How to Submit Photos to a Magazine and Get Published

Editor’s Key Takeaways: Shoot for Success: Getting Your Photos Published

magazine with photos

This blog post guides aspiring photographers through the process of submitting photos to magazines, offering advice on preparation and submission, and emphasizing the benefits. Here’s a summary:

  • Importance of Submission:
    • Gain recognition
    • Build a professional reputation
    • Potential for significant career opportunities
  • Phase 1: Preparation & Submission
    • Consider submission like a job interview—preparation is key
    • Research the magazine before submission
  • Ensure You Have a Range of Quality Content
    • Build a portfolio with exceptional photos
    • Meet high standards expected by magazines

By thoroughly preparing and selecting quality work, you can increase your chances of success and possibly open doors to future opportunities.

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If you want to become a professional photographer, travel blogger, or simply love photography as a hobby, you may want to look at submitting your photos to magazines to get your work published.

There is nothing quite like seeing a stunning photo that you have taken appear in the pages of a magazine among the work of other talented photographers. We all love a little self-gratification and praise, and being published in a magazine has to be one of the most rewarding things a photographer can experience.

Aside from the outstanding feeling of elation and pride, submitting photos to magazines is also a great way to get your name out there and get your work recognized. Taking the first steps and submitting your photos to various print and digital magazines could lead to so much more.

Imagine if your work is picked up by professionals and you end up becoming published in the National Geographic? The sky is the limit and magazine submissions is one of the first things you can do. This guide looks at what to consider when making submissions, and how to submit photos to a magazine to get published:

Phase 1: Preparation & Submission

Before you actually make your submissions, you must first ensure that you are fully prepared. Submitting your photos to a magazine is no different from a job interview – would you go into an interview without researching the company, thinking of potential questions or preparing yourself thoroughly?

If you simply send off some random photos to a magazine without any forethought and consideration, you will undoubtedly fail and simply waste your time. The following are several vital things to consider before choosing your photos and magazines to submit too:

Phase 1.a – Ensure you have a large range of quality content

Yes, we know this might be stating the obvious, but if you don’t have a portfolio of exceptional photos, you can’t submit anything! You have to remember that photography magazines are only looking for the best – they want a collection of ultimate photos that impress their readers and help generate more views and revenue. Furthermore, you are competing against hundreds of other photographers, so you really must have something exceptional to offer.

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Ensure that you have a portfolio of fantastic images that really shine – the quality must be perfect, the resolution must be high, and the subject and composition must be varied, interesting and unique.

Phase 1.b – Create a submission template containing your important info

Once you have a magnificent portfolio, you can then look at formulating a submission template with which you can send to magazines. A template is an important tool to use as it can speed up the submission process, but it will also ensure that you have provided all the information required to be successful in your submission. The following are some important pieces of information you should include in your submission template:

  • Full name and business name
  • Contact number
  • Email address
  • Website address / Blog
  • Any business insignia such as a logo

Once you have these items in place, you can look at writing a short introductory paragraph explaining a little about yourself and your experience as a photographer – keep it short as editors will quickly get bored!

Phase 1.c – Expand your template and make it unique

Now that you have the basics for your submission template, you should inject some style, charisma, and uniqueness into it. Remember that editors will undoubtedly have to sift through a heap of photography submissions, so you need to make your stand-out! Think outside the box, be creative – just do something to make your submission noticeable.

You can use this submission template over and over again and simply change the wording to match the magazine and the person you are addressing.

Phase 2: Choosing the Right Photographs & Magazines

So, you have a perfect submission email/letter ready – you can now look at which magazines to submit too, and which photos to use! The below are some pointers and advice to consider when choosing a magazine and submitting your photos:

Phase 2.a – Select the right photos for the appropriate magazine

If you have a magazine in mind, you must choose your submission photo(s) carefully. Do not make the mistake of simply selecting your best photo and assuming that will be enough. Unless that photo happens to fit the target magazine perfectly and match their requirements, then the sheer quality of the photo will not cut it. Consider the following before choosing your submission photos:

– What is the genre of the magazine?
– Is there a specific theme they require for submissions?
– What type of photos have they featured in previous editions?
– What types of photos appear to receive the most attention?

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Take time to analyze the magazines you intend to submit too. You must have knowledge of what they expect and what type of photos they regularly feature to choose the perfect photo of your own.

Ensure your photo matches their style and content, and that it stands out and offers something different from previous photos they have published.

Phase 2.b – Avoid sending the same photos to different magazines at the same time

It is a common misconception that you can simply submit one photo to a handful of different magazines and have it published in each one. Whilst this would be simply fantastic, it can actually prove detrimental to your career and future potential work. Firstly, if several magazines notice that you have submitted the same photo, they could feel that you are lazy, or this could even break an exclusivity agreement you have with them. In most cases, if you submit a photo to a magazine, they may want rights to it, and forbid you to publish it from another source.

Secondly, having the same photo published in several sources will also diminish your creativity and skill – why have one photo published in three magazines, when you could have three different photos in those same magazines? Submitting different photos to different magazines will help boost your repertoire and show to potential clients that you have a fantastic and diverse portfolio and are not just a one-trick pony.

Phase 2.c – Which photography magazines to use?

magazine with photos
Magazines – Which one is the best for photography?

