Here’s reality for you. You are a last stop on the totem pole, don’t ever try and dictate terms, take what you are given and be grateful, not demanding. Not to us photographers, not our vendors and especially NOT our clients! NO ONE is required to work for you, answer late night demands/emails, fill out forms, re-submit info, write your articles for you etc.
We photographers MAKE your existence. Those that read and take that to heart will do well going forward.
Look for new blog posts starting now, I have a lot of work to do to catch up!