In 2015, photographer Pepper Nix was published through Two Bright Lights more than 160 times. Exclusive publications jump at the chance to showcase her work, earning her a feature for every wedding album she submits. And after the exclusivity period, she averages at least three non-exclusive features per album. The proof is in the pudding…Pepper is a pro at knowing what works in the submission process and what doesn’t.
Interested in getting publishing stats like Pepper’s? Check out her pro tips and get published today!
You already know that getting published is so important for you and your brand. But hearing directly from a submission rockstar like Pepper Nix is key.
How has getting published helped your brand?
“If any bride goes to any blog and does a search of Utah, I pop up. If they search me, there are pages and pages of links on Google, and that bride knows that I am well established, and that other people really like my work. It also helps my vendors out, because they don’t ever submit anything on their own, so this is their chance to shine for every wedding that they do, NOT just hopefully get one wedding featured in a magazine.”
We all know that there are only so many hours in the day. So what’s your secret for fitting it all in?
Well, when it comes to social media, she hires someone to handle it all! “I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but I’m really busy and I don’t want to make the time to always be posting on Instagram or creating content for Facebook. So, I created a special email address I use with Two Bright Lights, and all communication actually goes directly to her. So, she gets on my account, finds images to use, creates the posts or content or whatever it is. Published features are shared on Facebook, Instagram, and I also use the LiveFeed feature as a link on my website.” MelissaFancy.com is the brains behind this social media machine.
What’s the secret for shooting for submission? Take a TON of details shots. “Detail shots with zero people in them. And a ton means like 400. Take the same shot vertical and horizontal because you don’t know how an editor would want it. Take pictures of trees and then leaves on trees. Imagine that you’ve NEVER been to that venue before, and shoot it through new eyes.”
Still spending hours editing your work? Pepper says “Remember that you are a photographer, and get out from behind the computer and go shoot more!” She uses an editing service called PixelWhipped, and hasn’t edited her own weddings in 8 years. “My advice is to edit less. Shoot jpeg and get your exposures and color right the first time. People freak out when they learn that I don’t shoot RAW, but if you shoot correctly and consistently all the time, why would you need it? So, hire an editor, and get busy doing what you love, which is shooting.”
The event has been captured and the images have been edited. But how do you put that together into making a fantastic submission? “Oh this is easy! I send each of my brides a questionnaire and it asks a million questions about the wedding day, the proposal, how they met, why they had their brother walk them down the aisle, anything and everything that I ever saw an editor ask a bride, I ask it first.” This helps her create the killer album stories that editors are looking for!
But how do you decide which of the hundreds of images to include in the actual submission? “I select 150 images. 120 images are details with zero people in them. 10 are from the ceremony, 10 are from the couple portraits, and 10 are from the reception. It might seem a bit formulaic, but honestly, it works. Editors are busy people and I want to make their work as easy as possible, so I also make sure to tag ALL vendors involved, including the national ones.”
Why do you want to get published? “It might be because I think I am slightly OCD, but I think there is something to be learned from everyone. Which means if you are looking at weddings, then there is something to be learned from every wedding, what works and what doesn’t work. I do wish there was a blog about what doesn’t work, that would be fun to write. But no bride would want to be on that blog!!! Bitchless Bride comes closest to a blog that I feel a kinship with. But I digress. I want to be published because I think we can learn from every wedding, and gain some appreciation for that perspective.”
More about Pepper Nix
Pepper Nix, an internationally renowned wedding photojournalist, is the 5 time winner of Utah’s Best of State Award for wedding photography and has been featured in over 100 publications. She has tremendous passion for the evocative power of the photographic image. Her fresh, spontaneous style, energizing personality and remarkable ability to pluck the defining image from a fleeting scene have earned her the admiration of her peers as well as the appreciation of clients across the United States and beyond. Pepper is also the founder of 10,000 Headshots, a not for profit aimed at providing headshots to 10,000 people in 2015. She lives in Salt Lake City with her 7 year old son, Zen.
What is your personal approach to wedding photography?
“I see myself as a historian. I think back hundreds of years to when empires rose and fell, kingdoms and battles were lost, and the course of history was changed completely because of whom fell in love with whom. I imagine what it would be like to have been there for some of those weddings and what we would learn about not just those people, but about society at the time and the family dynamics, had there been someone to document the wedding. I think about how history is changing right in front of our eyes at each wedding, because of what this couple will accomplish together, the lives they will touch, and the children they might bring into our world. I want those children and the generations to come to look back at what happened and get a sense of where they came from. So, I’m a historian.”
What do you wish you knew when you were just starting out as a wedding photographer?
“Life is like high school, people want to work and hang out with their friends! Building relationships is the most important thing, whether it’s with your clients, vendors, editors, or random cool people.”
What made you choose photography as a career?
“Honestly, I was trying to be the cool kid in high school, and joining the yearbook staff sounded like a way for me to be involved without having to get sweaty and run or be a super math nerd.”
What about your work inspires you?
“Inspires me? My couples inspire me. They show me every day the heights that are capable of emotion.”
What is an unexpected thing you learned since you began working as a photographer?
“Working with personality disorders! There’s always that one person at a wedding who doesn’t seem to understand that this day is not about them or their problems, it should be focused on the couple! So, I’ve gotten to be very good at seeing drama before it happens and shielding my couple from it as much as possible. It helps make their memories and pictures better.”
Only 40% of wedding professionals get published – join their elite ranks! Two Bright Lights makes it fast and easy to get published and costs less than $15/month. In just three quick steps, you can submit your work to more than 400 magazines, blogs and websites, including The Knot, POPSUGAR, Brit + Co, MunaLuchi Bride, Every Last Detail and more.
So what are you waiting for? Sign-up today at twobrightlights.com
Photos Courtesy of Pepper Nix Photography