Now we get to the actual magazines themselves, which is what we are sure you have been waiting for! We now look at how to submit photos to a magazine to get published. There is a plethora of different magazines that publish photos on a weekly or monthly basis for various purposes, niches and industries.

If you specialize in a particular type of photography, then we would advise looking for a specific magazine to suit your work. For example, you may specialize in garden photography, or travel shots, or engineering photos etc. – find a range of magazines that suits your needs the best.

To help you get started, the following is a list of some popular online photography magazines that accept submissions for publication:

  • Unsplash – This website is actually a photo repository that beginners can use to promote their work and get published online.
  • F-Stop Magazine – Features contemporary photography from around the world and was established in 2003. Each edition features photography pertaining to a particular theme.
  • Landscape Photography Magazine – Gorgeous landscape photography from around the world. Magazine editions usually concentrate on a particular type of landscape or condition.
  • Aint-Bad – Magazine that features a range of contemporary themes and modern art.
  • Black and White Photography Mag (UK) – Only black and white compositions are displayed in this magazine covering a range of different subjects from portraits to landscapes.

Furthermore, the online portfolio provider Format, composed a list with over 30 websites where you can submit your photography work.

Consider looking through the above list and getting a feel for their style, and what their submission page entails – you can then gain a better idea of what you are up against. If you are successful in your submission, then please let us know!

Phase 2.d – Check the submission criteria

Once you have selected a handful of magazines, you should look carefully at their submissions page. Each magazine may have different criteria for submission, therefore, don’t simply think that you can do the same for each magazine. The following are some considerations to think about when checking the submissions criteria:

  • Approved image file type (JPEG, PNG, PSD, RAW etc.)
  • Minimum image resolution (If you submit lower than this, your image may not scale properly)
  • Maximum image file size
  • Approved file name format
  • Are photos allowed that have been heavily post-processed?
  • What theme, subject or composition guidelines are there?

These are typical criteria that may be specified. For example, the Outdoor Photography Magazine criteria state that the image must be JPEG format of at least 10 or maximum save quality, 300ppi, RGB color scale, and contains your full name at the start of the filename.

Criteria such as this will usually be contained within a checklist that is easily visible in a bullet format – just be sure to read the entire submissions page carefully so you don’t miss something important!

Phase 2.e – Understand the agreement and usage rights

Finally, you must fully understand how, when and where your image will be used and what rights the magazine has. In most cases, the submission page will also contain a paragraph relating to copyright information and usage – this will outline what you are agreeing too, and how your image will be used by the magazine.

For example, the F-Stop Magazine website copyright section states:

You are granting F-Stop Magazine a non-exclusive license to use the photograph in its submitted form, subject to re-sizing to fit the magazine format, for publication on the F-Stop website for as long as the website exists.

F-Stop Magazine

Ensure you understand your rights, and that you are happy with how your image will be used.

By now, you should have everything you need to submit photos to a magazine to get published. We hope you have found this guide beneficial and that you now feel confident to create your own portfolio and start making submissions of your own. This really is a fantastic way to promote your photography brand and to show the world what you are capable of with a camera!

About the Author
Paul Skidmore

A seasoned content creator at PhotoWorkout, Paul merges his love for traveling and photography to craft insightful articles. With a solid grasp of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, he enjoys testing new photo software, apps, and gear. His background in web development further enriches his photography endeavors.
Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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15 thoughts on “How to Submit Photos to a Magazine and Get Published”

  1. Charmaine Hutchinson

    Well hi I’m trying to sign my daughter up for this she loves taking pictures and things in that order I’m trying to get her into magazine photo shooting I’m just soaking up some things to get started here before she graduates this year

  2. Hi, Thanks for the advice. What if a magazine does not leave any guidelines? I feel like I would just go blindly.

  3. Hi I read this article I found this very informative the article states a template is used in submitting photos to magazines would you happen to have a layout of the template in pdf?
    Thanks for a great article

  4. Hi, I was just wondering who exactly you reach out to at magazines for photo submissions. Would it be the editor? The publisher? Etc. Thank you!

  5. Hiya! I’ve had a few submissions accepted from recent photo shoots. However, the photos that weren’t chosen for the publication, can I submit to a different magazine? I wouldn’t ever submit the same photo… just wondering if I can submit different photographs from the same shoot, same outfit? Sorry, all new to this!!

    1. photoworkout author

      Hi Kia, yes after submitting your images and you don’t hear back from the publication (e.g. for two weeks) you can submit the same photo to other magazines. As long as you don’t offer exclusive rights to the publisher I don’t see a reason why not to send the same image to several publishers.

      1. Hi, thanks so much for getting back to me! So I’ve had a few photos accepted from the same photoshoot in Malvie magazine but would it actually be okay to send different photos from the same shoot and the same outfits to a different magazines for submission? Or would it bad because the first mag already has the outfits published?

        1. photoworkout author

          Hi, Kia. Unless you have signed an exclusivity agreement with the publisher (or they paid you for taking those photos), I would go ahead and submit it to other magazines as well.

  6. Karen Stanford

    As an author, familiar with publisher requirements, I found this article to be quite useful for anyone contemplating publishing their work. It would have been nice to hear more about print magazine publish strategies.