The Secrets to Achieving Submission Rockstar Status – As Told By Jessica Hunt Photography

All of us here at Two Bright Lights believe in helping you work smarter not harder. It’s a job we take seriously so when we hear from one of our photographers that we are doing something right, that makes our day…scratch that, week!

Straight from the source, Jessica Hunt Photography is sharing the tips that have earned her four publishings and three more acceptances in her first four months on Two Bright Lights. Her advice guarantees submission success – whether you’re a new or seasoned submitter, start using these tips today!


When I used to think about submitting to blogs and being published, I would get so overwhelmed and just avoid the whole topic. Everything seemed too hard, my work seemed too mediocre, and the idea of getting a rejection email was too much to handle. So… I avoided it, until this year. I found Two Bright Lights and realized the value in having your work published and building backlinks to my website.

And now, I’m going to share with YOU my tips for submitting to Two Bright Lights!
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Okay, first things first for submitting: SHOOT FOR PUBLICATION

One thing an older photographer said to me when I first started submitting to blogs was that I needed to change how I shoot to have images that editors want. He said, work you do for clients may be perfect for the clients, but editors are looking for a certain look and feel. They are looking for details, a variety of poses, wide shots, venue shots, and vendor connections.

SO, the first thing you need to do is change how you shoot. Shoot to feature and bring attention to your couple and your vendors! Shoot details out the waaaaa-zoo, too, okay? Change the way you’re shooting to not only serve your clients but to also tell a beautiful story with a variety of images.

Things like details shots of your couple holding hands, their shoes, a kiss on the cheek; it can be anything, really. Just remember you’re shooting to tell a story, so tell it fully, from every angel and every view. Leave no part of your story untold!

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The second thing you need to do is search through the editors’ requests and RESEARCH which blogs you’re submitting to.

Creating a random wedding submission and sending it to random publishers is only going to annoy publishers, who are getting submissions they didn’t ask for, and disappoint you when you get rejection emails! You need to be looking through the requests from editors, writing down which blogs you want to submit to, building your submission gallery off of their requests, and THEN submitting once you have what they are looking for.

Set yourself up for success in this, photographers! Do the grunt work, and research which blogs you want to be featured on, what type of images they usually feature, and what the style of the blog is.

Two Bright Lights even provides its members with vendor profiles so you can look deeper into what certain editors are looking for. For example, some blogs want up to 100 images in the submission, while some want their galleries to be culled to 50 images or less. It’s up to YOU to find out what your editor and goal blog is looking for!

Be INTENTIONAL about who you submit your work to. Editors aren’t random with who they publish, so you shouldn’t be random with who you submit to. Also, I encourage you to create a list of “goal blogs” that you’re dying to see your work on. Make those goals, shoot to be featured on those blogs, and submit to them! Nothing about this process should be random.

I currently have ten blogs that are on my “goal blog” list, and I’ve gone through and written down what their style is, what they normally feature, and my ideas for what I want to send to them. Be intentional, that’s all I can say!

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Third on my list of tips is to FULLY build your submission! Two Bright Lights allows photographers to include an album story with their submissions and add in vendors that were involved in the shoot. Don’t skip this!  In fact, I suggest not submitting anything with less than four tagged vendors!

Editors like to feature multiple wedding professionals, so the more vendors you can add into your submission, the better, in my eyes. Don’t forget the little things, like the bride’s shoe brand or the ring designer! Get every single little name from EVERYTHING you shoot so you can give credit to those vendors and the editors can too!

Writing a good album story is also SUPER important. I’ve provided one of mine below so you can see how I write them. It’s kinda like going back to high school and writing an essay with all the required things in it like, the couple’s name, the location, city, state, a bit about their story. but you want to give the editor a quick look into your album in a clear and well-written way.

This is an example of an album story I wrote today for a wedding I just submitted:

“George and Becky are a perfect fit, and their wedding day at the Springdale House and Gardens was absolutely beautiful. From the gorgeous florals from the Bouqs Co. to the Tiffany earrings George surprised Becky with while she was getting ready, everything was perfect. The bride and her girls danced to Taylor Swift during their portraits, and they really showed off their dance moves for DJ Marky Mark during the reception. The bride’s sister and maid of honor made a surprise music video for the couple and showed it during her toast to the couple. So many of the bride’s closest friends and family worked together to create the video, it brought tears to Rebecca’s eyes! Their wedding hashtag was #supportGraymarriage, and the bride’s sister said she wanted them both to know that their whole families support their marriage by creating the surprise video! It was an incredibly beautiful and moving wedding in Columbia, South Carolina.  Enjoy!”

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Okay, so by now, you have a gorgeous submission that is perfectly hand-picked for the blog you want to submit to. Your images are sized correctly (you can find what your chosen editor likes in their vendor profile provided by TBL!), your vendors tagged, and you have a beautiful album story, now it’s time to SUBMIT!

Two Bright Lights allows you to either submit “exclusively” or “non-exclusively” to different blogs. This simply means that when you submit “exclusively” to one blog, you are telling the editor that you have sent that submission to them and only them! Some editors require exclusive submissions and content because they want the chance to feature the images FIRST before another publication does. “Non-exclusive” submissions mean that you’ve sent that album to multiple editors or that those images can be found somewhere on the internet already. Some blogs require exclusive publications since they do not feature content that other blogs have already featured. While some allow you submit to as many editors as you want.

It’s all up to you and about how intentional you want to be about your submissions. And be warned, if you submit one album to too many editors, you could get a rejection because the photos are available to too many editors.  So no random submissions, my friends, be intentional.

I hope these few tips for submitting to Two Bright Lights have helped you, and I hope to see so many more photographers earning successful publications via Two Bright Lights!

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Jessica Hunt is a 22 year old wedding and lifestyle photographer based out of Columbia, South Carolina. Jess has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Studio Art with an emphasis in photography from, the famous Southern liberal arts school, Columbia College. Jessica Hunt Photography was born when Jessica was given her first camera at 17, and the rest they say is history! Now Jess is going on 6 years of shooting weddings professionally across the Southeast, all the while with a smile on her face and the purplest of hair. Jessica is passionate about couples, romance, and those genuine moments between lovers. JHP serves the Southeast and is available for worldwide wedding coverage while specializing in naturally-lit, fine art portrait work and photographing classy, head-over-heels-in-love couples!


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 Jessica Hunt Photography and Headshots by Melissa Brewer

Content originally posted on Jessica Hunt Photography

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4 Comments

  1. Awesome tips Jessica!

    I tell photographers all the time that submissions are one of the most important things they can do for SEO. I’m going to have to start sharing your tips with them to help them take action!

  2. Thank you for the specific and helpful information! Wow! I have been wanting to submit my work to get published but like you were at first, I am just not sure if it qualifies or how to go about it. You have inspired me!! Thanks!

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