The magazine market is by far the biggest market for the freelance photographer, with millions of pictures published each month. If you would like to see some profit from your pictures, its really important to make the right approach.
Taking pictures for the magazine market is not about taking nice shots that your friends will admire or that will look nice on your wall at home. It’s about taking images that will sell to a selective audience, and to accomplish this you must understand the market.
Assuming that your photography ability is to par – there is no reason that you cannot start sending your images to photo editors straight away. Start off by selecting the markets that you may have interest in. Pick a market that you like to photograph.
Go to your nearest magazine outlet and buy 3 or 4 magazines that you are interested in submitting to.
Study each image that has been used by the photo editor and then compare the images in the magazine to your own.
This is were honesty comes in.
If your images are every bit as good as the images in the magazine, feel free to submit them. Write or send an e-mail to the photo editor telling them about your work. If you have a website, add it to the e-mail so that the editor can view a sample of your work. If you do send your images by post make sure you include a stamped addressed envelope to get your images back.
Magazines have standard prices for photographs and will pay you after the magazine has gone to print. This differs from magazine to magazine; magazines that sell more normally pay more for their images – the cover picture is normally the best paid, with the double centre being the second.
If you sell an image to a magazine don’t submit it straight away to a different magazine – the chances are that they’ll find out and will not use your images again.
It doesn’t hurt to know the law when selling your images to magazines. The minute you hit the shutter button you own the copyright. As standard practice magazines normally pay you for the right to use your image once. If they use the same image in five months time, they must pay you a second time.
If your images aren’t as good as the images that are used in the magazine don’t submit them. You will be wasting your own time and the time of the photo editor. Photo editors are very busy and get hundreds of submissions every month. Try to improve your photography and submit at a later date.
Photo editors are always looking for new material, but first study the market.
It’s a fantastic feeling to see your images published for the first time.