“I took a great photo. How can I get it into a magazine?”
By Andrew Hudson Published: June 7, 2011 Updated: January 6, 2017
Like many things, you can make money, but it takes work. You may decide that it’s not worth the effort involved and just keep dreaming. Or you could treat this as a learning experience or a personal goal and put in the effort to make it happen. If so, here are some ideas.
Find Their Address
You can contact companies directly, by finding their address and sending them a copy of your photo(s). For magazines, the publisher’s address is always listed inside, on the publisher’s information page. Sometimes magazines have submission guidelines posted on their web site. For other companies, search the Internet for their web site and look under “contact us".
Talk To The Decision Maker
The more focused you make your pitch, the more likely you are to get a result. Try calling the main number of the company and ask for the name of the person in charge of editing, marketing, advertising, or whatever you’re after. For advertising, there’s probably an ad agency involved, so you should ask for the name of that company and call them. Ask to be connected to the person in charge (the editor, VP of Marketing, etc.). If the receptionist doesn’t know a name, ask for the department and then ask whoever you get connected to. Tell the person why you’re calling and ask if they have any advice or know who you should talk to. You may get shuffled around a bit, but if you can talk directly to the right person, You’ll make your marketing more effective.
Mail a professional-looking package. These days, you can make a high-quality print on your home computer with an ink-jet printer. Use nice, thick, glossy paper. Only send one or a few photos — your very best work. Don’t send a range of photos and expect the recipient to decide. You should edit very tightly — be brutal. By only submitting your best you keep your overall quality high and make a greater impact. Enclose a cover letter with your name, phone number, email address, and mailing address. You could make a web site featuring more of your work and reference that.
Angle Your Pitch
Think how the recipient might use your photo, then market in that direction. For advertisers, try making a sample ad out of your photo. For magazines, try writing a short story of the type they might publish. You can use a word processor program or layout program (such as Microsoft Publisher) to design something fancy.
Make A Complete Package
If you really want to get your photo into a magazine, I would suggest attempting to sell a complete package — with an article. Magazines are generally looking for stories rather than photos, so write a good story. Describe the experience that led to the photo, the trip, the adventure, why you were there. Read the magazine and see the type and style of articles they publish. you’re more likely to sell the article with the photos included than just some photos.